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Urban Infrastructure in Indian And Its Importance South Asian Regional Conference

Introduction: - South Asian Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure
South Asia Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure conference held in New Delhi in November 2018. It was organized by NITI Aayog in partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB). This is a new approach to the public and private partnership (PPPs) and municipal finance innovations.

What was the objective of the conference?
The main objective of the conference to address the increasing demand for financing sustainable growth-inducing infrastructures such as roads and transport, social infrastructure systems, as well as environment investments in areas such as waste management and water supply and sanitation. The global community has come together on commitments to development outcomes through the Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Major ongoing urban infrastructure development programmes in India
India has the second largest urban population in the world and by 2050; around 50% of India’s population i.e., 814 million is expected to live in urban areas. Given this scenario, the present infrastructure and amenities in the cities and towns are not adequate to address the expanding urbanization process.
Several initiatives were launched by the government to promote urban infrastructure in the country. The major initiative is the twin effort of smart cities mission and the AMRUT scheme.
1 – The Smart Cities Mission
The Smart Cities Mission is a major urban renewal program launched by the government to develop and upgrade living conditions and infrastructure in selected 100 cities all over the country. This programme is implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development.
The main focus of the project is the area based development of cities by transferring existing areas through retrofitting and redevelopment. Another component of the smart cities project is the development of new areas or Greenfield areas. Adoption of smart solutions with use technology, information and data are expected to improve infrastructure and services under the project.
2 – Financing of smart cities mission
Financing of the mission will be collaboratively done by the centre state and local bodies. Fund from the private sector will be invited and public-private partnership supports the project financially.
3- Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) project
Atal mission for rejuvenation and urban transformation along with smart cities were jointly planned and launched by the government to transform urban living conditions through infrastructure up gradation. AMRUT is aimed at transforming 500 cities and towns into efficient urban living spaces over a period of five years. Ministry of urban development has selected the five hundred cities with the help of state governments.
Mission AMRUT is to
1.Ensure that every household should have access to a proper supply of water and sewerage connection.
2.Increase the amenity value of cities of developing greenery and well maintained open spaces.
3.Reduce pollution by switching to public transport or constructing facilities for non-motorized transport.
4- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (URBAN) or housing to all by 2022 mission
Launched by the central government aims to provide housing to all urban people by 2022. It provides central assistance to states and UTs for constructing houses to all eligible sections by concentrating on urban slums and economically weaker sections. Slum rehabilitation and affordable housing to economically weaker sections, subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction or enhancement, affordable housing partnership with public & private sectors are the major features of the project.
It has been observed that the growth of urban infrastructure does not match the growth of the urban population. Some striking facts about the challenges of urban infrastructure are as follows:
1 – Status of drinking water supply, public transportation, sewage and solid waste management is much lower than desired.
2- No city has fully covered 24x7 water supplies.
3- Roads are still in bad condition.
4- Improper waste management.
5- Highly polluted with least greenery.
6- Scientific treatment and disposal are non-existent.
South Asian Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure
The South Asian regional conference is first of its kind, with participation from across the South Asian region including leaders from government, industry, research organizations, academia, think tanks and civil society.
NITI Aayog National Institution for Transforming India
NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the union government, providing both directional and policy inputs. It is essentially an advisory body that seeks to provide critical directional and strategic inputs across the spectrum of key elements of policy to the centre.
It was created in 2015 with the aim to achieve sustainable development goals and to enhance cooperative federalism by fostering the involvement of state government of India in the economic policy-making process using a bottom-up approach. It had replaced the planning commission which followed a top-model.
Ex-officio chairman if NITI Aayog is Prime Minister. The permanent members of its governing council are all the state of chief ministers, along with chief ministers of Delhi and Puducherry, lieutenant governor of Andaman and Nicobar, and a vice chairman nominated by the Prime Minister.
Considering the scale of investment required in infrastructure space it is becoming increasingly imperative for countries like India to explore innovative models to implements infrastructure projects in the country. Public-private partnership PPPs has been one such option, which would enable governments to optimally share the risks associated with the project during its life-cycle and in the process, extend the rich and the scope of the public delivery systems. There is a need to adopt new technology and innovative ways to make urban India better. Such conferences would be beneficial for India to achieve a sustainable development goal soon.