New Delhi: Cities have borne the utmost brunt of the COVID-19 outbreak however they can even be key to India’s post-pandemic development as they account for almost 70 per cent of the nation’s GDP and a median of 25-30 individuals migrate to cities from rural areas each single minute, a brand new research has proven.
“According to estimates, about 70 per cent of India’s GDP comes from its cities and around 25-30 people migrate to the cities from rural areas every minute. However, most big cities in India have a wide economic disparity, with expansive slums and a large urban poor population,” the WEF mentioned.
The research additional mentioned that about 25 million households in India — 35 per cent of all city households — can’t afford housing at market costs and it’s time to create a brand new city paradigm that allows cities to be more healthy, extra inclusive and extra resilient.
The WEF report, titled Indian Cities within the Submit-Pandemic World, highlights the nation’s most urgent city challenges that had been additional exacerbated by the pandemic. The report additionally supplies insights for translating the teachings realized from the pandemic into an city reform agenda.
The impression of the pandemic has been profoundly uneven on completely different inhabitants teams. Weak populations, together with low-income migrant staff, have suffered the twin blows of misplaced revenue and weak social-protection protection, whereas the pandemic has additionally laid naked gender-based imbalances in private and non-private life in India’s city areas, the WEF mentioned.
The report, produced in collaboration with Mumbai-based IDFC Institute, compiles insights from main world and Indian city specialists throughout seven thematic pillars — planning, housing, transport, surroundings, public well being, gender and susceptible populations.
Amongst different suggestions, the report underscores the important function information can play in serving to cities handle and direct emergency operations throughout a disaster.
“But data alone is not a panacea; realizing the potential of cities requires empowered and capable governance, investment in transport and infrastructure to fuel productive urban economies, and a rethink of outdated planning norms and regulations,” the WEF mentioned.
The wide-ranging suggestions compiled within the report embrace a rethink of outdated city planning rules, which is able to make cities extra compact, commuter-friendly and inexperienced.
It additionally recommends higher decentralisation and empowerment of native governments, which is able to permit for extra proximate and responsive governance.
Moreover, it suggests addressing supply-side constraints to constructing homes at an inexpensive price and inspiring a vibrant rental housing market that permits for labour mobility.
The research additionally requires investing in transport options that recognise the necessity to combine peri-urban areas with city cores, and bolstering well being capability in cities by rising the variety of skilled healthcare personnel.
It additionally really helpful guaranteeing that infrastructure has the sufficient purposeful capability, aligned with present and future calls for, and prioritising inclusivity by addressing the biases and impediments confronted by girls and susceptible populations in accessing city alternatives.
One other suggestion requires prioritising motion on environmental sustainability, air air pollution and catastrophe administration in city rebuilding efforts.
“Well-designed and governed cities can be dynamic centres that spur innovation, drive economic productivity and provide citizens with a good quality of life. The pandemic is an opportunity to address historical urban challenges and bring about positive long-term change,” mentioned Viraj Mehta, Head of India and South Asia and Member of the Govt Committee, World Financial Discussion board.
“Amidst every pandemic, from the bubonic plague to the Spanish flu, pundits have foretold the death of cities. And yet they have emerged stronger every time. The pandemic can be a turning point in India’s urban journey if we draw the right lessons and translate them into lasting change,” mentioned Reuben Abraham, CEO and Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute.
The research is a part of the WEF’s broader collaboration with the IDFC Institute for a working group on ‘Rebuilding Cities’ which has emerged from the Regional Motion Group for South Asia.
This group brings collectively private and non-private sector leaders and distinguished specialists from the area to work together recurrently to be able to help an sufficient public-private response to the COVID-19 pandemic and collectively chart restoration efforts.
The working group on Rebuilding Cities is partnering with a number of Indian state governments to represent state-level working committees comprising native and municipal authorities representatives, city specialists, and different related stakeholders to plot implementable and context-specific city reform suggestions.