National Urban Policy Framework (NUPF) 2018

Urbanization, the silent revolution in India needs direction and substantial re-think and cities need resources, investment, good governance, and a sense of future.

As you know, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has formulated India’s National Urban Policy Framework to address the future of India’s urbanization. This initiative is commendable ,was long overdue and is welcomed as a significant step, considering the vastness and complexity of India’s urban challenge. The framing of the policy will certainly help guide our cities and towns. Moreover, opening up the Policy document for public debate and feedback is greatly appreciated as it presents an opportunity for various stakeholders to contribute ideas ans suggestions in various sectors.

The NUPF initiative by INHAF1 is to facilitate debates and discussions surrounding the NUPF 2018, amongst various stakeholders , individuals and organizations working in the urban sector. INHAF had earlier written to MoHUA 2 on seeking an extension on the deadline for submissions and de-formatting of the existing feedback form. At the moment, the deadline for submitting feedback has been extended to 31st March 2019. To expedite this facilitation for the NUPF, INHAF has prepared this web-platform, Urban @ INHAF encourage ideas and thoughts relevant to the urban India and the NUPF initiative thereby attempting to facilitate a wider discussion on this forthcoming policy from different stakeholders from different sectors.

INHAF has captured the key points and sector specific details of the NUPF 2018 and has presented it below. The next steps for taking this initiative forward and facilitating discussions is also outlined below.

Key Points

The National Urban Policy Framework was drafted by a committee formed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the New Urban Agenda. Given India’s unique aspect of urbanisation (It is one of least urbanised countries in the Global South but in sheer numbers is one of the highest at 377 million people living in 7935 cities/towns), the policy is essential in addressing the challenges of urbanisation directly and recognising it as a contributor to the economy.

In its introductory note, the policy recognises that States and Urban Local Bodies are responsible for urban issues therefore the document is a guiding set of principles and planning frameworks. The document is structured around 10 Sutras or Philosophical principles which are then applied to the 10 Functional areas of planning to outline challenges, priorities and action points.

The following provides a summary of the recommendations laid in the document for further discussion:

10 Sutras or Philosophical principles

  1. Cities are clusters of Human Capital.
  2. Choosing to see cities not as a collection of buildings but as interconnected human capital. Break down silos of economic, cultural, social aspects. Encourage upward mobility.
  3. Cities require a Sense of Place.
  4. Responsive to context (eg. Conservation of historic districts, form based codes)
  5. Not static master plans but evolving ecosystems.
  6. Dealing with cities as evolving, organic ecosystems where mixed and changing land uses are considered a natural part of urban management (eg. Redeploying derelict urban spaces – industry, port etc and mixed use clustering)
  7. Build for density.
  8. Proximity to transit as opposed to earlier response to decongest which has created urban sprawl (eg. Multi-modal transit and higher densities, FSI to link with infrastructure investment)
  9. Public spaces that encourage social interaction.
  10. Safe, accessible (eg. Varanasi ghats, nukkads)
  11. Multi-modal public transport backbone.
  12. Promote this and walkability. This is both a sutra and a functional area since it provides a backbone that hardwires many other urban activities. (eg. Multi-modal interchangeability and pedestrian/cycling networks)
  13. Environmental Sustainability.
  14. Disaster risk reduction, capacity, access to clean water etc. can benefit from digital mapping and satellite imaging. (eg. Protecting water bodies and drainage contours, reviving indigenous horticulture)
  15. Financially self-reliant.
  16. Encourage cities to leverage local assets including community savings..range of options to explore from user charges and municipal bond financing. (eg. Leverage local tourist spots, municipal bond markets)
  17. Cities require clear, unified leadership:
  18. Implement urban governance structures that empower and reduce multiplicity of decision-makers. And give voice to the unheard. (eg. Multiplicity of authorities reduce and a Mayor could be empowered instead)
  19. Cities as engines of regional growth.
  20. Interconnected urban network driven by a large central node can generate and sustain high rates of economic growth. (eg. Economic clusters, smaller towns as rural growth engines)

10 Functional Areas or 10 Pillars 3

  1. City Planning
  2. Urban Economy
  3. Physical Infrastructure
  4. Social Infrastructure
  5. Housing and Affordability
  6. Transportation and Mobility
  7. Urban Finance
  8. Urban Governance
  9. Urban Information Systems
  10. Urban Environment and Safety

Next Steps

INHAF (Habitat Forum) has taken up this initiative to reach out to urban professionals, practitioners, academicians, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, Students etc to gather their ideas, suggestions, critique of the above policy framework. INHAF has penned a letter to Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs citing the need for more time and better formats to provide feedback on the policy.

The next steps to learn more about the policy and be a part of the initiative are :

  1. To read the National Urban Policy Framework 2018, Click Here
  2. To view the feedback form for NUPF, Click Here
  3. National Urban Policy Framework : A Quick Guide
  4. Letters addressed to the Ministry (suggestions and recommendations to the policy) by interested individuals
  5. To join the initiative and contribute to the evolving discussions Click Here

1. Habitat Forum (INHAF) is a non-profit society based in Ahmedabad. The key focus area of Habitat Forum (INHAF), as the name suggests, is ‘Habitat’, built environment, human settlements, both the place and the people, and its proper development.

It is a network engaged in bringing together, on a shared platform, individuals and organizations working in the human settlement development field: in urban and rural housing ( with special emphasis on the low income groups); on participatory design, consultative planning and inclusive development; poverty reduction; liveable, people centred, poor sensitive and environment friendly cities, and sustainable development. NGOs, civic groups and communities; design, planning and development professionals; professional training institutions and young students are the main constituency of INHAF.

2. INHAF’s letter to MoHUA can be viewed in the letters section.

3. Refer NUPF Quick Guide.