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The Significance of Urban Land Redevelopment in India

The Significance of Urban Land Redevelopment in India
 
-Mr Ved Prakash Dudeja,VC,RLDA
 
The urban land redevelopment refers to the reorganization of the urban land from low-density residential use to high-density commercial development. It is usually accompanied by up-gradation of the existing infrastructure to support up-zoning. The objective of urban redevelopment is to restore economic viability through commercial activities. The subsequent redevelopment leads to the creation of amenities to enhance customer experience, aids in employment generation and boosts the local economy.  It is also in line with the urban redevelopment plans for shaping the New India. 
 
In the past few years, the government has undertaken several initiatives such as Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) to rejuvenate the urban landscape in India. The redevelopment adds another dimension to urbanization in India. The Union Budget 2021-22 also prioritizes infrastructure as the bedrock for economic revival in the post-pandemic world with the allocation of INR 102 trillion over five years for the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for various infrastructure projects across sectors such as roads, railways, ports, airports, urban, power, telecom, etc. This is an opportune moment for India to undertake redevelopment as it strives to enhance its attractiveness as a global hub amid clarion calls for Aatmanirbhar Bharat. It is also a step forward towards achieving the dream of a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024. 
 
The first step in the process of urban land redevelopment is to identify suitable hotspots for redevelopment.  The next step is to identify the objective of redevelopment and shortlist appropriate entities to undertake the process. Over the past few years, the PPP model has emerged as a viable development option, as it combines the strengths of both entities. An appropriate benchmarking model must be devised to inspire further redevelopment. 
 
It is noteworthy that there are several challenges in the process. Redevelopment entails heavy investment. The Niti Aayog estimates that India requires investment worth INR 40-trillion until 2030 to revamp its infrastructure. The role of the private sector and the new-age funding instruments such as InvITs(infrastructure investment trust), TOT(toll-operate-transfer), securitization cannot be underestimated in meeting the financing gap. Sustainability is another aspect that deserves due consideration. Redevelopment should be based on an effective urban model that puts the needs of the disadvantaged majority at the forefront and hedges the urban environment responsive against ecological vulnerabilities.  It should abide by all environmental norms and incorporate green features such as the use of solar energy, rainwater harvesting, space utilization for optimum sunlight, terrace gardens and much more. The active participation of all stakeholders through extensive engagement is also the key. Furthermore, any redevelopment should entail a bottom-up approach with the involvement of the people at the grassroots. 
 
The redevelopment is indeed an important task of translating the urban development vision into reality. It results in better land use and augments the sources of revenue generation within existing cities and their peripheries. It also upgrades the region in tune with the requirements over time and enhances the region’s attractiveness in terms of industrial development and investment. Sustainable redevelopment in Tier 2 and 3 cities will bridge regional disparities, curb emigration and ease problems of congestion, pollution and urban sprawl. Some of its other benefits include a fillip to tourism and retail development and improvement in the quality of life of citizens. It is also in line with Sustainable Development Goals. Huge tracts of surplus land of Government Departments and PSUs like Railways, Ministry of Defence, BSNL, Air India etc., in all the major cities of the country offers a great opportunity to start a chain reaction of development of urban spaces required for the future needs of the country.
 
The burgeoning population and urbanization will put pressure on existing resources such as land, housing, water and electricity supply in cities. Redevelopment is a prudent way forward to address these issues and makes cities livable for the generations to come.

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