Union Urban Development Minister Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today said that with the country turning urban soon after 2040, urban management is both a challenge and opportunity and states should be pro-active with necessary urban reforms, planning and management to meet the emerging challenge.
Addressing media at the Central Secretariat Metro station in the national capital after inaugurating the new metro service at Mandi House station, Shri Naidu said that the countrys urban population has increased from 62 million in 1951 to 377 million in 2011 marking an increase from 17% of the total population to 31% respectively. He further said, about 500 millions more will be living in towns and cities between 2040 and 2050 by when with 875 million urban population, the country would be predominantly urban with rural population of only 815 millions. The Minister noted that India lags in urbanization which is at the moment 50% in China and Indonesia, 61% in South Africa and 87% in Brazil while the average urbanization for Asia is 45%.
Asserting direct relationship between urbanization, economic growth and development, Shri Naidu said, contribution from towns and cities to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased from 29% in 1950-51 to 47% in 1987 and 63% in 2007. He said this is expected to rise to 75% in 2021. He informed that number of cities and towns increased from 5,161 to 7,936 in 2011.
Expressing concern over poor quality and inadequate infrastructure in urban areas, the poor and aspirational India are the worst affected by lack of public transport, The minister said that the metro rail service combines with other modes of efficient public transport are the best way of ensuring quick and comfortable transport besides reducing consumption of scarce fossil fuels like diesel, petrol and gas. He called for institutionalized peoples participation in management of urban affairs including sanitation and solid waste management. The Minister asserted that Shri Narendra Modi led NDA government is committed to do the needful to improve urban planning and management and exploit growth potential of urbanization in the country.
Shri Naidu who travelled to Central Secretariat station on the new Metro section informed that a meeting of Secretaries and Ministers of Municipal Affairs and Urban Development of States/Union Territories has been convened on July 2-3, for detailed discussion on various issues impacting urban planning and management including urban reforms and new initiatives proposed by the central government.
Earlier, Shri Naidu inaugurated the new 3.23 km Metro service at Mandi House station linking it with Central Secretariat Station. This line is aimed at decongesting the Rajiv Chowk station besides providing direct interchange facility at Mandi House on Noida/Vaishali and Badarpur Line. Shri Naidu said, the completely underground line has been completed ahead of schedule and within the stipulated cost and will benefit an additional 70,000 commuters every day. This section is the first to be launched under Phase III of Delhi Metro on completion of which in 2016, Shri Naidu said the national capital would be acquiring adequate metro services within and with the adjoining cities.
The minister on the occasion acknowledged the services of Shri Sreedharan for his pioneering work for Delhi Metro and also complimented Shri Mangu Singh, present CMD and his team for continuing the good work.
Shri Naidu informed that he has written letters to his colleagues in the government to regularly avail Delhi Metro Rail services for commuting to and from the International Airport to save on time and fuel besides aiding in mitigation of traffic.
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