The urban planning committee recommends the creation of 500 healthy cities

A high-level committee on urban planning has recommended a central sector program to develop 500 healthy cities in India over the next five years, while suggesting the need to build human resources needed for planned urbanization in India, including including filling existing vacancies and opening more than 8,000 new planning positions.

The report comes after the country experienced a massive shortage of healthcare infrastructure during the first and second waves of the pandemic.

“A central sector program, the 500 Healthy Cities program, should be launched for a five-year period in which priority cities and towns would be jointly selected by states and local bodies,” said an advisory committee on health reforms. urban planning capacity in India in its report, launched on Thursday. NITI Aayog Vice President Rajiv Kumar headed the committee.

“It is concerning that despite huge investments, our cities still face many challenges related to efficiency and sustainability. None of our cities are among the top 50 cities in many global rankings,” Kumar said in the report.

Agencies

“The need of the hour is incisive and insightful planning – without which neither investment nor action could provide long-term solutions,” he said, adding that unplanned urbanization could cause serious inconvenience. The 14-member committee was established in October last year.

“Covid-19 has revealed the urgent need for planning and management of our cities, with a focus on the health of citizens. Problems such as the lack of availability of serviced land, traffic congestion, pressure on basic infrastructure, extreme air pollution, urban flooding, water scarcity and droughts indicate a deep and substantial lack of management frameworks. proper urban planning and governance,” the committee said in the report. .

Aayog urged all relevant Ministries, State Governments and Municipal Governments to review this report and use it as inspiration to create strategies for immediate, medium and long term actions.

India is the second largest urban system in the world with nearly 11% of the total world population living in Indian cities. The government expects urban growth to contribute 73% of the total population increase by 2036.

According to the committee, states and union territories must expedite the filling of vacant city planner positions and additionally sanction 8,268 city planner positions as lateral entry positions for a minimum period of three years and one year. maximum of five years to fill the gap. .

The report further suggested the formation of a high-level committee to rethink the current urban planning governance structure with emphasis on a clear distribution of roles and responsibilities between the different authorities and an appropriate revision of the rules. and regulations.

According to the report, concerted action needs to be taken at several levels to enhance the role of the private sector to improve the overall planning capacity in the country.

“These include adopting fair processes for procuring technical advisory services, building skills in structuring and project management in the public sector, and establishing private sector consultancy firms.