Working group on environmental sustainability of Indian cities for the formulation of the 12th Five Year Plan

While Indian cities have grown manifold in the past several decades, and there is expectation that the pace of urbanization would accelerate in the future, problems of water supply, sewage disposal, municipal wastes, power supply, open landscaped spaces, air pollution, and public transport, have assumed stark proportions in many urban areas. These are linked, in turn to several causal factors, some obvious or proximate, such as inadequate and improper land-use planning, and others which lie at a deeper level. The latter include primarily issues of governance – the absence of necessary empowerment and democratic accountability of municipal bodies, their inadequate capacities for undertaking policy formulation, planning, regulation, enforcement, essential policy reform, and implementation of programmes and infrastructure projects, besides insufficient financial and human resources, themselves linked on the one hand, to poor governance, compounded by political deadlocks. While a comprehensive approach to these issues is outside the scope of the present paper, present proposals on the following key themes on environmental sustainability of Indian cities: Land use, urban and regional planning; Water supply and sanitation; Solid waste management; Energy efficiency; and Air quality management.