Urban Development Current Affairs - 2020

October 31: World Cities Day

The World Cities Day (WCD) is being celebrated by the United Nations to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization. It also intends to address the challenges of urbanization and to contribute to sustainable urban development around the world. It was established in 2013.

The general theme of WCD is Better City, Better Life. However, every year a different sub-theme is selected. The sub theme is in such a way to either promote the success of urbanization or address specific challenges from urbanization.

Theme: changing the world: Innovations and better life for future generations

Significance

The theme is selected to discuss how urbanization can be used to achieve sustainable development. It aims at implementing the New Urban Agenda.

New Urban Agenda

The New Urban Agenda was adopted in Quito, Ecuador at the UN Conference on Housing and sustainable Urban Development in 2016. The conference is also known as Habitat Conference. The Agenda set global standards for the way the cities are to be built, managed and inhabited. Also, it aims at implementing SDG 11 which deals with making human cities and towns inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The Habitat conferences happen once in every 20 years. The habitat I was organized in Vancouver in 1976, Habitat II in Istanbul in 1996 and Habitat III in Quito in 2016.

Need

Over half of the world population now live in cities. The number is to double by 2050. It possesses great challenges related to environment, housing, infrastructure, climate change, basic services, infrastructure, food security, jobs, education, safety and natural resources.

AMRUT Scheme : Only 20% of Projects completed

The data from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has revealed the following facts about the implementation status of AMRUT Yojana:

  • With only a year to the deadline, only 20 per cent of the total projects were completed utilising 3 per cent of the total funds approved.
  • States like Bihar and Assam were not able to complete even a single project.
  • Tamil Nadu topped the list by completing 378 projects. Tamil Nadu was the only State to have completed more than 300 projects.
  • West Bengal with the completion of 194 projects stands distant second.
  • Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have completed more than 50 projects.
  • Work is in progress for 3,222 projects at a cost of Rs 53,319 crore.

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) launched in 2015 aims to establish an infrastructure that could ensure adequate robust sewage networks and water supply for urban transformation. The AMRUT aimed to

  • Ensure that every household has access to tap with an assured supply of water and a sewerage connection.
  • Increase the amenity value of cities by developing greenery and well maintained open spaces (e.g. parks).
  • Reduce pollution by switching to public transport or constructing facilities for non-motorized transport (e.g. walking and cycling).

The Union Government funds 50 per cent of project cost for cities with a population of up to 10 lakhs each and one-third of project cost for cities with a population of above 10 lakhs each.

AMRUT aimed at providing better infrastructure to cities with a population of more than one lakh, cities on the banks of main rivers, state capitals, cities under HRIDAY scheme and so on. The mission period is up to March 2020.