Around 50% of India would be urban by 2030, says Hardeep Singh Puri

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New Delhi: With globalisation and urbanisation becoming integral to the prevailing world order, it is reasonable to assume that around half of the country would inevitably reside in urban areas by 2030, the date of implementation of the agenda for Sustainable Developmental Goals, said Hardeep Singh Puri, minister of state (Independent Charge), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

He was speaking at an interactive panel on Building Blocks for a New India, at the India Economic Summit being organised by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at New Delhi on 6th October 2017.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Urban Minister (Photo: PTI)

Puri said that the Swachh Bharat Mission recognises impending challenges of urbanisation and called for mindset change by all stakeholders to help meet the specific targets under the Mission. The bio-mechanisation of waste, mechanical cleaning of drains etc, are some of the initiatives being contemplated by the government under the Mission.

While dwelling on the urban rejuvenation effort of the government through affordable housing, the impact of which would become visible by 2018, he said that there was no other option but to decongest the city. He exhorted the state governments to constructively engage with the Centre to help cities function effectively.

He invited the private sector to partner with the government in the building of smart cities and leverage the huge economic opportunity which it entailed. He also supported the need for an independent regulator in sectors such as real estate to clean up the system.

Sumant Sinha, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ReNew Power, called for an automatic reset of power prices and separating carriage from content for freeing power pricing from government control. He also supported privatization of distribution companies for greater efficiency. The fixation of power tariffs, based on market demand, would lower production costs and make manufacturing competitive.

Bunty Bohra, Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs, India highlighted tapping the corporate bond market for long-term finance for infrastructure and need for removing the restriction on institutions so that corporates are clear about the risk-return profile.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII highlighted the challenges faced by the private sector while operating projects in the PPP mode. He dwelt on issues such as problems of land acquisition, structuring of PPPs, dispute resolution, and trust deficit, among others. He called for further streamlining of clearances and forward planning and hoped for the success of Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA) to reduce the demand and supply gap in infrastructure.

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