The unprecedented growth of metropolitan cities in the country has become a source of serious concern to Government, on the one hand, and metro-city corporators, planners, demographers and social scientists, on the other. The Census 2001 reveals that the number of million-plus cities has almost tripled over the last three decades, jumping from a mere 12 in 1981 to 23 in 1991 and 35 in 2001. Interestingly, the aggregate population of these metro cities accounts for more than a third (37.81%) of the country’s total urban population, which is spread over more than 5,000 towns. It, therefore, goes without saying that these 35 metro (or million-plus) cities should be the focus of a sustained, country-wide effort to regulate and contain runaway urban growth by channelizing the flow and direction of economic growth (on which the urban phenomenon feeds) along more balanced and spatially-oriented paths. This is essentially what the National Capital Region (NCR) Planning Board is attempting to do with respect to the National Capital City.
The vast hinterland of the NCR, which lies mostly outside the Delhi Metropolitan Area (DMA) [now Central National Capital Region (CNCR)], continues to experience a very slow rate of economic development even while the core Sub-region of NCT-Delhi is witnessing a phenomenal surge of physical and economic growth. A recent survey of the four mega-cities (Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and NCT Delhi) and four other metropolitan cities (Pune, Banglore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad) has revealed that Delhi tops in job generation. Delhi accounts for one fourth of the total jobs created in these eight largest cities of India. Not surprisingly, this has led to the runaway growth of the national Capital on the one hand and rapidly deteriorating physical environment on the other. The economic potential of Delhi has hardly flown down to the other regional urban centres specially those located beyond the DMA (now CNCR). These towns continue to remain comparatively undeveloped with poor living environment.
Under-development of the areas outside Delhi, or to be more specific outside CNCR, is primarily a problem of relationship rather than a problem of scarcity. To give an example, the total travel time from Delhi to the farthest point in the region is so short that no big centres of transportation and trading activity have developed in the outer area of the NCR. Thus, the entire region outside CNCR is still registering a relatively slow growth rate leading to a lopsided development of the region characterised by the`Metropolis-Satellite’ syndrome, where part of the economic surplus of the periphery is extracted by the core without any plough back and whatever development takes place in the periphery mostly reflects the expansion needs of the core.
Constituent areas of Regional Plan
The National Capital Region covers an area of 30,242 sq kms. The region includes the Union Territory of Delhi and parts of the States of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The Administrative units are as follows:
- Union Territory of Delhi.
- Haryana Sub-region comprising Faridabad, Gurgaon, Rohtak and Sonepat districts; Rewari tehsil of Mahendragarh district and Panipat tehsil of Karnal district.
- Rajasthan Sub-region comprising six tehsils of Alwar district, namely, Alwar, Ramgarh, Behror,Mandawar, Kishangarh and Tijara
- Uttar Pradesh Sub-region comprising three districts namely, Meerut, Ghaziabad and Bulandshahr.
The Board in its 26th meeting held on 16.01.2004 approved the inclusion of additional areas comprising the remaining tehsils of Alwar district to NCR to the extent that its boundary coincided with the district boundary of Alwar in Rajasthan Sub-region, which was notified on 23.08.2004. Thus, the total area of NCR increased to 33,578 sq kms and the area of Rajasthan Sub-region increased from 4,493 sq kms to 7,829 sq kms.
The Regional Plan-2001, approved by the Board in November 1988, visualised the important goal of “a balanced and harmoniously developed region, leading to dispersal of economic activities and immigrants to Delhi, thereby leading to a manageable Delhi”. The Plan proposed “a policy of strict control on creation of employment opportunities within the Union Territory of Delhi, moderate control in the Delhi Metropolitan Area and, encouragement with incentives, in the areas outside Delhi Metropolitan Area within the NCR”.
Regional Plan-2001 provides a unique model for sustainable urban development within a predominantly rural setting and seeks to achieve its objectives through an inter-related policy framework relating to population (re-distribution), settlement systems, regional land use patterns, environmental factors, economic activities and infrastructural facilities.
Under the provisions of Section 17(1) of the Act, 1985 each participating State is required to prepare a Sub-regional Plan for the Sub-region within the State. Section 19 of the Act, 1985 provides the directions for the submission of Sub-regional Plan to the Board for the approval and Section 20 provides for the implementation of Sub-regional Plans by each participating States.
