NITI Aayog organizes South Asian Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure

GS 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

Why in News?

  • NITI Aayog partnered with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to host a South Asian regional conference.


  • The Conference aims to review overall issues and assess the sustainability of PPPs and urban finance in South Asia, specifically India, while broadening the knowledge base and engaging on international best practices.
  • The conference will emphasize the need to ensure adequate return on investments in infrastructure through properly structured Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and de-risking of projects.
  • Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been one such option that enables governments to optimally share the risks associated with a project’s life cycle.

Need for implementing and financing urban infrastructure:

  • Considering the quantum deficit in infrastructure implementation vis-à-vis the demand, it is urgently needed to focus on newer means of implementing and financing urban infrastructure.
  • In India alone, until 2040, estimated investments of around $4.5 trillion are required in the infrastructure space.
  • With respect to urban needs, the population in South Asia is expected to grow by around 250 million till 2030, while that in India is expected to reach around 590 million during the same period.
  • There are an estimated 98 million people who reside in the slums of Indian cities and are disproportionately deprived of access to basic services and infrastructure.
  • These gaps must be addressed, so that the cities grow equitably and in an environmentally responsible way.
  • The South Asian regional conference is a first of its kind, with participation from across the South Asian region including leaders from the government, industry, research organizations, academia, think tanks and civil society.
  • To implement urban infrastructure in India, a deeper deliberation is required on the means of democratizing the governance at the city level.
  • It shall provide greater operational and fiscal autonomy to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
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