Revamping Urban Planning: A Key to Attracting Investments, Says Housing Minister Hardeep Puri

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    Housing Minister Hardeep Singh Puri emphasized the significant role of urban planning reforms in making Indian cities appealing destinations for investments. He made these remarks at the National Urban Planning Conclave held in New Delhi on July 13.

    Puri underscored that the Ministry has allocated Rs 15,000 crore to implement various reforms, thereby incentivizing and prioritizing key areas such as modernization of building bye-laws, transit-oriented development, adoption of Transferable Development Rights, and integration of blue and green infrastructure through nature-based solutions. He also highlighted the importance of affordable housing through in-situ rehabilitation and increased capacity building and recruitment.

    The minister stressed the need for a comprehensive policy ecosystem that ensures last-mile access to services, improved operational efficiencies, area-based planning, digital technology infusion, ease of doing business, and outcome-based performance frameworks.

    The two-day conclave featured 24 presentations from speakers including chief town planners from state town and country planning departments and urban development authorities. Leading academicians in the field of urban planning moderated technical sessions on diverse themes like Transit oriented Development, Transferable Development Rights, Local Area Plans and Town Planning Scheme, Affordable Housing, Environmentally Sustainable Development (sponge cities), NCR Plan, 2041 and Master Plan of Delhi-2041.

    During the inaugural ceremony, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Kaushal Kishore expressed confidence in the readiness of various cities to implement the reforms on crucial parameters through knowledge and experience sharing. Manoj Joshi, secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, emphasized the need to focus on Transit Oriented Development and Transfer of Development Rights based concepts, transportation and road network, and other essential frameworks for effective township planning.

    Puri further stated that citizens should be at the core of urban planning and plans should transcend traditional boundaries to include regional plans. He advocated for the financial self-reliance of cities, fostering a culture of innovation, harnessing the power of data and technology, focusing on impacts and not inputs, and strengthening local governance. He also suggested considering hybrid governance models that combine strengths of local governments, parastatal agencies, SPVs, etc., to close capacity gaps while also infusing new-age skills, processes, and organizational structures.

    Puri emphasized that cities should strive for self-reliance rather than depending on Central funding. He cited the example of around Rs 4,000 crore raised by some cities from municipal bonds so far.

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