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Paradigm change in urban sector policies on cards

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the government is planning a paradigm change in making policies for the urban sector as nearly half of the country’s population is expected to live in those areas by the time India turns 100.

“Urban planning cannot continue with a business-as-usual approach. We plan to steer a paradigm change,” the Finance Minister said while presenting the Union Budget in the Parliament.

She informed that a high-level committee of reputed urban planners, urban economists and institutions will be formed to make recommendations on urban sector policies, capacity building, planning, implementation and governance. “By the time of India @100, nearly half our population is likely to be living in urban areas. To prepare for this, orderly urban development is of critical importance,” she averred.

Sitharaman further said this will help realize the country’s economic potential, including livelihood opportunities for the demographic dividend. “For this, on the one hand we need to nurture the megacities and their hinterlands to become current centres of economic growth. On the other, we need to facilitate tier 2 and 3 cities to take on the mantle in the future,” she said, adding it would require reimagining cities into centres of sustainable living with opportunities for all, including women and youth.

The Union Minister said for urban capacity building, support will be provided to the states.

“Modernization of building bylaws, Town Planning Schemes (TPS), and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) will be implemented. This will facilitate reforms for people to live and work closer to mass transit systems,” she added.

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