National Urban Transport Policy [NUTP] was cleared initially way back in 2006, with a vision statement, to "make our cities the most liveable in the world and enable them to become the engines of economic growth". Given the organisation of our cities’ infrastructure, it will be a mammoth task for any city to bring order and predictability, let alone promote sustainable forms of transport. So systems such as Intelligent Transport System Project (ITSP), which aims to decongest cities and which only one Indian city – Mysore – has implemented so far, will still serve to manage existing overloads of traffic rather than be futuristic plans. A few months ago, the Secretary to the Union Ministry of Urban Development Sudhir Krishna told that urban spaces need to be treated in a more holistic manner – and exemplified it through the promotion of "mixed use" spaces. By treating cities as units for which infrastructure must be interlinked with each other, cities can build "unique geography of their locations and is best placed to support the main social and economic activities", as the NUTP envisions.
Now that a Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP) under NUTP is closer to reality than before, cities, states and the Centre need to pay more attention to standardising the infrastructure to promote it. For example, numerous "sky walks" are being built in Mumbai – a ‘pedestrian city’ where foot traffic encroaches onto traffic lanes regularly – but few have ramps. Such an addition would have enabled the scaling up of that operation to including bicycle traffic on the sky walks, especially at locations such as Bandra-Kalanagar stretch where the bridges are quite long.
Among the largest cities, Delhi may be in the best position to afford an integrated infrastructure that properly juxtaposes fast-moving, bus, and slow-moving traffic in the form of dedicated lanes. Mumbai Transformation Support Unit is to conduct a traffic survey and space inventory for the longest Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) the BMC (Bombay Municipal Corporation) will run. The corporation has already decided to launch such a service on the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd link road, which will have slipping lanes for BEST buses. For the new route, a primary survey was carried out on the Eastern and Western express highways and Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road is being considered more feasible for this dedicated lane.
Maharashtra’s industrial policy proposals announced, especially of converting special economic zones (SEZs) into integrated industrial areas and townships, wherein 60 per cent land would be used for industrial purpose, 30 per cent for residential and 10 per cent for commercial purpose are paving the way for land acquisition for realty projects and also indicate an acceptance that the state is not likely to attract investment enough for the area allotted. Gujarat, with a renewed state government, will escalate the drive towards building it to become an even more attractive destination.
The Current Account Deficit (CAD) challenge has put the government on notice. Now on the one hand we have a chugging economy which is gasping for relief on the interest noose as soon as inflation eases up and on the other we have cash transfers which will stoke inflation thereby demolishing the case for a relief. The government needs to cut expenditure instead of trying to enhance duties on imports like gold. The only thing we need to import besides oil is FDI in infrastructure.