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Need to be pro-active in urban reforms, planning & management: Venkaiah Naidu

Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that with the country turning ‘urban’ soon after 2040, urban management is both a challenge and an opportunity and states should be proactive with necessary urban reforms, planning and management to meet the emerging challenge.

Expressing concern over poor quality and inadequate infrastructure in urban areas, the minister said that the poor and ‘aspirational India’ are the worst affected by lack of public transport.

“The metro rail service combines with other modes of efficient public transport are the best way of ensuring ‘quick and comfortable’ transport besides reducing consumption of scarce fossil fuels like diesel, petrol and gas. there should be institutionalised ‘people’s participation in the management of urban affairs including sanitation and solid waste management. We need to improve urban planning and management and exploit the growth potential of urbanisation in the country,” the minister said while addressing media at the inaugural event of the new metro service at Mandi House station.

Naidu said that the country’s urban population has increased from 62 million in 1951 to 377 million in 2011 marking an increase from 17% of the total population to 31% respectively.

“About 500 million more will be living in towns and cities between 2040 and 2050 by when with 875 million urban population, the country would be predominantly ‘urban’ with rural population of only 815 million. The Minister noted that India lags in urbanization which is at the moment 50% in China and Indonesia, 61% in South Africa and 87% in Brazil while the average urbanization for Asia is 45%,” he further said.

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Asserting the direct relationship between urbanisation, economic growth and development, Naidu said, a contribution from towns and cities to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased from 29% in 1950-51 to 47% in 1987 and 63% in 2007. He said this is expected to rise to 75% in 2021. He informed that the number of cities and towns increased from 5,161 to 7,936 in 2011.

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