In a momentous gathering at the India Smart Cities Conclave 2023 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, delivered a compelling address focusing on the imperative need for sustainable urban development. The event, held on September 27, 2023, witnessed the President’s insights into the future of Indian cities, emphasizing the pivotal role they play in the nation’s growth.
President Murmu commenced her address by underscoring the profound demographic shift India is experiencing. She highlighted that, according to assessments, over 50 percent of India’s population is projected to reside in urban areas by 2047. Furthermore, she stressed that cities would contribute over 80 percent to the country’s GDP by that time. This transformative demographic trend necessitates a strategic roadmap for the future, one that caters to the rising aspirations and needs of urban dwellers.
The President acknowledged the global concern of climate change and its profound implications for urban development. She cited the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework, an initiative launched for India’s 100 smart cities, as a commendable effort to address climate change at the national level. Emphasizing the importance of energy efficiency, President Murmu called for greater focus on green buildings and renewable energy solutions within cities.
Droupadi Murmu reiterated India’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and emphasized the significance of SDG 11, which aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. This goal underscores the need for holistic and inclusive city development.
Highlighting the global nature of urban challenges, President Murmu advocated for learning from the best practices and business models of well-managed cities worldwide. She stressed the importance of sharing India’s successful efforts with other nations and emphasized that local and global collaboration is essential for comprehensive and sustainable development.
The President called upon citizens to take an active role in building safe, clean, and healthy neighborhoods. She stressed the importance of proactive participation in disease prevention, citing examples such as dengue and malaria control. President Murmu also advocated for extending health services, educational institutions, and basic facilities to rural areas, thereby reducing the burden on urban infrastructure and enhancing the living conditions of rural residents.
President Droupadi Murmu’s address at the India Smart Cities Conclave 2023 was a call to action for a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient urban future. Her insights highlighted the urgency of addressing urbanization challenges while promoting cooperation and innovation at both local and global levels, making it clear that the development of India’s cities is central to the nation’s progress.