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India faces $110 bn funding gap for urban infra development: Report

At 410 million city dwellers India has the world's second largest urban population, with an urgent need to create a stable policy framework for private investment in urban infra

urban infra

GENEVA, Apr 13: India needs a "stable policy framework" to bring in private investments for developing urban infrastructure which faces a fund shortage of USD 110 billion, says a report released today. The World Economic Forum (WEF) report said India needs more than USD 640 billion investments between 2012 and 2031 to deliver basic infrastructure for the country's growing urban population. With 410 million city dwellers, India has the world's second largest urban population, it noted. Suggesting various measures to boost urban infrastructure development, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has said the government should look at having a "stable policy framework" to ensure inclusive urban growth. There is an estimated "USD 110 billion funding gap that could hinder India's ability to provide basic urban infrastructure and services to its rapidly growing urban population," the report said. According to WEF, there is a need to create a stable policy framework for private investment in urban infrastructure. "Once the right conditions for investors have been created, the Government of India needs to look at the various tools available such as public-private partnerships to enable investments in strategic infrastructure and urban development," it added. Other suggestions include integrating spatial planning at all governmental levels and creating institutions to stimulate capacity building and attract talent to grow businesses. "The primary goal of spatial planning is to integrate housing, strategic infrastructure and urban infrastructure, and improve national and local governance in the context of urban development," the report said. The report titled 'The Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative: Urban Development Recommendations for the Government of India' has been prepared by WEF in collaboration with consultancy firm Accenture. Alice Charles, Head of Urban Development at WEF said that in the coming decades, the pace of urbanisation in the developing world would continue to far exceed that of the developed world. "This will be exemplified by India, where the country's urban population is forecast to almost double to 814 million between 2014 and 2050," Charles noted. Indian government has sought to foster urban development by introducing legislation such as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, the report said. Besides, various other initiatives such as creation of five industrial corridors and launch of 'Make in India' and the 100 Smart Cities programmes, have been started, it added.