Skip to main content

Union Budget 2022-23: What is the store for rapidly expanding urban sector?


By Ismail Haque*
On February 1, 2022, honourable finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the union budget 2022, which focuses on key priority areas and gives a clear mandate to ensure exemplary economic growth and inclusive development over the next 25 years – from India at 75 to India at 100. With particular reference to the urban sector, numerous facets subsumed within the same were covered, namely – land and housing, transport, urban development and planning. In terms of budgetary allocations, a sum of INR 48000 crore has been earmarked for the housing sector to construct 80 lakh houses under the ongoing PMAY mission by 2023. The union government also seeks to provide urban planning support to states by establishing five centres of excellence in urban planning with INR 250 crore being provided to each. In addition, states have been allocated a fifty-year interest-free loan assistance of INR 1 lakh crore which will be used for reforms related to building bye-laws, town planning schemes, transit-oriented development, and transferable development rights. Several visionary policy interventions and reform measures have also been announced, some of which have been discussed below.

Key Policies and Programmes and their Strengths & Weaknesses

Announcements such as 48,000 crores for ongoing PMAY mission, 80 lakh new homes by 2023, single-window environmental approvals, better coordination between the Centre and states for approval processes and uniform registration of deeds will help boost the affordable housing market. It will also have a huge multiplier effect on local entrepreneurship, job creation and economic growth. However, PMAY vertical-wise budget allocation and housing intervention would be much more effectual to address the existing housing backlog, especially for the urban poor. In addition, this budget is silent on the recently introduced ARHC scheme for migrant workers and concerted efforts would be required at the policy level to revitalize the rental sector.
Efficient use of land resources is a strong imperative for sustainable urban development. While the digitization of land records initiative is not new, this budget emphasizes a technology-enabled land management system. In particular, it includes features such as the adoption of Unique Land Parcel Identification Number system at the state level to facilitate IT-based management of land records; transliteration of land records across any of the Schedule VIII languages; introduction of National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS), and the promotion of pan-India single registration software. All of these may be instrumental for greater transparency and accountability in the land transaction process and the smooth functioning of the urban land and housing market. If implemented well, this would give a real boost to the sector.
Innovative financing tools and faster implementation strategies are envisaged for building urban mass transport systems like metro rail. Multimodal connectivity between mass urban transport hubs and railway stations has also been prioritized. However, the introduction of new metro rail projects beyond the large metro areas may not be feasible if we go by the ridership. This is a pain-point of earlier ventures that may need a revisit.
Rapid pace of urbanization poses serious challenges for inclusive and sustainable urban development in India. Therefore, a planned and resilient urban development process is the need of the hour to realize India’s economic potential, including livelihood opportunities for the demographic dividend. This budget recognizes that given large metropolitan cities and their hinterlands are already serving as centres of economic growth, Tier-II and Tier-III cities need to develop as the ‘centres of sustainable living’ with opportunities for all. This is indeed a welcome move and requires a massive paradigm shift in India’s urban planning ecosystem.
As a reform measure, a high-level expert committee will also be formed to make recommendations on urban sector policies, capacity building, planning, implementation and governance. Aside from this, states will get adequate support for urban capacity building especially in the modernization of building bye-laws, effective implementation of Town Planning Schemes (TPS), and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) plans. This will facilitate states to achieve inclusive and sustainable development for all. However, there is no mention of the future of the ‘smart city’ project in this budget, which was introduced earlier to improve the planning and infrastructure of numerous cities.
It is foreseen that the budget’s announcement of India specific knowledge development in urban planning and design, and the establishment of five centres of excellence providing endowment funds of 250 crores each would have a major impact on the urban planning process and practices.

