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Multipronged strategy submitted to the Centre to mobilize resources for urban development
In a meeting with the Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, the ASSOCHAM 12-member delegation led by its Past President Anil K Agarwal said that urban cities are the growth catalysts and likely to create 70% of net new jobs and contribute over 70% to India’s GDP in another 16 years.
The delegation stated that India will have six mega cities with 10 million population entailing annual per capita investment on urban services to Rs 8000/- as against the current investment of Rs 1000.

Mumbai and Delhi, according to the study undertaken by ASSOCHAM, will be among the five largest cities in the world and, in addition, cities with over one million population will increase from 53 to 68. The urban population is expected to touch 590 million accommodating approximately 40% of total population. This will create critical gaps in healthcare, education clean drinking water, sanitation, affordable housing and public transportation.

The chamber has suggested development of basic infrastructure like public transport, flyovers, drainage, sanitation and waste management, incentivization of REITs and Urban Development Funds to invest in public utility services like slum rehabilitation, water supply, waste management, sanitation and deepening of e-governance mechanisms for electronic delivery of public services.

It has further proposed to establish regulatory authority to monitor work of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) - build capacity in research, planning, HRD - facilitated by States, strengthening of fiscal standing of ULBs through improved revenue collection, expense management, budgetary allocations and developing Municipal Bond Markets by providing suitable tax incentives to investors

Rehabilitation of slums and creation of affordable housing inventory with rental housing facilities for various income groups at city outskirts and improvement in quality of life in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities by maintaining and developing recreation facilities and public parks needs to be prioritized.

Other issues include development of green-field integrated smart cities along industrial corridors such as DMIC, upgradation of civic amenities, health services, urban transport and inter-city connectivity for Tier II cities, innovation in public transport through intelligent transportation systems incorporating vehicle telematics to reduce commuting time and integration of Disaster Management Systems and a comprehensive Risk Management Framework into Urban Planning, with periodic audits.

Agarwal said development of suitable framework for people public private partnership (PPPP) in urban infrastructure projects to enhance efficiency in delivery of urban services and effective use Indian Railways' urban land banks to set up Central business districts with facilities for holding conventions and exhibitions, transportation hubs, affordable housing and shopping centers are must.

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