The 21st century is referred to as the ‘Century of the City’ as it is expected that by the middle of this century, the world’s urban population will exceed its rural counterpart. Urban population will increase from 50% to 70% of the world’s population by the year 2100. This growth is expected to be fueled largely by developing regions, expected to grow annually at 2.27% till 2025 compared to 0.49% in the case of developed regions. In India, the urban population is expected to comprise 40% of the total population by as early as 2021.
A major problem associated with this rapid urbanization has been the inability of local governments to cope with the colossal demand for urban infrastructure. Many cities are at a breaking point. Their aging infrastructure-designed to serve much smaller populations-is bursting at the seams. Traffic, pollution, inadequate water and power are problems in all cities- large or small.
Considering the current situation in India, the urban infrastructure investment requirement is estimated to be anywhere between INR 1 trillion to INR 6 trillion; of this about INR 1.7 trillion is estimated to just meet the target of 100% coverage of safe water supply and sanitation services by 2021.