Challenges with the Indian Urbanization Scenario - Urbanization in India is rapid and propels social and environmental challenges. Cities are characterized by strained infrastructure which manifests itself in terms of power cuts and water shortages, high cost of living, and unaffordable real estate resulting in urban sprawl and slums, high volume of traffic resulting in pollution and delays.
Indian cities are struggling to accommodate the accelerated pace of urbanization – resulting in crumbling urban infrastructure and unaffordable options for urban accommodation. Urbanization is only bound to rise – with a manufacturing - led, knowledge driven economy forming the core focus of India’s efforts at creating a ‘step change’ in economic growth. Our industrial growth ecosystem must be planned and created – liveable cities will need to enable people to live and work near production zones.
By 2031, the urban share of GDP is expected to rise from 52% to 75%. The national level of urbanisation in India will rise from 31% in 2011 to 50% by 2031, and more than 600 million Indians will choose to live in urban areas. Urban areas of the future will be clustered – almost 50% of all future urban Indians will be concentrated in 87 metropolitan cities.
India has recently committed to the development and construction of 100 Smart Cities to meet the demands of its rapidly growing and urbanizing population. This effort will include construction of new municipalities and renovation of existing cities as the rural population shifts into urban areas.
Government has decided on developing 100 "Smart Cities" in the country. Accordingly, in his budget speech of July 2014, the Finance Minister has stated "As the fruits of development reach an increasingly large number of people, the pace of migration from the rural areas to the cities is increasing. A neo middle class is emerging which has the aspiration of better living standards. Unless, new cities are developed to accommodate the burgeoning number of people, the existing cities would soon become unliveable. The Prime Minister has a vision of developing 'one hundred Smart Cities', as satellite towns of larger cities and by modernising the existing mid-sized cities."
In India, new growth centers are emerging beyond the country's six emerging metros. As growth shifts to smaller second- and third-tier cities, smart cities efforts need to be refocused on these emerging cities before growth overruns them. This report profiles 20 cities that are poised to emerge as smart cities.
Without a stable supply of electricity, made economically available to all of its inhabitants, India will remain hamstrung with respect to achieving its maximum potential. This white paper from Smart Cities Council - India Associate Partner GRID20/20 outlines some of the challenges facing India's electric grid as well as some of the available solutions and progress being made.