Capacity building in the major area of ​​urban planning, which will be part of the HLC report

Create institutes to create training programs for planners, revise the framework rules in cities to employ planners, create a separate public service commission for planners – these are some of the report’s recommendations to prepare and submitted by the High Level Committee (CHN) of town planners set up by the Ministry of Housing and the City.

At the first national urban planning conclave organized by the HLC last week in Ahmedabad, capacity building in urban planning emerged as one of the most pressing issues to be addressed at the earliest.

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“Out of 8,000 cities, there is no development in 50% of them. All cities stand to benefit from urban planners for whom the HLC is emphasizing capacity building as one of the key issues to be mainstreamed in its report,” HLC Chairman Keshav Varma told The Indian Express.

During the capacity building discussions at the national conclave, it was revealed that there are currently 49 institutions with 1,300 postgraduate places and 550 undergraduate places. Thus, suggestions have been made to increase the capacity.

At the conclave, suggestions were made to establish a planning and public policy department for postgraduate degrees as well as demand-driven short-term programs in rural area planning at central universities.

According to Varma, hiring professionals is the fundamental first step in capacity building because hiring qualified candidates from other fields to undertake planning projects can lead to inefficiencies for which institutes are required to train professionals. .

“The rules of the framework must be modified in cities in order to employ urban planners. Urban planning should not be the domain of government planners. In addition, other professionals should also be involved, such as foresters, hydrologists, irrigation experts and urban economists,” he said.

He had suggested during the conclave that a reflection be launched to set up a public service commission like UPSC for urban planners.

While strengthening academia to prepare more planners for the future is one of HLC’s focus areas, existing vacancies are also flagged.

Out of 4,000 sanctioned seats in the government sector, 42% are vacant in 2021 and 50% of positions at the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) are also vacant, Kundan Kumar adviser Niti Aayog pointed out, who had also suggested direct or lateral. recruitment and revision of recruitment rules.

The report due to be delivered after the second national conclave scheduled for October in Srinagar will also focus on how to implement green urban planning programmes.

“Water channel routes, the creation of a flood control reservoir and no TP programs to cut mature trees unlike what is so prevalent at the moment are other issues to keep in mind. spirit. Although green spaces are our priority, these cannot be fragmented or in patches but a composite green cover. We need green cities for which world-class planners from Japan, South Korea and Singapore should be consulted,” Varma said.

Additionally, Varma added that the HLC would recommend coordination between civic bodies and traffic police who currently “work in isolation.”