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How India Can Channelise Most Growing Economy Tag For Its Sustainable Development?

Updated: Jan 21, 2019

India must focus on sustainable urbanisation, green industrialisation, and inclusion of the rural economy.

India has played an important role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, it is no surprise that the country’s national development goals are mirrored in the SDGs. As such, India has been effectively committed to achieving the SDGs even before they were fully crystallised.

The expression “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas,” which translates as “Collective Effort, Inclusive Growth” and has been popularised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, forms the cornerstone of India’s national development agenda. To fast track this agenda, the Government of India has just released a draft Three-Year Action Agenda covering years 2017-18 to 2019-20. In parallel, work is in advance stages on a 15-Year Vision, which will also include a 7-year Strategy. Reflecting the country’s long-standing federal tradition, these documents are being prepared with active participation of the States.

Twenty years later, its faster growth rates have ensured that China’s economy is now 370% larger. But the nature of growth also matters: how sustainable, how equitable, how inclusive. Can India become not just the world’s fastest growing economy, but also the fastest growing inspiration?

With its new-found pole position, India has an opportunity to grow differently: green industrialisation, sustainable urbanisation, and inclusion of the rural economy. First, researchers at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) find that industrial development and a smaller carbon footprint need not be contradictions. It would mean using lower carbon energy sources for heavy industries, such as more efficient allocation of premium resources like natural gas, renewables-derived hydrogen for steel and ammonia, or refuse-derived fuels for cement.

India's fast-growing cities

India's economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world. But is its growth including everyone? As jobs move out of villages and into cities, migration from rural to urban areas follows, on a massive scale. Cities are bursting at the seams. India’s carbon footprint is increasing. And in the world’s largest democracy, women and girls still struggle for gender equality. But just as China harnessed its rapid expansion and met its Millennium Development Goals, now all eyes are on India to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The route to sustainable and inclusive growth lies where one might least expect. Rural India is home to nearly 70% of the country’s population. It hosts tremendous untapped potential. But it is missing many links to the wider economy. The country just has to connect the dots.

 A global growth engine propelled by cities

According to World Bank estimates, India will continue to be the fastest growing major economy in the world, with 7.5% GDP growth predicted in the next two years. It is already one of the most sought-after foreign-investment destinations and is expected to become the third largest consumer economy by 2025. A young demographic base, growing income levels, expanding (globalised) middle-class and stable democracy has propelled India into the league of major global economic powers.

India’s unique pattern of urbanization is not a corollary, but a driving force of this growth story. Its cities contribute about two-thirds of its economic output and are the main recipients of FDI. Seventy per cent of future employment is expected to be generated in Indian cities, with emerging cities (population less than 1 million) driving consumption expenditure. With 70% of India’s built environment for 2030 yet to take shape, its impending urban transformation also represents significant opportunities for domestic and international investments.

However, this urban success story demands a closer look. Many of India’s metropolises and cities contend with unsustainable levels of stress on infrastructure, resources and public services. To achieve sustainable growth, these cities will have to become more liveable and safe with clean air; adequate infrastructure; reliable utilities; and opportunities for learning and employment.

Importance Of mobility

India’s transportation demand has grown by more than eightfold since 1980. We are navigating our way around resulting challenges such as economic loss from pollution, congestion and inefficient fuel use. In rural India, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has focused on building all-weather roads at a rate of 130km a day. At the national level, policies such as the National Urban Transport Policy & the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 seek to provide safe, affordable, quick and sustainable access; and achieve fuel security and leadership in electric mobility.Urban India will need about another 2.4 million homes to be built by 2020 – a massive opportunity for positive change. Our built infrastructure can mitigate environmental impact and transform the way we live, work and play.

 We must tap into lessons from ancient cities of India, while also drawing upon modern urban best practices that can be adapted in uniquely Indian ways. Understanding key emerging trends in India’s urbanization is imperative to forge a new global framework of sustainable development.India’s experiments with sustainability need to internalise that India cannot be governed top-down. It can only be governed bottom-up, through an enabling mechanism that has equity at its core.

#india #SustainableDevelopment #SDGs #UN #WEF #Economy #RuralDevelopment

#GreenEnergy #Mobility #Urbanization #China #FastestGrowingEconomy




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