Revamp urban governance: NITI Aayog

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 16, 2021

(From left) Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra; NITI Aayog Vice-Chariman Rajiv Kumar; and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant during the launch of the report , in New Delhi, on Thursday   -  PTI

Recommends constitution of an expert panel for reforms in urban planning

The NITI Aayog has recommended re-engineering existing urban governance institutions to resolve issues of overlap among urban bodies.

“There is a need to bring in more institutional clarity and also multi-disciplinary expertise to solve urban challenges,” it said in a report titled Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India. The Advisory Committee, that put together the report, recommended the constitution of a high-powered committee to carry out the exercise.

“There is a compelling need to plug the gaps in urban planning capacity in the country, else a huge opportunity for rapid, sustainable and equitable growth would be at risk of being missed,” said NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman, Rajiv Kumar.

The key aspects that would need to be addressed in this effort would be a clear division of roles and responsibilities among various authorities, appropriate revision of rules and regulations, creation of a more dynamic organisational structure, standardisation of the job descriptions of town planners and other experts, and extensive adoption of technology for enabling public participation and inter-agency coordination, the report said.

Town planning

It highlighted the need for revision of Town and Country Planning Acts. Most States have enacted the Town and Country Planning Act, which enables them to prepare and notify master plans for implementation.

According to the report, many of these need to be reviewed and upgraded to the latest advancements in technology, urban and regional planning approaches and policies.

“The formation of an apex committee at the State level is recommended to undertake a regular review of planning legislations (including town and country planning or urban and regional development acts or other relevant acts),” the report recommended.

The report, developed by NITI Aayog, represents a condensed outcome of the extensive deliberations and consultations conducted over a period of nine months, according to an official release.

Central Sector Scheme

The report also recommended a Central Sector Scheme ‘500 Healthy Cities Programme’, for a period of five years, wherein priority cities and towns would be selected jointly by the States and local bodies.

India is home to 11 per cent of the total global urban population. By 2027, India will surpass China as the most populous country in the world. Unplanned urbanisation, however, exerts great strain on our cities. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the dire need for the planning and management of our cities, the statement added.

Published on September 16, 2021

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