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  • 22 November, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

Urban Infrastructure Financing in India

Urban Infrastructure Financing in India

  • The World Bank recently released a report titled "Financing India's Urban Infrastructure Needs: Constraints to Commercial Financing and Prospects for Policy Action."
  • The report emphasizes the critical importance of leveraging more private and commercial investments to close emerging financial gaps.

What are the Report's Highlights?

Required Investment:

  • If India is to effectively meet the needs of its rapidly growing urban population, it will need to invest USD 840 billion in urban infrastructure over the next 15 years.
  • People Living in Cities: By 2036, 600 million people in India will be living in cities, accounting for 40% of the population.
  • This is likely to put additional strain on India's already overburdened urban infrastructure and services, with increased demand for clean drinking water, dependable power supply, and efficient and safe road transportation, among other things.

Current Funding mechanism:

  • Currently, the Central and State governments fund more than 75% of city infrastructure, with Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) funding the remaining 15% with their own surplus revenues.
  • Only 5% of Indian cities' infrastructure needs are currently being funded through private sources.

Slow Implementation of the Centre's Iconic Urban Missions:

  • Due to constraints on implementation capacity at the city level, states and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have also been slow in implementing several of the Centre's flagship Urban Missions, such as the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
  • Over the last six fiscal years, ULBs in India have only completed about one-fifth of the total cost or outlay of approved projects under SCM and (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

Urban Infrastructure PPP Transactions:

  • PPP transactions for urban infrastructure in India have declined significantly in the last decade, both in terms of monetary value and transaction volume—124 PPP projects worth USD5.5 billion have been awarded in the urban sector since 2000.
  • However, PPP project awards have declined significantly following a "brief but significant spike" between 2007 and 2012, when the majority of these projects were awarded.
  • Only one-third of all PPP investments awarded since 2000 have occurred in the last decade, with 55 projects totaling USD17 billion.

What are the recommendations?

  • It is recommended that city agencies expand their capacity to deliver large-scale infrastructure projects.
  • Over the last three fiscal years, the ten largest ULBs were only able to spend two-thirds of their total capital budget.
  • The report suggests a series of structural reforms in the medium term, including those in taxation policy and the fiscal transfer system.
  • It may enable cities to access more private financing.
  • It suggested formula-based and unconditional transfers of funds to cities, as well as gradually increasing the mandates of city agencies.

What is Urbanisation?

  • The population shift from rural to urban areas, the corresponding decrease in the proportion of people living in rural areas, and the ways in which societies adapt to this change are all referred to as urbanization.

Urbanization Causes:

  • Natural Population Growth: This occurs when the number of births exceeds the number of deaths.
  • Rural-to-urban migration is influenced by both pull factors (that draw people to cities) and push factors (that drive people away from the rural areas).
  • The main draw factors are job opportunities, educational institutions, and the urban lifestyle.
  • The main push factors are poor living conditions, a lack of educational and economic opportunities, and inadequate health-care facilities.

Globalization and Urbanization:

  • Northern America (with 83% of its population living in urban areas as of 2022), Latin America and the Caribbean (81%), Europe (75%), and Oceania (67%), are the most urbanised regions.
  • Asia's urbanisation rate is currently around 52%.

Source: The Hindu

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