Context: The Prime Minister invited the investors to invest in the Indian urbanization at the 3rd Annual Bloomberg New Economy Forum.

Takeaways from PM’s speech

  • Urban life hit: The pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of cities that served as the world’s growth engines till now
    • Many cities around the world declared themselves on the brink of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. 
    • Things like community gatherings, sports activities, education and recreation are not the same as before. 
  • Need for restart: We must rejuvenate cities that were now home to half the world’s population. 
    • Urban development should focus on ensuring better housing facilities and work environments as well as shorter and efficient travel options for citizens.
  • New protocols: There is a need for post-COVID-19 change in protocols, similar in scale to the post-war rebuilding efforts, to develop more sustainable and resilient cities. 
    • COVID-19 had provided a similar opportunity to develop new approaches in every field.
  • Rejuvenation of the urban centres: A good starting point would be the rejuvenation of our urban centers.

    • The Prime Minister emphasized the centrality of the people in the recovery process.

    • The post-Covid world has to be built by nurturing this key and fundamental resource.

  • Sustainability: During the lockdown, many cities saw cleaner lakes and rivers as well as cleaner air. 
    • It has been our endeavour in India to build urban centres which have the amenities of a city but the spirit of village.
  • Tech versus travel: India is simplifying norms for technology and knowledge-based tech businesses that would allow people to work from home or anywhere. 

    • In today’s age, empowering people to work from anywhere, to live anywhere, to plug into global supply chains from anywhere is an absolute necessity.
    • The choices will also help us maintain a better work-life balance.
  • He mentioned recent initiatives for revitalizing the Indian urban landscape such as Digital India, Startup India, affordable housing, Real Estate (Regulation) Act and Metro Rail in  27 cities.

  • Smart cities: India has selected 100 Smart Cities through a two-stage process.   

    • It was a nationwide competition upholding  the philosophy of  cooperative and   competitive federalism. 

    • These cities have prepared projects worth almost  two lakh crore rupees or 30 billion dollars. 

India offers investors in urbanisation, mobility, innovation and sustainable solutions. These opportunities come along with a vibrant democracy, a business-friendly climate, a huge market.

Image source: UNEP