Millennium Post

Inclusive urban planning need of hour, notes Housing Minister Girija Vyas

Speaking on the event to celebrate the World Habitat Day, Dr Vyas said that Urban planning and design should concentrate on ways to bring people together and  simply increasing the length of urban transport infrastructure would not suffice.

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day with an objective to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter.

Remarking on the relevance of the theme of 'urban mobility' chosen for this year's World Habitat Day, Vyas said, 'The theme is very relevant for India because mobility and access to goods and services is essential for the efficient functioning of our expanding cities and towns. However, the cities need to transform from a car-driven community to an energy efficient one which can be approached by any mode of non-motorized transport.'

The minister also stated that  the housing shortage in urban areas is 18.78 million and 96 per cent of this shortage pertains to the economically weaker sections and lower income groups.

She also deliberated on the Rajiv Awas Yojna programme, which aims at creating a Slum Free India through a set of enabling policies and legislative framework for redeveloping existing slums.

Vyas also referred to the Credit Guarantee Fund, which would ensure flow of cheap credit to the urban poor to enable them easy access to housing.

She released the book State of Slums in India: A Statistical Compendium 2013, which provides key data on state of slums and related civic facilities, viz. population, health, education and housing amenities.
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