The Aspirational Cities Programme (ACP): A Positive Step

The Aspirational Cities Programme (ACP) of Maharashtra intends to solve the issues of rapid urbanisation by taking a holistic approach to urban governance. The ACP will focus on better governance, addressing persisting civic challenges, and expanding funding options for urban local governments. The ACP’s success could have a big impact on Maharashtra’s economy and contribute to greater ease of living in cities.

India’s urban population

  • According to the 2011 Census of India, India’s urban population was 377 million, accounting for 31.16% of the total population. By 2030, cities would house approximately 590 million people.
  • While cities account for approximately 3% of the country’s land area, they generate 70% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and contribute significantly to economic growth and opportunities.
  • There is a strong relationship between the liveability index of cities and the country’s GDP per capita, implying that long-term growth is only possible if city attributes such as equitable access to basic services, residences, and improved economic management are seamlessly woven through digital service delivery platforms.

Maharashtra’s Urbanisation Challenges

  • Deficient Infrastructure: Maharashtra’s cities are dealing with infrastructure difficulties such as insufficient roads, public transport, water supply, and waste management systems.
  • Air Pollution: Due to automobile emissions and industrial activity, urbanisation has increased air pollution in Maharashtra’s cities.
  • disparities: The expansion of informal settlements and slums in Maharashtra’s cities has resulted in socioeconomic disparities, with the urban poor lacking access to essential amenities such as healthcare, education, and housing.
  • Mobility and Migration: The cities of Maharashtra continue to face the problem of frequent mobility and migration, with an inward net movement of individuals seeking better livelihood possibilities.
  • Vulnerabilities to catastrophes and Climate Change: Rapid urbanisation has made Maharashtra’s cities more vulnerable to catastrophes and climate change, including as floods and heatwaves.
  • Poor Urban Planning: Many of the issues that Maharashtra’s cities face are the result of poor urban planning, with a lack of coordination between various government ministries and inadequate policy and programme execution.

What exactly is the Aspirational Cities Programme (ACP)?

  • The Aspirational Cities Programme (ACP) is a Maharashtra government project that aims to solve the issues of growing urbanisation in the state through a holistic approach to urban governance.
  • The ACP has identified 57 cities as candidates for the initiative. Based on data acquired through the Maharashtra Government’s Performance Assessment System, cities’ service levels will be benchmarked.
  • The performance of the 57 selected cities would be tracked and ranked quarterly using a standard digital monitoring platform that included metrics on urban infrastructure, education, urban services, skill development, and climate change.
  • The ACP is organised around three key areas: inclusive urban development, scientific data tools for analysing and monitoring outcomes, and citizen participation in civic affairs.

The Maharashtra government’s Aspirational Cities Programme (ACP) prioritises three areas

  • Urban Development for All: The ACP strives to introduce an integrated approach to urban programming that encompasses all areas of development. This is done to ensure that the advantages of urban development are distributed to all segments of society, especially the most vulnerable.
  • Scientific Data Methods: The ACP aims to use scientific data methods to evaluate and monitor the outcomes of both state and central programmes. This will allow for a better understanding of the actual impact of various policies and projects.
  • Citizen Participation: The ACP seeks to strengthen citizens’ voices and participation in civic affairs through physical and digital means. This is done to ensure that governance is citizen-centric and responsive to people’s needs and ambitions.

Other important aspects of Maharashtra’s ACP

  • Better Governance: The ACP will focus on better governance, addressing persisting civic challenges, and expanding funding options for urban local governments. This is done to ensure that city governance is efficient, transparent, and accountable.
  • Service Level Benchmarking: The cities’ service levels will be benchmarked using data from the Maharashtra government’s Performance Assessment System. The state government will be able to monitor and rank the performance of the 57 selected cities on a quarterly basis using a standard digital monitoring platform.
  • Adequate Potable Tap Water: The ACP goal involves providing adequate potable tap water to all households through the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • Property Tax Reform: The ACP intends to reform property tax by decoupling it from the fair rental value approach and replacing it with the market value of the property as the basis for assessment.

@the end

It is time to face the reality that New India is shifting from its countryside to its metropolis, necessitating new thinking and citizen-centric policies. The ACP is an example of a policy that prioritises people in urban development. This endeavour by the Maharashtra government is strategically aligned with the Viksit Bharat vision for India in 2047.

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