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The Changing Scenario of Management Education in India
Prof. C. S. Venkataratnam, Member, FICCI Higher Education Committee & Director, IMI, New Delhi
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Ms Shobha Mishra,
Joint Director & Team Leader, Education & Health Services Division, FICCI
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Urbanisation must link itself to sustainable development

Kanwal Thakkar

An amplified rate of urbanization and its association to economic globalization have bolstered interest in high-quality urban governance. Good urban governance and management is one of the main pillars of sustainable cities. Where half of the world’s population has already moved to urban areas according to UN projections, about 70 per cent will be city inhabitants by 2050, with cities and towns in Asia and Africa registering the principal growth. The trend of hyper-urbanization and the absorption of urban population by the larger cities in developing countries would enfold many new-fangled issues other than the problem of resource limitations.

The major implications of rapid urban growth include increasing unemployment, lack of urban services, overburdening on existing infrastructure and lack of access to land, finance and adequate shelter, increasing violent crime and sexually transmitted diseases, and environmental degradation.

Even as the national output is rising, a decline in the quality of life for a majority of population that offsets the benefit of national economic growth is often witnessed. Urbanization thus imposes a significant burden to sustainable development, which needs a composite action plan to save our living environment. The management of the urban environment is a complex and difficult task and its increasing momentum of degradation has both direct and indirect impacts on a variety of concerns and sectors. There is a distinct need to take a look at the effectiveness of historical efforts to resolve urban environmental problems and to analyze which are the innovative methods we can adapt in future. Of particular concern are the scope and magnitude of these efforts in relation to the needs of a dynamic urban environment.

We have understood the concept of environmental planning for a long time with reference to resource planning and ecological paybacks only. However with the increased complexities and manifold relationships between various components of the ecology the need to understand the concept of environmental planning has increased. We have observed a dissatisfactory level of urban development in most of the towns and cities in developing countries except for a few new planned cities. There is a presence of pandemonium and clogging in the nodal locations and in the central areas, speckled deposits of solid waste, unrestrained growth in the peripheries, illegal settlement on government owned land, jam-packed tapered roads and many such factors marking the existence of so called big cities.

Are the regulations that have been prescribed responsible for this situation, or it is the lack of enforcement measures? We need to discuss these issues and take actions for improvement. The most common response is the excessive pressure of population, lack of public funding for infrastructure development and maintenance, lack of proper enforcement and proper monitoring systems and management systems. Initiatives have already been started towards attracting the private sector into development, operation and maintenance of urban infrastructures and facilities. But it is time to examine the scope for prescribing regulations for advance actions in respect of provision of facilities and amenities in urban areas for proper functioning of the system and ensuring the required environmental standards.

Issues related to environmentally sustainable urban development have been discussed at many platforms and forums. It is true that at many levels there have been efforts to resolve these issues. However, there are still are major territories where these issues are neglected without realizing its severity in the times to come. Cities have their own bio-network and should be treated like human beings.

Equilibrium should be created between ecological integrity and natural formations to identify the level of sustainability in the framework. However, the success of imposing rules can be determined on the level of their enforcement. Our country has seen many such rules and policies going down the drain and witnessed the very fundamentals of imposing these rules getting wasted. This can obviously be done at local levels and ensuring improvement in the performance of local bodies like municipalities by making them a part of developmental plans. Urban development is crucial for the development of the economy as a whole but it has to be in a regularized framework to minimize its ill-effects on the country.