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Urban renaissance is the way forward: Venkaiah

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With BRICS economies identified as some of the fastest-growing countries and accounting for 53 per cent of the world’s population, urbanisation was an opportunity and key challenge for them, Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu said here on Wednesday.

Inaugurating the the third Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Urbanisation Summit here, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu observed: “India can learn from the affordable housing techniques of China, experience of management of special purpose vehicles of Brazil, construction of large cities of Russia while offering the experience of rebuilding old and cramped urban spaces,” The thrust of the government in the coming days would be on urban renaissance to make cities more and more liveable, he added.

Over 70 delegates from the four BRICS countries are participating in the three-day deliberations that would centre around separate urban finance system and creation of employment opportunities, inclusive housing and informal economies, climate change, resilient water and sanitation management, new towns and regional planning and urban renaissance.

Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said over the last two years urban agenda had been mainstreamed and the seeds of urban renaissance sown with paradigm shift in approach through a 10-point agenda with initiatives like Smart City Mission, AMRUT, Swachh Bharat Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) and citizen-participatory approach.

Asserting that “reforms are in full swing,” Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said cities would be assessed based on their reforms. Thirty-four countries were willing to invest in projects but cities have to prove their credit-worthiness.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in his key note address said 110 municipalities in Andhra Pradesh would be open defecation-free by October 2. While 11 municipalities would go in for waste-to-energy plants, in the rest, waste-to-compost plants would be set up totally solving the solid waste management problem.

Vice-Chairman of NITI Ayog Arvind Panagariya observed that being the least urbanised of the five countries urbanisation was crucial for India’s transformation. With Mr. Modi at the Centre and reform-oriented Chief Ministers in States India could take advantage of urbanisation to attain more than 8 per cent growth.