At the brink of the 75th Year of Independence of India on 15 August 2022, the celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, our country stands at a cusp of rapid urban transformation cradling the aspirations of its 1.4 billion citizens and therefore, it is crucial to take a balanced view in understanding and determining our growth story for next 25 years.

United Nations projects India’s population to be 1.64 billion by 2047, of which nearly 0.82 billion (~50%) shall be residing in urban areas. India is also poised to become the most populous country in the world, surpassing China by 2027. Urbanization has always been considered as a boon for a country’s economic development. Urban areas constitute only about 3% of the total land area but contribute to over 70% of the Gross Domestic Product, indicating a high level of economic productivity. In line with rapid urbanization, Indian economy is also expected to grow from $3.1 trillion to $20 trillion by 2047, securing its place amongst the top three largest economies in the world by 2047, i.e., the 100th year of our Independence. In this journey of high paced urbanization and economic development, cities shall play a pivotal role. Our cities shall significantly increase to facilitate as economic powerhouses and magnets for large scale rural population. It is imperative to ensure that economic growth leads to balanced development across all regions and sectors.

While India’s unprecedented growth journey may seem to be pleasing, the melting point is to answer ‘are we ready for the challenge to facilitate this scale of growth and development?’ Our rural settlements are already transforming to peri-urban areas to Tier-III and IV towns. They have begun to display characteristics similar to those witnessed in urban areas. Whilst these centers may be flourishing with a vibrant economy, the challenges of dilapidated infrastructure and services are prominent.

In addition to the transformation trends of rural settlements, our mega-cities are also witnessing growth of informal sector in form of slums and unorganized economic activities, overcrowding, deterioration of quality of civic infrastructure, traffic and transportation inadequacies, mismanagement of supply chains, disconnect with heritage and culture etc. Coupled with the outbreak of COVID19 pandemic, these issues have further tested the resilience of our urban systems.

It is important to note that rapid urbanization also implies a high demand for goods and services, along with requirement of efficient systems of urban development, management, and governance. With plenty of room for improvement in existing cities to facilitate citizens with basic services and infrastructure, accommodating 0.82 billion urban citizens by 2047 which will be far more challenging than anticipated as our megacities are behind its global peers in qualitative terms.

Amrit Kaal – Plan for next 25 Years
Referring to the next 25 years upto 2047 as 'Amrit Kaal', Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi had in 2021 said, “In the next 25 years, during 'Amrit Kaal, the nation will move forward towards attaining resolutions made for Aatmanirbhar Bharat”. Therefore, Government of India has embarked the journey to set the course for India @ 100. The crucial journey of next 25 years has been termed as the Amrit Kaal, with an objective to enhance the lives of citizens, reducing the urban-rural divide and embracing technology towards infrastructural development. It is interesting to note the Budget 2022-23 seeks to lay the footprint and give a blueprint to drive Indian economy for Amrit Kaal. A paradigm change is envisioned for our cities with introduction of PM Gatishakti National Master Plan, AtmaNirbhar Bharat, National Infrastructure Pipeline and National Monetization Pipeline to boost infrastructural and economic development.
Aligning ourselves with the journey of urban transformation, we at KPMG in India realize the need to define the aspirations and focus areas for India@100. We take this opportunity at 7th Smart Cities India 2022 Expo to channel together imperatives and catalysts across key focus areas to be enacted over the next 25 years to realize sustainable urban development and high quality of life for citizens.

Envisioning Urban India @ 2047 is an attempt to bring to your attention imperatives and catalysts for development of Urban India in the next 25 years. We believe our efforts of sustainable urbanization and economic development are to be concerted across pillars of Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental Development.

The focus areas for defining our aspirations identified across these pillars are as follows:

  • Social: enriching ‘Soul’ of our cities by adopting principles of sustainable development, ensuring high standards for quality of life for citizens by meeting aspirations of livability of our cities; and fulfilling our social commitments towards balanced and equitable development
  • Economy: maintaining economic vitals of our cities; identifying innovative financing streams for infrastructure development; and sustaining infrastructure development through excellence in program management
  • Environment: development of focused approach for climate resilience; and exploring alternate mobility solutions
  • Technology: adopting new age technologies towards delivering citizen services and development of infrastructure.

This document is only a base framework for an assessment and understanding of a directional focus to be adopted, at times continued to be carry froward on a well-established path of implementation, enhance the core requirements and responsiveness or in cases put a halt to certain present unsustainable trends. We firmly believe developing focused action plan towards realizing these aspirations shall lead us to success in this period.