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To Meet Urban Demands, India To Build 700-900 Million Sq.Mts. Till 2030

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To Meet Urban Demands, India To Build 700-900 Million Sq.Mts. Till 2030

To satisfy its burgeoning urban demand, India needs to construct a new Chicago every year, as it is estimated that around 40% of the nation’s populace will be dwelling in urban areas by 2030, said Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Housing Minister.

While addressing the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in the United States, he emphasized that India’s development goals will be met in an inclusive way and will be rooted in the principle of human rights.

The minister said that up to 600 million Indians will be living in urban areas in by 2030, the target year for accomplishing the ambitious development agenda given by United Nations. Puri had served as India’s Permanent Representative to the UN from 2009 to 2013.

“To lay further emphasis on India’s urban prospects – from now till 2030, India has to build 700 to 900 million square metres of urban space every year. In other words, India will have to build a new Chicago every year from now till 2030 to meet its urban demand,” was what Puri told to the diplomats, top UN officials, civil society members, urban planners and national stakeholders who attended the forum.

After New York and Chicago ranks as the third most populous city in the US with over 2.7 million residents and an area of 606.4 square kilometres.

He highlighted that India still had to go a long way, as 70% of the urban infrastructure required by 2030 still had to be built, and it had to be built in an eco-friendly and resilient manner.

Linking the success of the 2030 Development Agenda to the country’s national success in attaining the sustainable development goals, he said that if India succeeds then the 2030 agenda will succeed as well.

He said that the success of the Millennium Development Goals was due to China’s efforts of uplifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, adding that he had an equal conviction that India is well on its way to achieving its 2030 agenda.

To quote Puri, “India’s national development goals and policy initiatives for inclusive development converge well with the SDGs, and India will play a leading role in determining the success of the SDGs, globally.”

He underlined that India will achieve its development goals, which includes the SDG goal 11 of sustainable cities and communities, in a comprehensive way. The minister said that people in slums will be resettled on an ‘as-is-where-is’ basis, i.e. in the place where they are currently living.

Presently, more than 30% of India’s population lives in urban centres, as compared to 17% of the population that lived in urban areas during India’s independence in 1947.

Whilst addressing the session on making human settlements and cities inclusive, secure and resilient, Puri stated that the flagship programmes implemented by the Indian government were progressing in the apt direction, ensuring that India succeeds in the 2030 Agenda.

Through silo-breaking approaches, India is implementing some of the world’s largest and most ambitious national schemes for social inclusion, economic growth and environmental sustainability, Puri informed the forum. He is also the President of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat.

Yet, he said, that urban areas in the country dealt with a number of challenges along with a complex ecosystem in guaranteeing housing for all, solutions that are tech-based and augment the delivery services, improved mobility and eco-friendly transit systems and smart governance. India is trying to achieve a lot more in a very resourceful way.

“By promoting cooperative federalism, ensuring integrated planning through convergence, and focusing on an outcome-based approach compared to a project-based approach, we have embarked upon the most ambitious and comprehensive programme of planned urbanization ever undertaken in the world,” he said.

The global urban growth, more than 90% of it, is occurring in the developing nations. It is predicted that between 2018 and 2050, India, China and Nigeria together will account for about 35% of the growth in the world’s urban population.

He said that it would not be a hyperbole to say that India’s urban agenda will comprise one of the defining projects of the 21st century.

Drawing attention to the various programmes launched by India, the housing minister said that the nations international commitments are reflected in its national development goals.  

Puri marked that the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or the Affordable Housing for All scheme is the world’s largest housing programme for the poor. Under the scheme, the government aims to construct 11 million affordable homes for citizens living in urban areas by 2022.

Puri mentioned that to give an impetus to gender empowerment, the title of each home under the lady of the house under the scheme, or the title is co-owned by the couple. He added that the government had already sanctioned over 5 million towards the effort and it is optimistic of meeting the targets by mid-2019. India is in the process of creating 100 Smart Cities to empower urban infrastructure with the help of smart solutions, he added.

“With India striving to meet its national socio-economic development targets, achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 169 targets linked to them will be a major success story of the millennium affecting more than a billion persons all at once,” he said.

The High Level Political Forum (HLPF), established in 2012, conducts an annual meet under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The HLPF is the main UN platform for sustainable development and has a key role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 agenda and the SDGs at the international level.

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