Urban - Rural Linkages, Pvt Investments, governance key to sustainable growth - Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia
“To match up with the rapid pace of urbanisation, there is an urgent need to improve delivery systems and mechanism to provide basic amenities and essential services like water, sanitation, housing, solid waste management, electricity and power besides infrastructure support like road and rail network and a reliable communication network”, emphasised Mr Bhupinder Hooda, Chief Minister, Government of Haryana while inaugurating the CII – ICRIER Knowledge dissemination Workshop on Urbanisation at CII’s Headquarters in Sector 31.
“We are very committed to provide the best quality of urban services, support and amenities like water, solid waste Management, infrastructure, transport and connectivity, power etc especially to the backward sections. We have opened various Centers of Excellence are also developing skilled labour and creating jobs in these areas. Our city development plans are being made and upgraded to make the most of the opportunities available. We have achieved path braking development through private investments and are very keen to take it further”, the Chief Minister shared.
“Water is one of the most critical resources on earth and needs to be utilized very efficiently. The drip irrigation and sprinkle irrigation should be adopted completely in our farms instead of flood irrigation”, he added.
On the housing front, he shared that “We are providing 1.5 Lakh urban houses for Below Poverty line (BPL) people and around 2 lakh BPL houses in rural areas”.
The workshop, jointly organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) & Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) aimed to bring on table, the issues and challenges concerning the Urban Infrastructure and Services and share the best practices.
“Huge investments, better governance, planning, innovation, PPP mode, implementation of projects in urban sector and developing & strengthening the urban – rural linkages is a must to attain a sustainable growth rate of 8 %”, emphaissed Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Chairperson, ICRIER and Urbanisation Project Leader at the CII – ICRIER workshop on urbanisation.
Dr Ahluwalia also shared the findings of the High Powered Expert Committee on Urban Infrastructure and Services – HPEC (Ahluwalia).
“By 2031, we need Rs 40 lakh crore of investments to upgrade urban infrastructure, 50 % of which is attributed to roads and transport and 25 % is targeted towards water and solid waste management. Sequencing of these investments is also very crucial, i.e without investing in water supply etc, if we invest in roads, then we might end up spending on roads again”, she added.
“The industry and services sector can only drive the economy to grow at 7 – 8 %, so it needs huge impetus. More and more burden would come on the cities. Hence we need to invest heavily and plan well to upgrade urban infrastructure, transportation, connectivity and other amenities and services. This would then be connected to the rural India. 31 % of India’s population lives in urban India, (35% in Haryana & 37 % in Punjab) and this is expected to rise very rapidly. Presently 375 million people in urban India are un-served and this figure is expected to escalate to 600 million by 2031. It would be a big challenge and opportunity to serve them. We need to tap this potential under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode and attract investments in this area”, she further informed.
“The states of Punjab and Haryana need to develop proper linkages between its various small, medium and big towns, villages and cities, create enabling environment for private sector investments, strengthen its municipal corporations and safeguard environment to attain and sustain 7-8 % growth rate”, she added.
She shared the examples of some towns like Markapur, Amravati etc in Maharashtra where, due to the efforts of local bodies, residents are getting 24/7 water supply and still they are able to save on water usage and bills.
Regarding the biodegradable wastes, she shared that around 40 % of the waste can easily be converted into organic compost while for the rest 60 %, which can be converted into energy, govt’s support and capital investments are needed.
“The share of Urban development expenditures is even less than 1 % of the GDP, which should be doubled. The investment in urban development can be complemented with committed local governance and better implementation of various projects. Even sharing of some part of GST with the local bodies can also help them upgrade the infrastructure in cities and towns”, Dr Ahluwalia advised.
Mr Suresh Kumar, IAS, Principal Secretary, Dept. of Water Supply & Sanitation, Punjab shared Water Supply & Sanitation Good Governance Initiatives in Punjab. “Already, Sewage Treatment Plants are operational in 95 out of the 143 Municipal Corporations. Our aim is to develop an eco system that provides 24X7 water supply to all villages in Punjab with highest service standards and Individual household service connections coupled with modern underground waste water collection and disposal systems”, he added.
“The Confederation of Indian Industry works to promote PPP in urban infrastructure. We work in partnership with the Centre, State and local governments to ensure effective implementation and compliance of the 74th Amendment. This Amendment considered necessary that provisions relating to Urban Local Bodies are incorporated in the Constitution for a firmer footing on the relationship between them and the State Government. CII has also identified 'Intelligent Cities' as a key focus area”, iterated Mr Malvinder Mohan Singh, Chairman, CII (Northern Region).
“The rate of development is clearly related to the rate of urbanization. As more and more cities come up, we need to provide for vital Urban Infrastructure elements comprising water supply; sanitation; solid waste management and urban transport. All these areas need huge investments. In this context, CII believes that there is immense scope for PPP in urban sector, especially in water, sanitation and waste to energy modules” shared Mr Pikender Pal Singh, Regional Director, CII NR.
“Urban Development is inevitable and not an option because it is directly related to GDP growth. Further, I feel that more and more innovation and use of science and latest technology should be adopted to attain desired results”, emphasised Mr Vikram Hans, Co-Chairman, Regional Committee on Power Reforms & Renewable Energy, CII Northern Region.