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Inclusive sanitation as part of urban agenda can’t be ignored to achieve 5 trillion dollars economy: Puri

Inclusive sanitation as part of urban agenda can’t be ignored to achieve 5 trillion dollars economy: Puri

New Delhi, Feb 27 (UNI) Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said inclusive sanitation as part of the urban agenda can’t be ignored if India wanted to achieve a 5 trillion dollar economy.

Speaking at the inaugural address during a national conference on 'Future of Urban Sanitation in India', Mr Puri said there has been a general tendency to underestimate the rate and growth of urbanisation in India.

"Today India is a 2.8 trillion dollars economy and by 2024 we will be a 5 trillion dollars economy. It is essential to prepare for that, and urban development cannot be conceptualised without taking urban sanitation into consideration.'

'By the time we reach 2030, India will have an urban population close to 600 million, representing 40 per cent of the country’s population, the urban sector will contribute about 70 per cent of GDP, 85 per cent of total tax revenue, and 70 per cent of the jobs created in India."

The seminar was organised here with the objective to identify solutions to the challenges of sustainable, inclusive and participatory management of urban sanitation services in the next decade.

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) – Urban has provided a significant impetus to universal sanitation coverage in Indian cities.

He shared that there has been a great impetus on urban development under the current government. 'Between 2004 and 2014, the expenditure incurred in urban infrastructure was Rs 175,000 crore. However, from June 2015 onwards, there has been a six-fold increase in urban expenditure and is around Rs 970,000 crore today.'

He further highlighted that the main difference between the previous government’s initiatives and the current initiatives is that the latter is embedded in cooperative federalism and these policies are succeeding because they are qualitatively designed around citizen participation.

He emphasised that the success of localising SDGs will be achieved by progress at the lowest tiers of urban governance and participatory citizenship.

Talking about the welfare of safai karamcharis, he said in order to ban the practice of manual scavenging, outlawing the practice cannot work alone. It is important to help sanitation workers by providing protective gear, adding clauses to contracts, upholding strong laws, and aiding in social upliftment.

Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, Dr Rajesh Tandon, Founder-President, Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)

and Manahar Valijibhai Zala, Chairperson, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis were also present.

UNI NY SD 1722

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