The recent survey on growing population in the cities conducted by the United Nations (UN) states that by the end of 2050, two third of the world’s population will end up living in cities. Delhi is going to be the biggest city (population wise) in the world by 2028.
So, why are people migrating towards cities?
The simple answer would be that they are migrating for economic reasons. There are more employment opportunities in urban settings. Moreover, availability of medical facilities and decent infrastructure of schools also draw people to the cities.
This should make Indians worry as our cities are very badly managed. The air we breathe is full of toxicity. We recently witnessed horrible air quality in India’s capital and around. Out of the 20 worst cities in the world in terms of air quality, 14 are from India.
Add to that the problem of sewage in many cities and the poor infrastructure of waste management. This, in turn, leads to poor health.
What we can do is immediately upgrade our sewage system. Hospital infrastructure needs an overhaul too. We need to build more schools and colleges, keeping in mind future demands. These are the few short-term changes that should be made.
But for long-term solutions, what we can do is upgrade rural places, in order to absorb the demographic dividend in rural hubs. We can do this by setting up factories and manufacturing units, because the transition from rural activities to factory activities is easier than a transition to the service sector.
We can also upgrade the small cities near the big ones. For example, we have Noida and Gurgaon near Delhi and Pune near Mumbai. These cities could cater to the demand for living spaces and jobs.
Until then, we can at least try and create some awareness among the masses and pray that the government starts looking into it.