Chief Secretary of AP delivers lecture at UoH
Dr. P. K. Mohanty, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh delivered a special lecture titled “Economic Growth and Urban Poverty: Challenges of Inclusive Urbanization” on 25th March 2014 at the University of Hyderabad (UoH). His lecture is part of the two-day National Seminar on “Economic Growth and Marginalised Groups: A Search for Inclusive Policy”.
Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, UoH chaired the session and stated that with rapid urbanization and increasing concentration of population in cities, India is no longer only a rural centric country. He also said that it is an honour for the University that Dr. P K Mohanty has accepted to be an adjunct faculty in the school of Economics at UoH.
Dr. Mohanty in his lecture stated that 11th and 12th plan documents focus on inclusive growth. It should be understood that growth percolation can’t be ensured without deliberate institutional efforts so as to empower the deprived sections of society.
Historically, cities have been engines of growth. In 1950-51, cities in India contributed 29% to the GDP that increased to 62.63% in 2007 and this share is expected to further increase to 75% in 2021. Level of urbanization in India stands at 52.1% compared to 29.4% of the world average in 2011. Urban population in India is 377 million in 2011 and is expected to be 850 million in 2051. According to the Lakdawala committee report, 25.7% of urban population fall under poverty line. Gini coefficient in rural area has been estimated to be 0.291 in 2009-10 compared to 0.340 in 1977-78 whereas in urban area, this has gone up from 0.340 in 1977-78 to 0.381 in 2009-10.
Further elaborating, he added that the poor people residing in Urban areas face three types of vulnerability- Residential, Social and Occupational. Almost 50% of urban poor household have houses with less than one room. Similarly, substantially large fraction of urban poor perform badly on health indicators. 80% of urban workers work in informal sector and 79% of them belong to poor and vulnerable categories; 74% of regular and casual workers have no job contract or any form of social security.
Dr. Mohanty said that many schemes such as JNNURM, Swarna Jayanti Shahri Rojgar Yojana, Rajiv Rina Yojana etc. have been placed to ensure inclusive growth in urban areas but, as on date the scenario is not so satisfactory. Citing the example of JNNURM, he told that many states were not able to mobilize matching grants on their part due to which this scheme could not succeed 100 %. There has also been policy level reforms such as earmarking 20% – 25% of developed land in layouts for economically weaker section and internal earmarking of 25% of municipal budget on urban poverty reduction.
Urban poor face issues such as unavailability of affordable housing, lack of credit, skill deficit, unemployment and lack of basic facilities, said Dr. Mohanty. We still have been following very old master planning model and that can’t respond appropriately to ensure “Right to City” in an inclusive manner. We need to follow the model of Brazil where the master plan considers all sections of citizenry including the deprived and underprivileged class at the planning stage itself, he added.
It’s important to restructure our institutional framework and rework upon the master planning to make sure that vulnerable section can observe cities as a place to live, a place to work and a place to sell (Livelihood). There must be focus on inclusionary zoning in master development plan, recognition of informal sector, effective implementation of schemes such as JNNURM, RAY etc. and facilitate skill development to check these issues. All this can happen only if there is comprehensive effort on reforming the municipal governance and finance systems, concluded Dr. Mohanty.
By Kumar Ashish, Research Scholar in the School of Economics, UoH