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Urban Development

Urban Development

Urban Development, Housing and Poverty Alleviation

In view of the fast pace of urbanisation and the growing gap between demand and supply of the basic infrastructure facilities accompanied by environmental degradation affecting the quality of life of urban population, an integrated urban management policy incorporating different facets like development planning, resource mobilization, capacity building, responsive administration etc. is a key concern.

The annual growth of urban population over the last four decades has been about 7 to 8 million people. The level of urbanization increased from 17.3% in 1951 to 25.7% in 1991.

Urban poverty remains an area of significant and persistent neglect in public policy and is a manifestation of lack of income and purchasing power attributable to lack of productive employment, high rate of inflation, lack of access to social infrastructure, affecting the quality of life of the people. The 1993-94 official estimate of the total urban population `below poverty line’ was 32.36%.

The modified urban poverty alleviation programmme re-named as Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) consists of two schemes, (a) the Urban Self Employment Programme (USEP) and (b) the Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP). Impact assessment has been suggested.

As part of Urban sector reforms and to improve the quality of urban governance, the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act,1992, envisaged effective decentralisation of the functions to the Municipalities including authorization to levy, collect and appropriate taxes and duties to augment the resources of the ULBs. To improve the quality of urban governance, it would be necessary to ensure appropriate follow-up action with reference to the 74th Constitutional Amendment in letter and spirit.

Two Centrally Sponsored Schemes, viz., Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns and Megacity were launched to upgrade and develop infrastructural facilities. Comprehensive review of the guidelines keeping in view the suggestions of the Planning Commission is being undertaken.

The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) was established to contain the pressure on population on Delhi and to attain balanced and harmonious development of Delhi and the adjoining areas of the neighbouring states. However, the concept of NCR Delhi has not yet succeeded due to inadequate coordination within/ among the member states, provision in the outlays of the Sates/ Central Ministries, prioritisation of projects, delay on the part of the member states to conform to the requirements envisaged making the programme coherent, etc.

Delhi being the National capital could have served as a model city. However, the haphazard growth over the years has resulted in unauthorized settlements, growth of slums, pressure on infrastructure facilities like water supply, sewerage, power, etc accompanied by environmental degradation, increasing crime. Multiplicity of urban management agencies have made coordination among the agencies difficult.

For effective urban planning, the scope of the scheme for Urban Mapping using high resolution satellite remote sensing technology requires to be widened to include areas like drainage, sewerage, low cost sanitation, urban waste management etc.

Urban transport development, a crucial component of urban infrastructure needs to be accorded a higher priority.

Housing is essentially a private, self-help activity. However, State intervention is necessary to meet the housing requirements especially of the weaker section of the society. Housing and Habitat policy, 1998 envisages "Shelter for All". NBO, estimated the urban housing shortage at 8.23 million in 1991 and projected to decline to 7.57 millions in 1997 and 6.64 millions in 2001. Another estimate (Habitat-II) indicates that the urban housing shortage would increase to 9.4 million. Apart from Cooperatives and private sector, the Public Sectors also promoting the housing activities. HUDCO has contributed to the housing stock for the poor. Of late many States are not availing the loan facilities of HUDCO to the desired extent due to certain problems and their inability to conform to the procedural requirements. The Planning Commission have suggested modification of the Housing policy to incorporate affordable housing programme for the BPL category.

Another fallout of absence of structured housing schemes for the urban poor is the rapid growth of slums causing tremendous pressure on urban basic services and infrastructure. Recognising the need for greater attention in this area of concern, the National Slum Development Programme (NSDP) was launched during 1996.