The President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu, graced the India Smart Cities Conclave 2023 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on September 27, 2023. During her address at the event, she shed light on the critical importance of sustainable urban development in light of India’s evolving demographic and economic landscape.
Urbanization Trends and Challenges
President Murmu began her speech by noting that demographic projections indicate that more than 50 percent of India’s population will reside in urban areas by the year 2047. Additionally, she highlighted that cities are expected to contribute over 80 percent of the nation’s GDP by that time. In light of these trends, she stressed the necessity of charting a comprehensive roadmap that aligns with the growing aspirations and needs of cities and their residents.
Addressing Climate Change
Climate change emerged as a pivotal theme in President Murmu’s discourse on sustainable urban development. She commended the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework, which was launched for India’s 100 smart cities, as an example of how cities can play a crucial role in tackling climate change at the national level. The President emphasized the significance of green building practices and renewable energy adoption to enhance energy efficiency in cities, while also calling for a more holistic approach to these efforts.
Toward Sustainable Development Goals
President Murmu underscored the importance of aligning urban development efforts with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, she mentioned SDG 11, which aims to create inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and human settlements. This goal, she noted, underscores the necessity of holistic and inclusive city development.
Drawing attention to the role of city management in pursuing sustainable development, President Murmu emphasized the value of learning from the best practices and business models of well-managed cities worldwide. She advocated for the sharing of successful initiatives between countries, highlighting the importance of local and global collaboration for sustainable development.
Promoting Responsible Citizenship
The President called upon citizens to take responsibility for their cities and their fellow residents. She stressed the importance of proactive participation and cooperation with relevant authorities to address issues such as the prevention of diseases like dengue and malaria in urban areas.
Extending Services to Rural Areas
President Murmu also highlighted the need to provide essential services, health facilities, and educational institutions in rural areas. This approach, she argued, would alleviate pressure on urban infrastructure and enhance the quality of life for rural populations.
In her address at the India Smart Cities Conclave 2023, President Droupadi Murmu reinforced the importance of sustainable urban development and the pivotal role cities play in India’s future. Her insights and vision serve as a guiding light for India’s journey toward inclusive, resilient, and environmentally conscious urbanization.