Urbanization is referred as the migration of people from rural to urban areas. This movement is directly linked to the economic growth of the cities. People usually migrate to cities in search of a better life, social status and employment. The process of migration enhanced during the Industrial Revolution to many folds. In India around 30% of its population is residing in cities and number is expected to increase to 60% in 2050. This enhancement in the population raises multiple concerns over the already burdened cities in India.
The incorporation of 12th Schedule through the 74th Amendment Act, 1992, paved the way for the formation of Municipal Corporation for the development of Urban Areas. Urban Local Bodies prepare ‘Urban Development Plans’ every 20 years in consideration to the needs of the city and its management. But the present problems clearly show that the ULBs have been unsuccessful in achieving the targets.
Various schemes, such as, JNNURM, Smart Cities Mission, Housing for All, AMRUT have been started at different time scales to enhance to living conditions in Urban areas but the desired results have not been achieved .
Urbanization is linked to various problems such as Overcrowding, Settlements, Transportation, Health, Sanitation, Education, Un-Employment Environmental problems, Waste management, Inadequate finances, Inefficiency at Urban Local Bodies, Planning of cities, Government negligence, Lack of needed research work, Maladministration etc. With the increasing population this trend is going to enhance and would lead to degradation of living conditions more.
Some of the measures to solve the above discussed problems and to improve the condition can be discussed as
- Over-Population: The Increasing level of education and need of employment drawing the youth towards cities. To overcome this, the scope of cities geographical area should be increased. Along the projects such as Smart Cities Mission, projects to make the Smart Village should also be developed.
- Settlements: Overcrowding leads to development of slum areas and congestion in cities. At present, more the 40% of the urban population live in slums. Affordable housing projects, obsolete land acquisition from the government and people, smart and innovative solution for housing such as multistoried buildings, clearing of illegal settlements could be some of the solutions to this.
- Transportation: Lack of availability of transportation facilities and connectivity is a major issue. The Metro Rail Project, Public transport availability and frequency enhancement, better traffic rules and implementation, Roads improvement, accident insurance can be done to improve the scenario.
- Health and Sanitation:Increase in Population results in deterioration in living condition and causes disease burden. Poor housing and slums creates disease outbreak and make the condition even more worrisome. Availability of safe and clean drinking water, proper sanitation drills through municipalities, affordable medical facilities, and awareness generation can definitely be helpful.
- Un- Employment: Overcrowding leads to reduction in employment opportunities in cities. The development should not be restrictive in terms of places and employment generation should also be done at rural areas and due consideration should be given to village economy apart from the agrarian centric development. Villages should also be developed along cities.
- Waste Management and Environment: Solid waste management is one of the biggest problems in cities as there are no proper facilities and places for the waste treatment and its disposal. Lack of availability of spaces makes the outer areas prone for disposal and accumulation of garbage. This further aggravates the situation by causing water and air pollution.An effective waste disposal and treatment policy should be formulated and implemented to get rid of this.
- Finance: According to NitiAayog, India needs around INR 400 trillion to overhaul its infrastructure but it only raise only INR 20 trillion through urban bodies, which is just around 1% of its GDP. This is far behind the economies such as South Africa and Brazil (8%), Denmark (37%). Inefficiency has increased to manifold after the GST as it had taken over some of its taxes such as octroi and local body tax. ULBs should be given with more devolution of grants and power to raise funds. Municipal bonds could be one of the options to raise funds for the cities management.
- Maladministration: Lack of political will and inefficiency on the part of officials and workers of Municipalities also results in mismanagement. Proper training of officers according to the need of the cities and implementation of programs should be done.
- Research work and innovation: More innovative ideas should be evolved for affordable and better cities management. The Private – Public partnerships should be invited for research work. The lessons should also be learnt from the other countries to manage the cities.
The better and efficient management of cities can have multiple impacts on the economy, society and development of the country. This would lead to allocation of resources in right direction and will ease up the situation for the people and government as well.