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Implementing GIS Master Plans: Challenges in Indian Cities



  Jan 29, 2024

GIS Master Plans in Indian Cities: Challenges in Implementation



Context:

Over 200 cities in India, including Shimla and Imphal, have notified Geographic Information System (GIS)-based master plans. These plans are essential for mapping and verifying existing infrastructure, aiding in new development planning. This initiative falls under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) mission.

Key Points:

1. Master Plan Significance: A master plan is a critical vision document outlining a city’s development for the next two decades, including regulations on land use, building construction, transport, green spaces, and economic development.
2. Historical Gap: Urban development experts note that master plans have often remained theoretical, leading to unauthorized development due to rapid urbanization and poor implementation.
3. Environmental Concerns: The urgency of these plans is underscored by environmental challenges, such as the frequent flash floods and landslides in hill states like Himachal Pradesh.

Implementation Challenges:

1. Scope and Reach: While the initiative covers Class-I cities, there is limited progress in smaller Class III and IV towns.
2. Accountability: Urban planners stress the need for a strong legal framework and accountability for effective implementation.
3. Technology Utilization: GIS-based plans leverage technology, including satellite imagery and drone surveys, to create baseline maps for comprehensive planning.
4. Online Accessibility: The plans, accessible online, provide critical data for infrastructure projects and future planning.
5. Legal Approvals: The Supreme Court’s approval of plans like the Shimla Development Plan highlights legal hurdles in implementing these plans.

Forward Movement:

1. Central Government Incentives: The government is incentivizing the creation of master plans, with a focus on urban planning recruitment.
2. Broader Application: Plans are being used for various purposes, including building plan approvals and development projects.
3. Linking Grants to Implementation: Linking state grants to the successful implementation of these plans could enforce accountability and effectiveness.

Conclusion:

While GIS-based master plans represent a significant step towards planned urban development, the real test lies in their implementation and enforcement. Establishing enforceable legal frameworks and ensuring administrative accountability are crucial for these plans to transition from paper to practice.

SRIRAM’s


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