Government think tank Niti Aayog on Thursday launched a report on steps required for reforming urban planning capacity in the country. It was released by vice chairman Rajiv Kumar and CEO Amitabh Kant.
The report titled “Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India”, noted that though urban planning is the key for integrated development of cities, ironically it has not received due attention. Also the existing urban planning and governance framework is also quite complex that often leads to ambiguity and lack of accountability.
Most significantly, the Coronavirus pandemic has exposed the urgent need for better planning and management of Indian cities.
The report has made several recommendations to decongest value chain of urban planning capacity in the country.
Need for all cities in the country to become “healthy cities” is an aim which needs to be achieved by 2030, the report elaborated.
For this purpose, the report suggests a central sector scheme titled “500 Healthy Cities Programme” for a period of five years where priority cities will be selected jointly by the states and local bodies.
All the cities and towns under the proposed programme should try and maximize the efficiency of urban land.
To combat the shortage of urban planners in the public sector, the report recommends that the states should expedite filling up of vacant positions of town planners and additionally sanction 8,268 town planners' posts as lateral entry positions for a minimum period of three years and a maximum of five years to meet the gaps.
It also suggested that qualified professionals should undertake urban planning as state town and country planning departments face an acute shortage of town planners.
The problem is further compounded by the fact that in many states a qualification in town planning is not even an essential criterion for such jobs, the report noted.