The future is going to be predominantly urban and globally integrated, and we need to transform cities by turning the pandemic crisis to good account, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday at the third Annual Bloomberg New Economy Forum. He said India was poised to make its cities liveable, resilient, and prosperous.
It is important to ease pressure on urban systems by designing post-pandemic protocols of urban living, and making cities work for people than the other way round, Modi said.
He urged global investors to invest in India’s urbanisation, and committed a business-friendly climate to them. In that, he stressed the need not to lose the good habits “we acquired” during the pandemic, empower people, and maintain a better work-life balance. “In today’s age, empowering people to work from anywhere, to live anywhere, and to plug into global supply chains from anywhere is an absolute necessity,” Modi said.
Covid-19 has demonstrated that cities, which are growth engines, are also the most vulnerable from the point of view of public health, he said. This has prompted us to reset our mindset, and restart cities for the future, he added.
“Reconstruction efforts after the two World Wars can give us several lessons on making this possible.” Most importantly, he stressed the point that while global cities were going through the worst crisis since the Great Depression (of the 1930s), Indian cities meticulously followed preventive measures.
He underlined a few tools that would help achieve city-led growth, namely affordable housing for all, sustainable mobility and transportation, and technology as an enabler. “We are looking at a future where a major chunk of education, health care, shopping, and food experiences may happen online. Our cities need to be ready for the convergence of the physical and digital worlds,” Modi said.