While the collective budget of India’s towns and cities is only around Rs1.4 trillion, smaller towns do even worse in both finance and staff capacity, Hardeep Puri said. File photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
While the collective budget of India’s towns and cities is only around Rs1.4 trillion, smaller towns do even worse in both finance and staff capacity, Hardeep Puri said. File photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Urban development needs to move beyond ‘big city bias’, says Hardeep Puri

Urban affairs minister Hardeep Puri said the government has already included medium and small towns under flagship schemes like AMRUT and Smart Cities Mission

New Delhi:India has nearly 7,000 urban settlements that demand attention and the government is working hard to remove “big city bias," said housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep S. Puri.

Speaking at non-profit Janaagraha’s annual conclave on shaping India’s urban agenda, Puri said: “We have already ensured that medium and small towns are part of ongoing flagship schemes like AMRUT and Smart Cities Mission."

While the collective budget of India’s towns and cities is only around Rs1.4 trillion, smaller towns do even worse in both finance and staff capacity, he said.

“Cities will be the driver of new India. The country’s growth will depend on how well we plan, finance and govern our cities," he added.

The good initiatives underway in some cities must serve as a lighthouse to all 4,000-odd municipalities in order to make a difference, Puri said.

He also announced that by the end of March, all 500 AMRUT cities will move their building approval process online, a reform which began in Mumbai and Delhi as part of an effort to improve the country’s score in the World Bank’s ease of business rankings.

The results of Janaagraha’s annual survey of city-systems were formally released at the event. Pune was ranked the best of 23 major Indian cities in terms of quality of urban governance, while Bengaluru came last in the 2017 rankings.

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