The Centre has issued guidelines requiring state governments to
incorporate plans for water conservation and sewage disposal in the master
plans for cities before any projects are sanctioned.


Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath said that in the next phase of the
Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), sustainable cities
would be encouraged.


‘We are building it in, we have asked all states to build it in their
master plans — water conservation and sewage. In all building plans that they
sanction, they must ensure that it is a part of their master plans,’ Nath
stated to the media on the sidelines of CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for
Sustainable Development’s annual event ‘Sustainable and Inclusive Solutions:
Summit and Exhibition’.


Assuring that the central government would be trying to promote cleaner
cities in the next phase of JNNURM, the minister said, ‘We are going to see how
carbon-neutral they are, how they are bringing in sustainability concerns.’


This aspect assumes all the more significance when seen against the
backdrop of the rapidly multiplying urban population and the attendant economic
challenges. As Nath informed, ‘in the next 10 years more than 600 million
people will live in Indian cities. More than 53 cities have populations of over
one million and will grow 60 times in these 10 years.’


India’s urban population grew from 27.8 per cent in 2001 to 31.16 per
cent in 2011, according to information provided to parliament. As per the United
Nations’ ‘2011 Revision of the World Urbanisation Prospects’ report released in
April this year, India will witness the largest increase in urban population in
the next four decades. Indian cities will add another 497 million people
between 2010 and 2050.


The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is a city
modernization scheme under which states and urban local bodies (ULBs) are
required to lay down a vision for their cities and accordingly prepare
development plans and identify and implement projects. The goal was to create
economically productive, efficient, equitable and responsive cities through
improving their economic and social infrastructure.


The first phase of the programme started in 2005 and ended this year. Phase
2 is expected to commence soon. In December last year, Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh had said that the second phase of JNNURM should stress on the needs of
raising internal revenues of local bodies, having a municipal cadre, building
their capacities and making them professional, and having adequate arrangements
to cope with increasing population and economic services. The Prime Minister had
pointed out that as a result of growing urbanization many cities were expected
to expand at the periphery, with smaller municipalities and large villages
surrounding the core cities becoming part of the metropolitan area. There was
therefore an urgent need to focus on metropolitan planning, improving
connectivity through better and larger networks of roads, expressways and
highways, and placing increased emphasis on public transport in relation to
affordable housing for the economically weaker sections of society.