According to Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri, India’s fast-rising rising urban population will reach 600 million by 2030 and the country has to build between 700 million and 900 million square metres of green urban space every year to meet the needs of rising population. Explaining the magnitude of the task for India, he said on that it was the equivalent of building every year a Chicago, the third largest city in the US.
By 2030, 40 per cent of the Indian population would be living in urban areas, up from 30 per cent now and 17 per cent at Independence, the Minister said. About 70 percent of the urban infrastructure needed for this size of the urban population has yet to be built and they should be green and resilient, he added. To meet the challenge of providing housing for all, he said India had embarked on “the world’s largest housing programme for the poor” – the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. He added: “The government aims to build 11 million affordable homes for urban Indians by the year 2022. We have already sanctioned over 5 million and are confident of meeting the targets by middle of 2019.”
Puri is also the president of the governing council of UN Habitat, the world body’s programme for developing sustainable urban settlements and housing for all.
According to UN Habitat, six out of ten people around the globe will be living in an urban area by 2030, when the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set at a 2015 summit are to be realised. More than 700 cities will have populations of over 1 million by 2030, according to UN Habitat. Emphasising the importance of urbanisation, UN Habitat says: “No country ever reached middle income status without being urbanized and cities generate around 70 per cent of global gross domestic product.”