Naidu said urban planning and development must enhance talent, creativity and aspiration of children
Puja Bhattacharjee | December 1, 2014
Minister of urban development M Venkaiah Naidu said children need to be made the focus in urban planning and development.
Speaking at the national conference on building smart child-friendly cities for 21st century India in New Delhi on Friday, he said, “41 million people live in urban areas out of which eight million live in slums. There is no equality of opportunity in healthcare, education and creative fields for the children of the poor.”
“Children of the poor are the worst affected due to urbanisation as most of the urban resources are appropriated by the rich,” he added.
Swelling numbers of rural to urban migration coupled with inadequate empowerment of urban local bodies is a huge challenge for the government.
The minister said the government is taking this challenge as an opportunity to improve infrastructural services. He admitted that the government is working very hard to live up to people’s expectation from prime minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
He pointed out that there is a need for self-regulation in the television industry as children are regularly exposed to the vulgarity, violence and obscenity of Indian television. “Our country has a rich and diverse heritage which has to be preserved. Children must be encouraged to interact with nature,” he said.
He mentioned that sanitation and solid waste management are foremost in the prime minister’s agenda. “Unless ‘clean India campaign’ becomes a people’s campaign it will not succeed,” he said.
The minister assured that the recommendations of the conference would be given serious thought.
The conference organised by Bernard Van Leer foundation, National Institute of Urban Affairs and School of Planning and architecture was held from November 28-29 and witnessed participation of people from diverse backgrounds: mayors, city managers, town planning and urban poverty experts from cities, senior officials from national, state and city level, consultants, NGOs, architects and urban planners.
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