Data Stories

If Urbanization is Inevitable, How Exactly is India Building Cities?

building cities

Consider this. By 2030, 60 crore Indians are expected to live in our urban centers. So, how is India preparing to deal with this future? Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs came up with many interesting figures in a recent seminar which will answer this question.

This development needs a closer look because the emergence of cities means a boost for jobs. It also brings various economic opportunities for certain sectors. As the houses, metro, roads and other public amenities are being built at scale, two major industries stand to get an immediate benefit- steel and cement.

Building Cities

There are about 5,151 projects worth more than ₹2 lakh crore identified in 100 Smart Cities. The number of projects tendered stand at around 4,700, worth ₹1,66,000 crore which is about 81% of the total projects proposed. Among them 61% have been grounded and more than 1,638 projects worth over ₹27,000 crores have been completed.

About 700 km metro length is operational in 18 cities and about 900 km network is under construction in 27 cities. The average per KM requirement of steel in metro projects is about 13,000 Metric Tonnes.

Mobility and ease of living are the crucial elements one needs to address while developing cities. The unplanned development of cities holds a lesson that merely accommodating people in cities will not ensure the quality of life if they end up spending their time in traffic and struggling to get basic amenities. The ministry informs that under the Smart City Mission, 215 smart road projects have been completed and 315 projects are nearing completion. Keeping with the commitment to making cities more liveable and sustainable, 70 projects related to smart water and 42 projects under smart solar have been completed.

Building Urban Houses

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) is at the forefront of building houses. Building houses under PMAY (U) is not just about bringing smiles to family members who have benefitted; it also ensures many other accomplishments.

Five Components, Three Layers

In developing the cities of the future, a systematic approach has been in place as this e-book from the Ministry spelt out.  It has prime components spread in five elements.

Source: E-book, MoHUA

Upon recognising these five areas of work, the implementation strategy is also charted out.

At the first level, poverty alleviation, affordable housing and sanitation are the three biggest challenges. Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM), PMAY (U) and Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban are being implemented in all the Urban Local Bodies.

At the second level, basic infrastructure like water supply, sewerage/septage projects and green parks are the focus. These are being implemented in 500 cities, with 1,00,000 and above population through Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). This covers over 60% of the urban population.

Finally at the third level, 100 cities are being developed under Smart Cities Mission (SCM) to address the issues related to ease of living by evolving new paradigms of urban governance with communities at the core and increased use of digital technology to improve the urban infrastructure, services and utilisation of resources.

The data covered from May 2019 to May 2020 gives you this report card.

Source: E-book, MoHUA

As these cities evolve, they boost various economic activities as mentioned earlier. To have an insight, let’s pick this assessment made by the Union Minister for MoHUA who stated, “the value of steel used in construction of Airport Terminal Buildings in the past 3 years is ₹570 Cr (approx). The value of steel expected to be used for construction of Airport Terminal Buildings in the next 5 years stands at ₹1,905 cr (approx). In the next five years 15 new Terminal buildings are planned at a cost of ₹15,000 Cr, requiring large quantity of steel. An average 12-15% of cost component is steel work for Airports.”

Thus, India is building cities smartly with the range of benefits to be reaped. The process has just started.