Urbanisation: threat to Indian economy?

April 27, 2010

India’s current approach to urban development is insufficient for the task and needs an immediate revamp, according to global consultancy McKinsey & Co. INDIA

In its report “India’s Urban Awakening – Building cities, sustaining economic growth”, McKinsey states that a good city should be able to offer fine public infrastructure, reliable social services, recreational and community infrastructure and sustainable environment. 

As Delhiites complain of increasing road traffic, pollution and population many experts suggest that the development of the capital for the Commonwealth Games will lead to an increase in urban migration. Do you think Delhi is ready for this? 

With a ‘stark warning’, McKinsey suggests that if India continues with its current unplanned urbanisation, it will result in a significant deterioration in the quality of life in cities and will put even today’s economic growth rate at risk.

Statistics show the current performance of Indian cities in water supply quantity, sewage treatment, healthcare and public transport is quite poor. 

Do you think India will be able to handle the  surge in demand that the growing urbanisation will create?

 Many believe that good governance and proper planning can steer the process of urbanisation and generate more income and create space for a better life.

McKinsey & Co director Shirish Sankhe says that India needs a “cascaded planning structure” with long and medium-term plans at the metropolitan level, eventually extending to areas like transportation, education, healthcare and environment over the years.

 Do you see India successfully handling the issues of growing urbanisation, the economic situation it threatens to create and the international pressure on environment and climate change?


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What India needs is an overhaul of development/design standards for cities and urban planning/management policies.
No city in India today has total control on the agencies providing services within it’s sphere. Security is handle by state govt, health by state govt, Development authorities are their own govt. There is no effective management mechanism in indian cities today. The municipal corporators have very little authority in terms legislative power. What cities need is a post of City manager that is appointed by the Mayor or municpal legislature and the office of the manager should have full control within the cities boundary.

Posted by injunplanna | Report as abusive

i completely agree when the report says that the present urbanization activities are unplanned as all those who have spent some time in the capital and the areas around it know that the quality of public life has deteriorating, due to lack of public infrastructure and social services.
the only thing sustaining development for now are private initiatives which in fact are still de-motivated by the system.
i am afraid that if these practices continue there is soon going to be a situation in which their may be domestic unrest in the cities due to bad condition of the infrastructure

Posted by rg934 | Report as abusive

Economists believe that “agglomeration” (urbanization) increases per capita consumption by densifying economic output, thus boosting the economy. Exactly the opposite is true. Economists fail to consider that the need to conserve space drives down per capita consumption, as people are forced into smaller quarters, are forced to forego auto ownership in favor of mass transit, are denied opportunities for recreation, and so on. If Delhiites are already complaining about the effects of urbanization, do economists seriously believe that doing more of the same will yield different results?

Posted by Pete_Murphy | Report as abusive