Missing points/Suggestions

The budget 2022 has paid considerable attention to the key aspects of urban sector, as highlighted above, for sustainable growth and development. While some of the proposed reforms seem to be good, their effective implementation on the ground remains a challenge.
This budget strives to boost the land and housing market through technological interventions, but no big announcement have been made for the real-estate developers as well as home-buyers (tax rebate etc.). In particular, private developers operating in the informal real estate market (both ownership and rental) should be recognized and incentivized to augment the supply for ensuring equitable access to the housing market. Concerted efforts are also required to build a strong supportive ecosystem and centre-state coordination for improving the implementation of the PMAY scheme. In addition, technology can definitely bring transparency, but given the long history of land-related conflicts, ameliorative steps in the form of facilities for local-level negotiations need to be provided.
Secondly, to develop Tier-II and Tier-III cities as centres of economic growth and sustainable living, a concrete plan of action is required. Incorporation of these small and medium-size urban centres under the ambit of ongoing JNNURM and Amrut schemes and diverting investment and development projects towards these cities for strengthening their infrastructure and economic bases may herald sustainable and balanced urban development. In particular, capacity building, adequate financial support to promote vibrant infrastructure development and governance should be the immediate priority.
Finally, inclusive urban development can’t be achieved without recognizing and addressing the issues of informal urban spaces. Effective policy interventions are thus required to improve their current conditions. Like NREGA scheme for rural areas, it would be worthwhile to include National Urban Employment Guarantee Act scheme for the urban poor.

Associate Fellow at ICRIER, New Delhi

Comments

TRENDING

Vishwanath has been unfairly excluded from global list of 100 best cricketers

By Harsh Thakor  Gundappa Vishwanath scaled zones in batting artistry or wizardry unparalleled amongst Indian batsmen. The best of his batting was a manifestation of the divine. He was also the epitome of cricketing sportsmanship. Sadly 40 years ago he unceremoniously bid farewell to the International cricket world, after the concluding test at Karachi in 1982-83., in January end. Very hard to visualise a character like Vishwanath being reborn today His memories are embedded in cricket lovers today when sportsmanship and grace have virtually been relegated to oblivion with the game of cricket turned into a commercial commodity. Today agro and unsporting behaviour is a routine feature Vishy shimmered cricket’s spirituality. His behaviour on the cricket field was grace personified, No one in his age defined cricket more as a gentleman’s game, than Vishy. Vishwanath could execute strokes that were surreal with his steel wrists. His strokeplay resembled the touches of a painter’s brush,

Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Here is a detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties , “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

Reproductive, conjugal rights of women in India amidst debate of uniform civil code

By IMPRI Team  A Three-Day Immersive Online Legal Awareness and Certificate Training Course on “Reproductive and Conjugal Rights of Women in India” is an initiative of the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, and ran for three consecutive days starting from December 22, 2022 to December 24, 2022. The online paid certification was aimed to provide attendees with an enriching experience on the gender discourse with a special focus on women’s rights and the much-discussed reproductive rights in India.

Covid jabs: Pretexts cited to justify young, healthy succumbing to heart attacks

By Jay Ihsan   Truth is stranger than fiction – when dedicated doctors raised the red flag against the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, they were persecuted and their concerns barred from being heard. These honest doctors unequivocally made it known the Moderna Pfizer vaccines injure the heart and human body. One of them, Dr Peter McCullough, an American cardiologist, has repeatedly issued the clarion call to people to reject these harmful vaccines. An equally alarmed World Council for Health said the harmful Covid-19 vaccines should be removed from the market and the global inoculation must be stopped. “In Japan the vaccines were not mandated or made compulsory. The vaccines are not safe or effective enough to mandate them. The day the vaccines go away will be a day of celebration,” Dr Mccullough had lamented during an interview with India’s media outfit, Qvive several months ago. Meanwhile, the number of people jabbed with the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines died soon after or have developed lifelong

Gender gap 17%, SC and ST levels of education between 7% to 14% below upper classes

By IMPRI Team  The treatment of school education in a holistic manner and improving school effectiveness in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and learning outcomes has been the aspiration of all and multiple challenges are faced to maintain and provide proper education. On the occasion of India@75: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, as part of its series- the State of Education- #EducationDialogue, #IMPRI Center for ICT for Development (CICTD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organised a special deliberation on The State of School Education In India with Prof Muchkund Dubey, who is the President of the Council for Social Development, New Delhi. The moderator for the event, Dr Simi Mehta CEO and Editorial Director of the IMPRI. The chair of the event was Prof Jandhyala B.G. Tilak, an Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) National Fellow, the Distinguished Professor at the Council for Social Development, New Delhi and also a Former Professor & Vice-Ch

