India’s startups are bursting with innovative tech-led solutions to several problems faced by people living in the city. But for their commercialisation, success and scale, the stakeholders in the ecosystem need to come together.
Set to become the largest contributor to the world’s urban population, India is becoming a land of cities. Even as the population in cities is expected to double in the next 30 years, outpacing that of rural areas, 75 percent of the infrastructure required to serve urban India is yet to be built. And municipal finances and resource allocation continue to be seriously constrained presenting deep concerns about infrastructure and utility provisioning to meet water, housing, energy and transport requirements for the growing populous.
Sprawl-led development--urbanisation that is brought about by people migrating to peri-urban areas of overpopulated cities, that now host residential projects--has pushed people to the peripheries of cities, where, facilitated by rising income levels, services are being self-provisioned.
Self-provisioning carries the weight of direct costs to households and indirect costs to the community, society and the environment in the form of ecological degradation, resource depletion, human stress, ill-health from pollutants and lost hours of productivity – all of which are vital considerations to the economics of urban sustainability.