Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kamal Nath emphasizes the need for more efficient use of land resources; says long term urban planning needs to focus on sub-urbanization.
Urban Development Minister Mr. Kamal Nath has stressed upon the importance of long term strategic urban planning for emergence and growth of new cities not only in the specific context of municipal limits but encompassing the regional perspective i.e. sub-urbanization. He was speaking at the Joint Plenary Session of the Singapore International Water Week-World Cities Summit-Clean Enviro Summit on Monday 2nd of July. Kamal Nath said “it is important that suburbs of major urban centers are well planned and linked with efficient and fast transportation networks in order to ensure dispersal of population and economic activities”.

Minister Nath spoke on the need for efficient use of land resources. Unlike Singapore and many other developed cities, India uses its land inefficiently as the FAR and FSI permitted is well below the international standards. Minister Nath spoke on the need to permit higher FAR in existing areas that have carrying capacity and plan the newer areas accordingly.

Mr. Nath Highlighted the need for extensive urban infrastructure development such as water supply, sanitation, transport, roads etc. on a gigantic scale to meet the challenges of future. The Minister stated that it is important to improve efficiency in service delivery and hoped that in times to come cities will become self reliant, bankable, transparent and greater role of private sector through PPP model will meet the rising expectations of people.

Mr. Nath stated that at a time when mature economies are facing the challenges of de-leveraging and aging, the urbanization wave in emerging markets is a positive force for global growth. The urban shift is changing the balance of the world economy, and governments, investors and businesses need to ensure that they understand and respond. In India, more than 31% of the population lives in cities of all sizes.

The Minister also participated in a session “In-Focus” on India and emphasized upon the need to improve efficiency and inclusiveness in the development of urban infrastructure. He said that the next phase of Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) is likely to have an enhanced allocation to the tune of 0.25% of GDP amounting to $38 billion. Innovative models of financing including PPP, Land Monetization and stress on urban governance and other reform measures would be integral to the next phase.

Minister Kamal Nath also met Mr. Goh Chok Tong, Emeritus Senior Minister, Singapore, and Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry.

Minister Nath is on a visit to Singapore to participate in the World Cities Summit 2012 which is being attended by Ministers from several countries and more than 3000 professionals and experts in the urban sector. 

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