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President Murmu pitches for health infra in villages

Villages should be provided with top quality basic infrastructure to reduce pressure on cities where the human population is rising, said President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday.

“I would like to suggest in the interest of the countrymen that like cities, excellent basic infrastructure should also be provided in rural pockets in the areas of health and education. By doing this, the pressure on cities will be reduced and the lives of rural people will become better,” said President Murmu in her address at the India Smart Cities Conclave 2023 here.

By 2047, the President said, India’s urban population is projected to grow from the current level of 40 crore to over 87 crore, meaning more than 50 per cent of the people in the country would be living in urban areas after nearly two and a half decades.

These figures indicate that there is a need to move forward by preparing a future roadmap in view of the growing aspirations and needs of cities and their people, she said.

The President also said that there is a need to do more work in the areas of climate change, use of green fuels and achieving sustainable development goals in town planning.

Referring to the rapidly growing Indian investment in urban development, she said the ‘Smart City’ project has played an important role in implementing excellent works and developing viable business models.

The President said that the G20 sub-group ‘Urban 20’ has strived to establish a sustainable system of engagement between cities and through this, a collective message has been conveyed that urban management has an important role to play in advancing the priorities of sustainable development.

“We should learn from the excellent work and business models of the world’s best-managed cities and also share our success stories with other countries,” she said.

The President said CCTV cameras installed to monitor urban areas are boosting law and order, but more effective steps need to be taken to ensure safety, especially of women.

She said that there is a need to increase public participation in coordination with the departments concerned to deal with outbreaks of dengue and malaria in cities every year.

Prior to her address, Murmu presented the ‘National Smart City Award’ to Indore for being selected as the best among the 100 Smart Cities in the country under the ‘India Smart Cities Awards Contest 2022’. Surat and Agra stood second and third respectively in this category.

Madhya Pradesh was awarded the best state award, while Tamil Nadu bagged the second spot. Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh jointly finished third. As many as 66 winners were awarded in different categories at the ceremony. These include 31 specific cities, one Union territory, four states and seven partner organisations.

Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Madhya Pradesh Governor Mangubhai Patel and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan were also present on the occasion. PTI

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