New Delhi: Government is planning to make community participation mandatory during planning and implementation of projects under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY).
In an interaction with reporters at the International Conference on inclusive urban planning here, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation minister Ajay Maken said that countries like Brazil had been quite successful at participatory planning.
He said that even in India, it was important that at every stage of planning and development of projects, the views of people should be incorporated and added that the guidelines for the RAY projects would make participatory planning mandatory.
"For the people for whom plans are being made should have their participation at the time of planning, implementation and also during maintenance stage. People for whom the plan is being made should have a say and a greater say. Wherever people have been involved, the plans have been successful but wherever they haven`t the plans have remained only on paper," Maken said.
"Our City Development Plans and Slum Free City Plans, these two plans are related to the subject of our schemes JNNURM and Rajiv Awas Yojana. In the two day workshop, all the national and international experts have suggested that the planning process should be inclusive and have community participation," he told reporters.
Maken said that if people themselves wanted to take a greater part in implementation of projects, it could be considered. He said that the monitoring of such projects could be done through Aadhar cards and biometric data.
Maken also referred to Brazil`s success in improving the conditions of its urban residents by saying that while the South American nation spent 3.69 per cent of its annual GDP on Urban Development, the figure was 0.9 percent in India.
Maken also said that digitisation of land records could help urban local bodies to collect taxes more efficiently. He said that while cities like Bangalore had achieved much progress, others had lagged behind. He said that making land records on-line could also prevent a lot of litigation also.
At the conference, the Delhi Declaration on Inclusive Urban Planning was also adopted. Under the Declaration policymakers and experts from various countries concluded that cities in the developing countries were largely unplanned.
They also concurred that while in percentage terms, the proportion of urban poor is decreasing, in absolute numbers the urban poor and the changing nature of urban poverty presents a significant global policy challenge in terms of the pace, pattern, nature of urbanisation, and urban poverty including the proliferation of slums.
The experts agreed that current development regulations often prescribe high standards and complex procedures of land and infrastructure development which have proven inadequate to meet the needs of the urban poor, while also distorting urban land markets resulting in increasing inequality in cities.
As per the declaration market driven responses in respect of urban lands do not automatically "self-regulate" so the notion that an increase in the demand for urban land for the poor will spur its supply has turned out to be flawed.
The experts, planners and policy makers held that for sustainable urban growth, the inclusion of the poor in the formal planning process is non- negotiable.
The participants affirmed commitment that urban planning, and its related processes must recognise the needs of the poor in terms of their spaces for livelihood, living and working as valid and crucial concerns.
Among other things they held that urban planning should include women, children, the disabled, the aged and other socially disadvantaged groups to ensure that they have equal access to opportunities, infrastructure and services that urban areas offer.