Pitching for betterment of living condition in urban areas, the government today stressed the need for meeting the challenges posed by migration of people from rural hinterland to cities and providing better amenities.
"Migration is a worldwide phenomenon which is bound to take place. We have to prepare ourselves for that, to ensure that those who migrate to cities are given whatever they expect from cities," Minister of State for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Rao Inderjit Singh said here at the 'One Globe' conference.
He said a major chunk of the population is going to live in urban areas in the next few years.
"According to an estimate, 70 percent of our population will be living in cities by 2050 so we have to prepare for that," he said.
Taking note of the prevailing condition in cities, Singh said, "We have cities now which are not capable of tackling the influx of people that are coming in... We have to develop cities with better amenities like water and electricity." He said that majority of the people currently stay in rural areas.
"People are coming to cities for better life and opportunities. As a result, cities are overflowing. Migration creates pressure on city infrastructure. So we have to ensure that cities are livable with better amenities," he said.
Referring to the condition in slums, Singh said there is also a need for providing better amenities in these areas.
"There are about eight million children in slum areas which are breeding ground for violence. So there is a need for providing clean water, better sewerage system, health etc in these areas," he said.
Spelling out the government's initiatives to address the issues, he said, "We have two thrust areas. We have Smart City Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for improving infrastructure in cities." The government has launched Smart City Mission for 100 cities which are being selected through competition among cities. Five hundred cities have been selected for AMRUT for five years.
While Smart City aims to provide all modern amenities, Amrut scheme has the focus of the urban renewal projects to establish infrastructure that could ensure adequate robust sewerage networks and water supply for urban transformation.
He said, "Sixty cities have been selected through competition now to be developed as Smart City in the country." He said infrastructure projects will be executed through special purpose vehicle (SPV) in these proposed Smart Cities.
As of now, projects worth about Rs 1.35 lakh crore have been committed for these cities, he added.