Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said that an 'Atmanirbhar India' will only be possible if cities become "productive", according to an official statement.
Puri said that by 2030, almost 70 per cent of the national GDP will come from cities as rapid urbanisation facilitates efficiencies of agglomerations.
"The best-performing cities globally contribute five times more to national GDP than comparable Indian cities. We need to generate a similar density of economic activity from our cities to answer the calls of our honourable Prime Minister in becoming a five-trillion-dollar economy," the statement quoted Puri as saying.
Addressing the inaugural session of 'Connect Karo 2021 - Towards Equitable, Sustainable Indian Cities' event here, the minister also said there can be no doubt that India's cities will be key to achieving the nation's development objectives.
The five-day event is being organised by the World Resources Institute (WRI) through video conferencing.
Puri, who is also the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, said even as cities become the engines of the country's economy, it is equally important to address the infrastructure deficits that will arise from rapid urbanisation and complex migrant flows, the statement said.
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"By 2030, the urban population in India will almost double to 630 million. If we are to facilitate this level of growth, we will need to upgrade our urban infrastructure considerably and horrific impact of COVID-19 on our cities has made this even more significant," he said.
There is an eight-fold increase the total expenditure on urban development as over the past six years (2015-2021), this figure is about Rs 11.83 lakh crore against the Rs 1.57 lakh crores from 2004 to 2014, he was quoted as saying.
"We have not only successfully operationalised ambitious schemes, but also mainstreamed aspects such as climate change and heritage conservation," he said.
Speaking on the adverse impact of growth of urbanisation, the minister said realising the potential of cities is not just an economic imperative, but also an environmental reality.
"Our cities will be the battlegrounds for the fight against climate change. As the recent IPCC report suggests, cities are the major contributors as well as worst affected from climate change and this has led to the Indian government successfully executing the most comprehensive and planned urbanisation programme anywhere in the world," Puri added.
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