Reducing water and power use by half and promoting renewable energy and public transport are “key elements” of the government’s urban development strategy for the next 20 years, according to a report released. Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister M Venkaiah Naidu released the India Habitat III-National Report on World Habitat Day, ahead of the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador later this month where a global new urban agenda for the next 20 years is going to be adopted.
India’s strategy for urban development intends to give a big push to use growing urbanisation for rapid economic development while at the same time committing itself to address issues of sustainable development and climate change, Naidu said. “The challenge is about ensuring sustainable development while taking advantage of economic growth that results from rapid urbanisation in the country. For long, urbanisation has been looked at from the limited perspective of providing basic services.We need to go for a big push to harness fully the potential of urbanisation,” he said. Stating that cities need to be made efficient, productive, inclusive, safe and sustainable, he said the agenda for the next two decades proposed in the national report will be ensuring economic growth and productivity, improving quality of life, addressing issues of inclusivity, sustainability and climate change.
The minister said the outcomes of new urban agenda based on sustainable urban planning would include reducing water and electricity use by 50 per cent from that of normal use, enabling over 60 per cent of urban travel by public transport, generating half of power from renewable sources, and promoting walking and cycling for last mile connectivity. Promoting natural drainage patterns, reducing waste generation of all kind and promoting greenery are some of the government agenda for sustainable urban development, he said. On India ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change yesterday, Naidu said, “It is an eloquent testimony of India’s commitment to sustainable development.”
Referring to the theme of this year’s Word Habitat Day of ‘Housing at Centre’, Naidu said that under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) launched in June last year, construction of over 10 lakh houses for urban poor has been approved which is close to the number of houses approved during the nine years of JNNURM during the previous regime. Differently-abled children who have won in painting competitions organised on the theme of World Habitat Day were felicitated by Naidu and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Rao Inderjit Singh. HUPA Secretary Nandita Chatterjee also spoke on the occasion.