What do Indian cities need? India is growing very fast. Rapid urbanisation is needed for accomodating more number of people who are moving away from village settlements towards towns, cities and metro cities. But are Indian cities are capable of accomodating these inward flowing people? Are they capable of providing basic amenities to these people?
Urbanisation is a reality. India was a country of villages. But in the next hundred or so years, it will be a country of town and cities. Urbanisation is both a boon and a bane for India. It has the potential to solve many problems like creating newer employment opportunities, a push for the industrial sector, better facilities for the people like education, medical care, electricity, housing etc.
But at the same time it may lead to birth of several problems. We are already facing the problems of slums, lack of drinking water, housing, spurt in crime rate, over-crowding, poor drainage system, outbreak of epidemics etc.
The number and the area of urban areas is growing but in an unplanned and undesirable manner. There is lack of a long term vision in this growth. It is basically a boom of reality mafia who are expanding cities with a single motive of profiteering.
The governments have to interfere to make the urbanisation process an all inclusive phenomena. They should design and implement proper master plans for all the existing and upcoming urban areas in more scientific as well as practicle manner.
Proper attention should be paid to all the areas like drainage system, mass transport, housinng, other infrastructure needs. A vision for at least fifty years should be made. All the developments should be accordingly.
The governments should check the reality mafia. Cities should grow in democratic and an all inclusive manner. There should some space for all the strata of the society, from lowest to highest earners.
Flooding during monsoons is a common problem in Indian cities. Adequate measures should be implemented to handle this issue. All the cities should have temporary dwelling place for the homeless people.
The governments should give more powers and funds to the urban local bodies. And these urban local bodies should have more transparency and they should feel accountable to their people. They should learn from the city management of US, Japanese and Western European cities.
Urbanisation should not happen at the cost of destroying the historic legacy and monuments. New should not replace the old; it should grow side by side in a beautiful manner.
Urbanisation, if done in a good manner, can change the face of India and the impression of India on world. India of the 21st century will best country in the world. It will not only provide better living conditions to the people but also more employment opportunities and other facilities. It will also attract more tourists.
It is not the the issues and their solutions of urbanisation are not known to the policy makers. They do not implement these solutions honestly. It basically because they do not feel accountabilty as the other stakeholders never press for getting a good city. Even if people raise their demands, their voice is scattered and not united.
Governments sitting in the national capital or the state capitals can not make the ideal urbanisation process a reality. It is neither possible nor desirable. As stated above, the local self government bodies should be provided with more powers and funds in managing their cities. The management of these cities should be made more democratic and transparent.