Connecting India’s National Capital Region
Population growth in India has led to cities that are buckling under the weight of demand for services. To avoid the overpopulation, many families are moving outside of the cities, but from there, another problem arises: how do they then move around? Shri. Vinay Kumar Singh, Managing Director of NCRTC, explains how this rapid urbanisation has forced India to rejuvenate its public transport offering to ensure that these people are just as provided for as those within the cities’ central business districts.
Urbanisation is a global phenomenon and India is no exception to this population shift, primarily due to the evident disparity in rural-urban opportunities. The growing aspirations of the country’s citizens force around 25-30 people to migrate1 every minute from rural areas to cities in search of better opportunities. The national census in 2011 counted 139 million people as domestic migrants in the country between 2001 and 2011. The future is no less challenging for India, with the national economic survey of 2017-18 predicting that about 40 per cent of India’s population will be living in cities by 20302. This is further acknowledged by the United Nations in its World Cities report, which has estimated that urbanisation levels in India are expected to gradually increase from the current 32 per cent to 50 per cent in 20503.
This influx of domestic migrants is predominantly to Indian megacities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, primarily because they are the sectoral hubs driving the economy’s meteoric growth. This trend of domestic migration, particularly in New Delhi, has led to uncontrolled urban sprawl, posing serious challenges for infrastructure, environment and citizens’ quality of life, constraining economic growth.
Planned growth of existing economic hubs and the development of new economic epicentres will be critical to sustainable polycentric urban development for realising the prime minister’s vision to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2025.