Recently, many people from rural areas are migrating to nearby cities for various reasons; mostly seeking a job. A recent report from Barclays says that about 25-30 people migrate to major Indian cities from rural areas every minute. It is speculated that about 843 million people may occupy India’s urban areas by 2050.
Rise expected in the country’s GDP
A report from Barclays in 2014 said that nearly two-thirds of the country’s GDP is generated from urban areas. On the other hand, it is estimated to rise to three-fourths by 2020. Achieving such results comes with a huge reform in the way these cities work right now. This is because the existing standard of living in these cities is not up to the mark.
Is it possible to achieve the desired GDP?
The report has considered both positive and negative possibilities of the current reforms. Consequently, if the growth trends stay put as of the current scenario, the GDP is expected to reach USD 6.5 trillion by 2030. In contrast, if there is a reverse effect of the current reforms, the GDP may reach about USD 4.3 trillion by 2030.
On the other hand, India has the capability to stand next to the US and China only to emerge as the third-largest economy. The position can be availed even if the reforms don’t fully work out as per plan. Right now, the world’s largest economies are in the following positions:
- United States
- United Kingdom
One approach to achieve this is the implementation of the government’s Smart Cities Mission. The former report of Barclays mentions that the mission plans to cover 100 cities by 2019. An approximate sum of $1.2 trillion is required to be invested in sectors such as energy, transportation, and public security over the next 20 years.
There are a number of aspects to take care of such as poverty, traffic congestion, overcrowding, lack of affordable housing, air pollution, and environmental degradation.
Key areas that require focus
The prediction of the report can be made a reality only if the following areas are focused upon and effective reforms are brought in place.
- Improve the standard of living for the underprivileged in cities: The government has been trying to improve the lifestyle of the underprivileged in rural areas. However, it is necessary to accept the fact that even the Indian metropolitan cities have people from the low-income class and they are underprivileged. The health and nutrition indicators of cities are as bad as the ones in rural areas. Due to the lack of adequate services, the unfortunate class of urban population has worse health and nutrition conditions. Therefore, they must be educated regarding health and nutrition; further, such nutrition must be made affordable to them.
- Public health delivery system: People who are marginalised or with a poor financial background are spaced out due to the lack of an effective public health delivery system. Insufficient public knowledge of these healthcare services limits their reach. Lack of economic resources and health insurance for underprivileged are some important aspects to be taken care of to achieve the target GDP.
- Measures to reduce air pollution: Initiatives have been taken to reduce air pollution in urban areas such as bike pooling, carpooling, and bicycle rental services. Such initiatives require much more encouragement in the form of subsidies from the government to sustain and improve. Development in infrastructure can be seen as another side of deforestation and land acquisition for constructing roads and buildings. However, overdoing this causes reverse effects. The government must figure out a way to balance it.
- Overcrowding: Instead of going overboard in developing only the major cities, it is necessary to add a spotlight to other cities in terms of job opportunities, infrastructure, healthcare facilities, and other amenities. This will resolve the current scenario of overcrowding of a few cities by providing equal opportunity everywhere.
When necessary measures are taken, the speculation in the Barclays report can be achieved and the life of people living in urban areas will rise for good.