As more people move to major Indian cities from local villages, problems arise with India’s infrastructure due to the dramatic surge in urban population. Overcrowding is affecting the economically weak and low income population as well as the cites as a whole.
One major issue has derived from the fact this rapid urbanization was unplanned for in most cities and in turn, has lead to a severe water shortage. Only half of urban populations in India have access to piped water and only 18% of those in slums. Non-notified slums, making up 60% of all slums, have no access at all. Water supply has become increasingly unreliable as it only runs for a few hours a day and sewage often overflows into open drains. This problem will continue to worsen as the demand steadily goes up and the supply decreases.
The demand for energy is expected to grow 4.2% a year by 2035, faster than every other major economy in the world. Although India has increased their production, they still rely heavily on imports. The electricity shortages affect both rural and urban areas and especially limits economic growth potential in cities. The increasing demand also puts a toll on the environment, they’re currently the third largest emitter of carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gases. India hopes to expand their power grid without increasing emissions but, they are still very dependent on outdated coal-fired plants. If they follow the historic path of emissions growing as urban living standards rise, it could be disastrous.
Public transport’s effectiveness for the urban population is decreasing because of the masses of people moving to urban areas. For low income Indians, the fare for the use of public transport remains out of reach. Since such a large percentage of cities are unable to utilize the bus services, they have difficulty up keeping a fleet required for the urban needs. Those who can afford a car often opt for that over public transportation, as it’s easier to move about the city. However, the spike in personal vehicles causes chaos on ill-equipped roads and poorly designed traffic patterns.
India has many improvements to make if they wish to provide sustainable cities with higher living conditions to their expanding population. However, finding funding to improve infrastructure could prove to be a challenge for the developing country. In the meantime, by diversifying job opportunities, India could increase job growth and opportunities for the unemployed to help alleviate pressure on the country to improve rapidly.