Rahul Dravid exhibited selflessness in heights unscaled by any other Indian batsman

By Harsh Thakor*  On January 11th maestro Rahul Dravid turned 50. No Indian batsmen were ever more of an embodiment of temperament or grit.as Rahul Dravid. Dravid was the best ambassador of sportsmanship in cricket in his day and age. In his time no Asian batsmen did what the doctor ordered, to the extent of Dravid. Dravid was manifestation of single-mindedess, tenacity and selflessness in sport. One hardly has an adjective to the ice coolness and craft Dravid exhibited in adjusting to the given situation. Rarely did any batsmen exhibit such a clinical o methodical approach to batting.

NHRC blindly followed BSF status report on fencing farmland off Indo-Bangladesh border

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) writes an open letter of protest against the action taken status report on restriction imposed by the BSF personnel upon the villagers of Changmari near Indo-Bangladesh border: *** I have the honour to inform you that we received one action taken status report dated 11.01.2023 from your Commission in respect of the above referred case from where it is revealed that your authority closed the case based on the report of the concerned authorities. In this connection I again raise my voice as the enquiry in respect of the above referred case was not properly conducted. Hence I submit this open letter of protest for the ends of justice. From the action taken status report of the Commission dated 11.01.2023 it is reported that concerned authority submitted a report dated 18.01.2022 where it is reported that the concerned area comes under the OPS responsibility of BOP Chengmari, 62 Bn BSF and is highly susceptible to trans-bo

Data analytics: How scientific enquiry process impacts quality of policy research

By IMPRI Team  Given the multidimensionality of policy and impact research, tech-driven policy prescriptions are playing a dominant role in the 21st century. As such, data analytics have become integral in this space. IMPRI Generation Alpha Data Centre (GenAlphaDC) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute New Delhi has successfully conducted a #WebPolicyTalk 6-Week Immersive Online Hands-on Certificate Training Course on Data Analytics for Policy Research, spanning over 6-consecutive Saturdays from October 15th to November 19th, 2022. Along with this, datasets for hands-on learning were also provided for data analysis and learning. Participants were required to make a submission for evaluation at the end of the course, to obtain the certificate. This course comprised hands-on data learning sessions and various expert sessions on data discourses. The course especially catered to data and policy enthusiasts – including students, professionals, researchers, and other individuals lo

Brutal assault on Delhi Univ students as fear grips present rulers on rise of dissent

By Arhaan Baaghi  Various democratic student organizations (bsCEM, fraternity, DSU, SIO, AIRSO) had planned a screening of the BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question" in the Delhi University Arts Faculty, but the guards of the university and the Delhi police along with paramilitary forcefully detained the students just because we were trying to watch a documentary that scrutinizes the role of Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots. At first when the students started screening the documentary, the electricity of the department building was cut down. Students were brutally beaten by the police and university guards. Female students were also brutally manhandled and beaten. This whole incident shows the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist nature of the government and the university authority that is working as its puppet. An activist of bsCEM was manhandled by a male security guard, who tried to pull out his T shirt. Also various female activist were dragged by male security guards and their h

Great march of migrants during lockdown: Lessons not learned, missed opportunities

By IMPRI Team  A panel discussion on “The Great March of Migrants During The National Lockdown: Lessons Not Learned and Missed Opportunities” was organized by the #IMPRI Center for Human Centre for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the occasion of International Migrants Day, i.e December 18, 2022. Inaugurating the session, Ms Aanchal Kumari, a researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panellists. The event was moderated by Dr Devender Singh, a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists included Prof. R.B Bhagat, Professor and Head, Department of Migration and Urban Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai; Prof Arun Kumar, Distinguished Economist, a Former Professor Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Malcolm S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi; Ms Akriti Bhatia, Founder of People