Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has approved Odisha Rural-Urban Transition Policy aiming at removing the rural-urban divide in providing essential urban infrastructure, amenities and services to all citizens residing in the fast-growing rural areas adjoining the cities.
This is a first of its kind policy, which intends to introduce a series of progressive and pragmatic measures to address the challenges of unplanned and unregulated urbanisation, an official said on Monday.
Presently, 19 per cent of Odisha’s population resides in urban areas and is expected to reach 21 per cent by 2031. The growth of census towns or peri-urban areas account for nearly 40 percent of the urbanisation in the state.
However, these peri-urban and rurban areas have been grappling with the challenge of inadequate access to social infrastructure and civic amenities and services even after declaring such areas as urban areas, the official said.
After intensive consultations with the experts and practitioners, it has emerged that absence of a comprehensive policy and robust institutions to contain unplanned urbanisation has been the primary reason for this situation.
As a significant shift from the previous system, therefore, the Rural-Urban Transition Policy has been brought to provide urban civic amenities of services to the people in the identified rural areas much before the areas are formally notified as urban areas.
The policy also allows creation of a special budget for implementation of infrastructure projects and delivery of services while actively involving the elected representatives, officials, and all other stakeholders in the planning, execution, and monitoring of the transition process.
Under the policy, rural areas after an intensive process of identification will be declared as urban areas coming into effect from the date on which the tenure of the existing elected representatives expire.
During the interim period, the notified rural area will be taken up for up-gradation of infrastructure and services to provide all urban services on par with the adjacent urban areas.
During the transition period, ward delimitation and other administrative measures will also be put in place so that from the effective date, the area will start functioning as a full-fledged urban area with all required urban infrastructure and services.
The new policy provides for the constitution of steering and implementation committees with top officials of the state government including the Chief Secretary and experts driven from various domains viz. urban planning, finance, engineering, management, IT, etc.
This will ensure convergence of government schemes and inter-departmental coordination for a smooth and seamless transition of the peri-urban and rurban areas into full-fledged urban areas.
The policy proposes to adopt a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model with the State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) at the state-level and District Urban Development Agencies & development authorities at the city-level serving as the Hub and Spokes, respectively.