Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and Petroleum, Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said that an 'Atmanirbhar' India will only be possible if our cities become productive.The Minister while addressing the inaugural session of 'Connect Karo 2021 - Towards Equitable, Sustainable Indian Cities' event, said that there can be no doubt that India's cities "enabled by citizen-centric infrastructure and transformational technology" will be the key to achieving the nation's development objectives.The five-day event is being organized by the World Resources Institute (WRI) through video conferencing.Puri said that by 2030, almost 70 per cent of the national GDP will come from our 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," he said.He said that even as cities become the engines of our country's economy, it is equally important to address the infrastructure deficits that will arise from rapid urbanisation and complex migrant flows."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 the horrific impact of Covid-19 on our cities has made this even more significant," he said.
The Minister pointed out that there is an eight-fold increase in 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 crore from 2004 to 2014. "We have not only successfully operationalised ambitious schemes, but also mainstreamed aspects such as climate change and heritage conservation," Puri said.On the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), the Minister said that it has seen unprecedented success as nearly 1.13 crore houses have been sanctioned and beneficiaries have already moved into more than 50 lakh housing units and we are on track to meet the target set for 2022.The Minister informed that the government will be launching the Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban), with an outlay of Rs 2.8 lakh crore to ensure universal water supply in all 4,378 urban local bodies in India and enable liquid waste management in 500 cities under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.The Minister said that the Government is also launching the Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0, with an outlay of Rs 1.41 lakh crore to focus on sludge management, waste water treatment, source segregation of garbage, and reduction in single-use plastics and control of air pollution by waste management in construction and demolition, and bio-remediation dump sites