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Budget 2022: Government plans paradigm change in urban planning; proposes to set up expert committee

In light of the country’s rapid urbanisation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday that the government plans to bring a “paradigm change” in urban planning and announced the formation of a high-level expert panel to make recommendations on policy matters, capacity building, and implementation.
“Nearly half of India’s population would most certainly be living in cities by the year 100. To prepare for this, it is necessary to have a well-planned urban development. This would contribute in realizing the country’s economic potential, as well as providing possibilities for the demographic dividend’s beneficiaries “she stated
For this, the minister stressed that there is a need to nurture the mega cities and their hinterlands to become current centres of economic growth.
“On the other hand, we need to facilitate tier 2 and 3 cities to take on the mantle in the future. This would require us to reimagine our cities into centres of sustainable living with opportunities for all, including women and youth,” she observed.
For this to happen, the finance minister said, urban planning cannot continue with a business-as-usual approach.
“We plan to to steer a paradigm change. 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,” the minister said.
For urban capacity building, Sitharaman said the support will be provided to the states.
“Modernisation of building byelaws, Town Planning Schemes (TPS), and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) will be implemented,” she said, adding this would facilitate reforms for people to live and work closer to mass transit systems.
“The Central Government’s financial support for mass transit projects and AMRUT scheme will be leveraged for formulation of action plans and their implementation for facilitating TOD and TPS by the states,” the minister said.
For developing India-specific knowledge in urban planning and design, and to deliver certified training in these areas, the finance minister said up to five existing academic institutions in different regions will be designated as centres of excellence.
These centres will be provided endowment funds of Rs 250 crore each.
In addition, she said AICTE will take the lead to improve syllabi, quality and access of urban planning courses in other institutions.

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