The India National Report is a sequel to resolution 24/14 of the UN Habitat Governing Council, adopted in its twentyfourth session by which the Council invited its member states to prepare national reports on the “implementation of the Habitat-II agenda and of the other relevant internationally agreed goals and targets as well as new challenges, emerging trends, and a prospective vision for sustainable human settlements and urban development”. Since the adoption of Habitat II agenda in 1996, India’s urban sector has witnessed important changes, and, in many ways, has posted departures from the earlier ways of looking at urbanization in the country’s growth and development processes.
India explicitly recognizes the role and importance of urbanization and cities in the process of its socio-economic transformation, and affirms its commitment to the larger goals of urban equity and eradication of poverty; inclusive urban prosperity and opportunities for all; productivity, competitiveness, diversification and innovation; and urban resilience. Its current approach to urbanization is focussed on several objectives: (i) urbanization must generate growth and enhance economic productivity and competitiveness; (ii) it should be inclusive and sustainable; (iii) it should aim at preservation and revitalization of history, culture and heritage; and (iv) it should contribute to the development of rural areas and strengthen ruralurban interdependencies. Consistent with these goals and objectives, the Government of India has launched a number of missions, the key ones being the Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation of Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Swachh Bharat (Clean India)Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Housing For All (HFA), Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), and Rurban Mission. This report lays out a brief account of the state of the urban sector and the challenges and complexities it faces, and outlines the initiatives and strategies that have been taken to address these.
The India National Report consists of seven chapters.
Chapter 1 provides an assessment of the urbanization trends in the country, focussing on how the trends are being shaped, on the one hand, by domestic priorities such as the accelerated development of rural areas and the need to forge stronger urban-rural linkages, and on the other hand, by factors driven by competition between cities for improved productivity and economic vibrancy.
Chapters 2–4 outline the developments and challenges in the spheres of urban land and housing market, urban environment, infrastructure and services.
The governance and financing systems of cities (urban local bodies) are discussed in chapters 5 and 6, referring especially to putting in place a strong system of inter-governmental system of transfers, increased local government autonomy, a focussed use of the nascent but growing capital market for financing priority infrastructure services and the development of public-private partnership facility.
Chapter 7 gives an account of the urban initiatives and a perspective vision for the new urban agenda, affirming its commitment to the new international benchmarks as embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Agreement on climate change.