The rapid urbanization in conjunction with industrialization has resulted in the growth of slums. Misplaced policies and bad administration have been a major contributing factor. Most of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are ill-equipped to raise adequate revenue, which in turn results in a shortage of funds to undertake infrastructure development and service delivery. Furthermore, the Centre, State and ULBs work in silos and quite often at cross purposes. That 63 per cent of India’s GDP comes from its urban centers suggests that urban areas are our engines of economic growth. The urban spaces of India have to be prepared for their new role of hosting rapid growth and providing services for an inclusive society. Our urban spaces need much more by way of basic infrastructure and systems so that a suitable socio-economic environment can be created for innovation and investment for effective delivery of public services, including housing, is assured for all and at affordable rates, especially for the urban poor.
To encourage public discourse on this issue Pahle India Foundation and Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), South Africa jointly held a Workshop entitled ‘Urbanization and Expansion of Opportunities for Poor’ on 22nd March 2016. The closed door discussion was presided by Dr Rajiv Kumar, Founding Director at Pahle India Foundation; Ann Bernstein, Executive Director, Centre for Development Enterprise, South Africa and Shri B. K. Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing Poverty and Alleviation.