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Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India



  • GS 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.



  • NITI Aayog has recently launched a report on Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India toramp up urban planning capacity in India.


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Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity: Why needed?

  • India is home to 11% of the total global urban population. By 2027, India will surpass China as the most populous country in the world.
  • Unplanned urbanization, however, exerts great strain on our cities.
  • In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the dire need for the planning and management of our cities.
  • Urban planning is the foundation for an integrated development of cities, citizens, and the environment.
  • Unfortunately, it has not received due attention so far. The existing urban planning and governance framework is complex, which often leads to ambiguity and lack of accountability.


Indian Polity


Key recommendations

  • Programmatic Intervention for Planning of Healthy Cities
    • Every city must aspire to become a ‘Healthy City for All’ by 2030.
    • The report recommends a Central Sector Scheme ‘500 Healthy Cities Programme’, for a period of 5 years, wherein priority cities and towns would be selected jointly by the states and local bodies.
  • Programmatic Intervention for Optimum Utilization of Urban Land
    • All the cities and towns under the proposed ‘Healthy Cities Programme’ should strengthen development control regulations based on scientific evidence to maximize the efficiency of urban land.
    • The report recommends a sub-scheme ‘Preparation/Revision of Development Control Regulations’ for this purpose.
  • Ramping Up of Human Resources

To combat the shortage of urban planners in the public sector, the report recommends that the                            states/UTs may need to

    • Expedite the filling up of vacant positions of town planners, and
    • Additionally, sanction 8268 town planners’ posts as lateral entry positions for a minimum period of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years to meet the gaps.
  • Ensuring Qualified Professionals for Undertaking Urban Planning
    • State town and country planning departments face an acute shortage of town planners.
    • States may need to undertake requisite amendments in their recruitment rules to ensure the entry of qualified candidates into town-planning positions.
  • Re-engineering of Urban Governance
    • There is a need to bring in more institutional clarity and also multi-disciplinary expertise to solve urban challenges.
    • The report recommends the constitution of a high-powered committee to re-engineer the present urban-planning governance structure.
  • Revision of Town and Country Planning Acts
    • Most States have enacted the Town and Country Planning Acts, that enable them to prepare and notify master plans for implementation. However, many need to be reviewed and upgraded.
    • Therefore, the formation of an apex committee at the state level is recommended to undertake a regular review of planning legislations.
  • Demystifying Planning and Involving Citizens
    • While it is important to maintain the master plans’ technical rigour, it is equally important to demystify them for enabling citizens’ participation at relevant stages.
    • Therefore, the committee strongly recommends a ‘Citizen Outreach Campaign’ for demystifying urban planning.
  • Steps for Enhancing the Role of Private Sector
    • The report recommends that concerted measures must be taken at multiple levels to strengthen the role of the private sector to improve the overall planning capacity in the country.
  • Steps for Strengthening Urban Planning Education System
    • The Central universities and technical institutions in all the other States/UTs are encouraged to offer postgraduate degree programmes (MTech Planning) to cater to the requirement of planners in the country in a phased manner.
  • Measures for Strengthening Human Resource and Match Demand–Supply
    • The report recommends the constitution of a ‘National Council of Town and Country Planners’ as a statutory body of the Government of India.
    • Also, a ‘National Digital Platform of Town and Country Planners’ is suggested to be created within the National Urban Innovation Stack of MoHUA (Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs).
    • This portal will enable self-registration of all planners and evolve as a marketplace for potential employers and urban planners.

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