there were two reports on the comparative merits of various
Indian cities. One study commissioned by Outlook magazine
rated the livability of various cities based on factors
like education, health, prices, safety, transport etc. The
other study commissioned by Confederation of Indian Industry
(CII) looked at the best cities to do business in and compared
parameters like access to finance, communications, professional
education, road transport, hotel infrastructure etc. Incidentally
the Delhi based research outfit Indicus Analytics did both
Outlook report rated Chandigarh as the most livable out
of the 55 cities it surveyed, and all the six metros figure
in the top 10, excepting for Delhi. On the other hand, the
CII report rated Delhi as the best city to do business and
again all the six metros figure in the top 10 excepting
for Kolkata. Our own Hyderabad ranked 4th in terms of livability
and 9th in terms of business friendliness. The CII study
indicated that 20 out of 35 cities (of 1 million plus population)
have a overall negative rating in all the categories surveyed!
should normally view any statistical data with healthy skepticism,
as most of the time they can be interpreted to produce the
desired results. But a careful analysis of both the reports
reveal the underlying reality and show up the precarious
position of our cities.
what is happening in all the other cities, which lie outside
the top ten? Therein lies the real story of urban India.
2001 census data and long term demographic trends indicate
that by 2025 roughly 40 % of Indian population will be living
in urban centers. All of them cannot fit into the existing
major metropolises, which are already bursting at their
the reports indicate that the majority of Indian cities
have inadequate infrastructure in terms of education, health
care, public transport, housing and financial institutions
which are essential for the growth of any city.
we need to do everything to rescue the dying metropolises.
But we must also develop at least another 100 cities with
all the infrastructure to cater to the growing urban population.
You cannot have all the Industry located around Mumbai,
Delhi or Hyderabad. There is a physical limit to the resources
available in these cities and any additional growth in them
will only lead to chaos and an urban nightmare. Look at
Tamil Nadu. All district and small town are becoming busy
industrial centers. The emphasis should be on integrated
urban planning, true decentralization, quality school education,
primary health care, sanitation, public transport and related
infrastructure. These are the essential ingredients for
any city to survive and flourish.
as rural India formed the backbone for the growth of India
during the green revolution, urban India will be the engine
of growth in the current century through its industries
and services. It is high time that we wake up to this reality
and rescue the great Indian cities from further destruction
and plan for the future.