Regional Plan-2001 was prepared by the Board and notified in January 1989. The constituent States were expected to submit their respective Sub-Regional Plans for approval of the Board.
Sub-regional Plans of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan Sub-regions were prepared by the respective State Governments and were approved by the Board in June 1992 and April 1994 respectively.
Preparation of Regional Plan-2021
In pursuance of the decision of the 25th meeting of the Board held on 12.07.2000, a High Level Group was constituted vide O.M. No. K-14011/2001-DDIB dated 18.01.2001 under the chairmanship of the Union Minister for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation for the preparation of the Regional Plan with the perspective year 2021. Subsequently, eight Study Groups were constituted by the High Level Group with experts, non-officials and senior officers from various government agencies as members
The Study Groups were related to following aspects:
- NCR Policy zones, demographic profile and settlement pattern
- Regional land use and rural development
- Physical infrastructure including transport and communications
- Utility and service infrastructure including power, water, sewerage, solid waste, drainage, irrigation etc.
- Social infrastructure including education, health, shelter, recreation, law and order etc.
- Environment including tourism, heritage, pollution, disaster management etc.
- Institutional Framework.
- Economic and Fiscal Policy group including resource mobilization, funding etc.
These Study Groups submitted their reports, which were discussed and deliberated in a two-day seminar held in January 2002 in which members of the Planning Committee, High Level Group, representatives of the development authorities in the region, NGOs etc. attended. The Chairmen of the Study Groups presented their reports.
- NCT-Delhi (1,483 sq kms) to have restricted growth and decentralization of activities concentrated therein to the entire NCR. The Plan accordingly assigned a population of 112 lakhs including two lakhs rural population to this zone as against the estimated population of 132 lakh by 2001, thereby deflecting 20 lakhs people to the Rest of NCR. Against this assignment, Delhi has actually grown to 138 lakhs as per Census 2001 thereby overshooting the estimated population.
- The DMA excluding NCT-Delhi (1,696.85 sq kms) comprising the controlled/development areas of the contiguous towns of Ghaziabad-Loni and NOIDA in Uttar Pradesh, Faridabad-Ballabhgarh complex, Gurgaon, Bahadurgarh, Kundli and the extension of Delhi ridge in Haryana. This zone was proposed to have a population of 38 lakhs (including one lakh rural population) by 2001. However, the Census 2001 has shown that the DMA towns have attained a population of only 28 lakhs, though two of its towns i.e., Faridabad and Ghaziabad-Loni have come up very close to their assigned population, the rest are still far behind, especially Kundli which is still to take off.
- The Rest of NCR comprising an area of 27,063 sq kms for induced development especially of the priority towns/complexes namely Meerut, Hapur, Bulandshahr-Khurja complex, Palwal, Panipat, Rohtak, Dharuhera-Rewari-Bhiwadi complex and Alwar. The Regional Plan-2001 had proposed that out of the additional 20 lakhs population slated to be deflected from Delhi, 19 lakhs would be accommodated in the Priority towns/complexes and one lakh in the rural areas of NCR. Accordingly, a total population of 49 lakhs was assigned to the Priority towns by 2001, against which these towns attained a population of about 28 lakhs as per the Census 2001. They recorded slowest growth rate showing no inducement.
The objective is to create a balanced and harmoniously developed region, leading to dispersal of economic activities and immigrants to the region, thereby leading to a manageable region. This is sought to be achieved by:
- Providing suitable economic base for future growth by identification and development of regional settlements capable of absorbing the economic development impulse of NCT-Delhi.
- To provide efficient and economic rail and road based transportation networks (including mass transport systems) well integrated with the land use patterns, to support balanced regional development in such identified settlements.
- To minimize the adverse environmental impact that may occur in the process of development of the National Capital Region.
- To develop selected urban settlements with urban infrastructural facilities such as transport, power, communication, drinking water, sewerage, drainage etc. comparable with NCT-Delhi.
- To provide a rational land use pattern in order to protect and preserve good agricultural land and utilize unproductive land for urban uses.
- To promote sustainable development in the region to improve quality of life.
To improve the efficiency of existing methods of resource mobilisation and adopt innovative methods of resource mobilization and facilitate, attract and guide private investment in desired direction.
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