Recently, a delegation from NITI Aayog, led by the CEO, held a meeting with the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Ministers, and senior officials from various departments of Maharashtra State. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how urbanization could contribute to the economic development of the country.
Urban areas hold immense potential to drive economic advancement to achieve the target of Viksit Bharat during the Amrit Kaal. It has been observed that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of several major city regions worldwide appears to match the GDP of entire countries. This intriguing trend reflects urban centers’ growing economic prominence and vitality, highlighting their pivotal role in shaping the country’s economic development. Indian cities also hold the potential to propel unparalleled economic growth which needs to be realised. While the government is exploring multiple pathways at all levels to achieve this target, strategizing \for transforming city regions into mega-economic growth hubs is crucial.
Recognizing the importance of leveraging urbanization for economic growth and in line with NITI Aayog’s mandate of fostering Cooperative Federalism, an initiative focused on developing city regions as Growth Hubs has been conceived. This initiative is a close collaboration of NITI Aayog with the State Governments and renowned subject experts. It endeavors to forge a robust economic growth strategy for city regions across India and prepare a roadmap for achieving the same. NITI Aayog would also constitute a National Advisory Committee of renowned experts under this initiative.
In the initial stage, 4 city regions will be taken up on a pilot basis to develop a template for devising an economic strategy. Later, it would be scaled up to 16 more cities. In addition to these, the economic strategy template will act as the model strategy for other city-regions across the country for achieving desired economic targets. Across each city region, the Project aims to deliver a roadmap for developing economic growth strategy. To achieve this, a series of activities will be undertaken including, a comprehensive baseline assessment of city region’s economy, SWOT analysis for understanding the strength and challenges of the region, identification of growth drivers, setting economic goals, designing policy enablers and proposing governance structure for projectization of the proposed strategies. The initiative is expected to support the country to achieve $35-$45 trillion Economy Target by 2047.
So far, Mumbai, Surat and Vishakhapatnam have been identified for the pilot phase. Under the priority of achieving trillion dollar aspirations of Maharashtra state economy, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) needs to strengthen the economic footprint in a sustainable manner. NITI Aayog will assist the Maharashtra State Government in developing a high-level roadmap to achieve 300 billion GDP from the current 140 billion for the MMR region.
A State level committee comprising senior officials of relevant departments would also be formed to support the execution of the initiative. During the discussion, NITI Aayog team presented a set of 10-15 marquee investible projects with investment aspirations of $150 billion by 2030. These economic growth drivers will be selected based on the city’s endowments. Examples of the projects include an integrated Aerocity near the New Mumbai airport, US Silicon Valley type Artificial Intelligence hub, a global medi-city, developing Mumbai’s eastern seaboard for culture, tourism, reinvigoration of SEZ land for select manufacturing and services, master planning bullet train stations such as Virar and Boisar.