[Answered] Discuss the economic geography of Delhi-NCR and its implications for urban planning and development. Also, evaluate the potential of a region-specific economic development corporation and a multi-stakeholder platform in addressing these challenges.

Introduction: Give the brief context of Delhi-NCR.

Body: Describe the economic geography of Delhi-NCR and its implications for urban planning.

Conclusion: Steps to address the challenges of Delhi-NCR.

India’s national capital Delhi is on the way to become the world’s most populous urban agglomeration overtaking Tokyo by 2028. The urban agglomeration of Delhi-NCR extends to Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, and Noida and has seen rapid infrastructure development with metro, and RRTS projects accompanied by rapidly developing suburbs and investments in infrastructure.

The economic geography of Delhi-NCR and its implications for urban planning:

  • Economic diversity: Delhi-NCR is home to numerous MNCs, government institutions, and service sector firms. The region’s economy has been known for IT, Finance, Telecommunication, manufacturing, and tourism. Delhi-NCR has the highest concentration of jobs and people in the country and generated a GDP of $370 billion in 2015.
  • Developing suburbs: The region has witnessed a large influx of people from neighbouring states and rural areas which has resulted in unplanned growth, congestion, and increased pressure on resources like land, water, and transportation.
  • Transportation: Delhi NCR region has witnessed significant improvements in infrastructure and transport development. There has been an efficient metro network spanning the NCR region with the newly proposed Rapid Metro connecting Delhi with Western UP. Traffic congestion, inadequate public transport, and air pollution are common issues faced by commuters.
  • Informal Sector: The region is characterized by a sizeable presence of the informal sector involving street vendors, MSMEs, & informal services like platform-based jobs like Swiggy, Zomato, Ola, and Uber. The shift in the gig economy is not accompanied by the formalisation of the work workforce and high wages but still, unemployment rates have increased, and women’s participation in the workforce remains low.
  • Core-periphery region: The periphery region around Delhi like Western Up, Haryana has witnessed urbanisation & development owing to proximity with Delhi. Many industries have moved out from Delhi and set up their offices in these periphery regions owing to the low cost of labor and land.

Way forward:

  • Region-Specific Economic Development Corporation: In Delhi-NCR a regional corporation can be created to leverage existing interstate frameworks and create place-specific development strategies in issues related to urbanisation, transportation, & energy.
  • Inter-State corporation:  Region-specific corporations could also foster healthy competition between participating cities and States to attract investment.
  • Multi-stakeholder Cooperation: A multi-stakeholder platform can be built to bring together the government, private sector, industrial bodies, academia, and civil society representatives, to address development and infrastructural needs.
  • Socio-economic assessments: Such investments help in framing policies related to work culture, safe travel, child and elder care facilities, women participation and to improve access to education, healthcare, basic services, and jobs for marginalised groups.
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