by P.T. Choudary, Chairman IDEAz
- Rapid Urbanization of India is an ongoing and inevitable phenomenon.
- Restricted Land availability in cities requires vertical growth and designated mixed use areas.
- Urban Cities in India are unable to raise Funds & Revenues due to inability to sell or lease Land within under their limits, or Tax Vehicles or consumption or issue Bonds, as all this is done only by the State.
- Rent control regulation does not allow for proper development and maintenance of Properties and such regulation is done not by the city but by the State.
- Cities are controlled and bullied by Politicians dependent on Rural vote and hence cannot manage their affairs efficiently. Cities should be managed by their own Councils / Corporations.(See Smaller States – How Small – How Many?).
- Across history all cities grew from Shanty Towns / Slums, and as the cities grow newer slums are looked at disdainfully by those who by then are better settled.
- All that we see as culture was born from the early agglomerations of people in cities / towns then.
- India’s Slum population is 12.5% of the Urban population and keeps growing as the City grows.
- Urban population will soon hit 60% plus as in developed Countries. China is now at 50% up from 20% in 2000.
- City Governments have become dependent on doles recovering only, – in Delhi 16%, Mumbai 24%, Hyderabad 48%, of the expenditure as Property Tax Revenues. In Punjab 2/3rds of the Properties are exempt from Tax. The average Mumbaite pays only about 1500 per year.
- According to Richard Florida , urban theorist, 40 % of the largest megacities of the world are home to 18 % of the world’s population and produce 2/3rds of the global economic output and nearly 90% of the new patented inventions.
People leave the seemingly more peaceful and cleaner environment of the village for the crowded and filthy slums of a city only because of the vastly greater opportunities and choices a city offers for employment, low paying service jobs in nearby high rent districts or in dirty recycling jobs within the slums. People rarely choose to go back to the villages except for functions / holidays. Dharavi in Mumbai, Asia’s largest slum, annually generates over US $1 bn. worth of business, some of it from exports.
The growth of the Urban population because of the ever increasing number of people moving from Rural to Urban areas is a worldwide phenomenon. However its magnitude and rate is far greater in the developing world than in the so called developed world. With the world’s population now at 7 billion and expected to be at least 9 billion by 2030 and the Urban population expected to increase to over 70%, ‘Urbanization’ and its effects on the existing Cities, is reason for alarm. Such a population shift could be catastrophic for Cities in India.
All the major Cities in the Country will soon face the collapse of all
civic facilities. In fact many Cities are already demonstrating recognizable signs of such a collapse. Unless the Government takes immediate action to;
- Change the Development & Urban Planning rules to allow cities to grow with greater population densities (more vertical) and,
- Slow down such migration to more manageable proportions, if not bring it to a stop by taking up suitable development of Tier II & Tier III towns.
- Construct Mass Rapid Transportation Systems to cover all key areas of each city.
The only way to reduce, or even reverse, such migration in a democratic system is by removing the reasons for it in the first place. The main reasons for such a migration are;
- Better employment prospects (See “Entrepreneurial Capitalism – The Case for,” & “Dream Budget- Version – 2.0 – The Way Forward”)
- Better quality of life due to availability of better educational, medical, entertainment and living facilities. (See “Health Care for All” & “Education in the 21st Century”)
- Non existence of, or at least far less, cultural and social barriers and limitations, in urban environments compared to Rural. (See “Equality for All or All are Equal”)
It therefore follows that if these criteria are met outside the major Cities, the migration to such Cities would cease, if not even reverse, due to better planned environment in the smaller Towns / Rural areas. Tier II and Tier III towns can be taken up as above for accelerated development.
The existing Rural Social / Cultural and Land ownership patterns, and the imperative not to needlessly destroy cultivable land, makes it obvious that existing Villages cannot be developed to meet such standards. Hence new and suitable sites must be identified and selected for such development. In these days of development of Information Technologies & Internet connectivity, allowing for working from ‘away’ locations, such dispersion is not only desirable but also very practical unlike in the Industrial Age where factories needed labour to be near.