In the coming decades, the urban sector will play a critical role in the structural transformation of the Indian economy and in sustaining the high rates of economic growth. Ensuring high quality public services for all in the cities and towns of India is an end in itself, but it will also facilitate the full realisation of India’s economic potential.This Report comes to the conclusion that India’s economic growth momentum cannot be sustained if urbanisation is not actively facilitated. Nor can poverty be addressed if the needs of the urban poor are isolated from the broader challenges of managing urbanisation. Cities will have to become the engines of national development. India cannot afford to get its urban strategy wrong, but it cannot get it right without bringing about a fundamental shift in the mindset which separates rural from the urban.
The Report argues that the challenge of managing urbanisation will have to be addressed through a combination of increased investment, strengthening the framework for governance and financing, and a comprehensive capacity building programme at all levels of government. At the centre of this approach is the role of cities and towns in an interdependent federal system. The Committee is of the view that India’s municipal corporations, municipalities and nagar panchayats, commonly known as urban local bodies (ULBs) need to be strengthened as local self-government with clear functions, independent financial resources, and autonomy to take decisions on investment and service delivery.