Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist) has written the following letter to Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India on the release of first draft of National Urban Policy Framework by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
We are releasing the text of the letter for publication.
Dear Shri Hardeep Singh Puri ji
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has released first draft of the National Urban Policy Framework (NUPF). The draft summary explains the philosophical outline of the need for drafting such a document. It is considered that this document should become a guide for the future of urban planning in India which, however, requires utmost diligence.
I do not want to go into the 10 basic foundations or the principles on which your ministry has laid emphasis on. Rather, I would agree with your understanding as mentioned in the document that, “these static planning tools fail to address the complexity of India’s growing cities. They foster a built environment that is disconnected from the continuously changing socio-economic conditions of urban space.” It, thus, clearly marks the utter failure of the policies of urbanisation which have not fetched the desired results. The much-acclaimed flagship programmes of ‘smart cities’, etc., do not even find a comment in the draft and this, in itself, shows failure of such programmes; not to quote from the massive data that speaks about the same.
I would further like to inform you that the current feedback format of your ministry allows little way for policy recommendations. The broad questions cannot be answered in the format provided for just 300 words, the policy recommendations are bound to be very broad in nature.
The deadline of March 10, 2019 is a highly exclusive planning format where a large number of people, groups working on urban affairs will not be able to participate. Besides it will remain an exercise limited to consultants only.
This is also a period when the general elections are about to be announced and soon we shall have the Model Code of Conduct in place. In such a background, I suggest you to sincerely not just postpone the date of the deadline, rather allow the new government to take the call on the urban policy framework as the mandate is desired by the people of the country.