Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has given his approval to the Odisha Rural-Urban Transition Policy. This groundbreaking policy aims to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas by providing essential urban infrastructure, amenities, and services to the fast-growing rural regions adjacent to cities.
At present, 19% of Odisha’s population resides in urban areas, and this figure is projected to reach 21% by 2031. The growth of census towns and peri-urban areas accounts for nearly 40% of the state’s urbanization. However, these areas have been facing challenges such as inadequate access to social infrastructure and civic amenities even after being declared urban areas.
To address these issues, the Rural-Urban Transition Policy has been introduced as a comprehensive and pragmatic approach. It aims to provide urban civic amenities and services to identified rural areas well before their formal designation as urban areas. The policy also includes the creation of a special budget for infrastructure projects and service delivery, involving elected representatives, officials, and stakeholders in the planning and monitoring process.
Under this policy, rural areas will be declared as urban areas after an intensive identification process, starting from the expiry of the existing elected representatives’ tenure. During the interim period, infrastructure and services will be upgraded in the designated rural areas to match the standards of adjacent urban areas. This includes implementing ward delimitation and other administrative measures to ensure a smooth transition into fully functional urban areas.
To facilitate effective implementation, the policy establishes steering and implementation committees consisting of top officials from various domains and experts in urban planning, finance, engineering, management, and IT. These committees will ensure coordination and convergence of government schemes for the seamless transition of peri-urban and rurban areas into urban areas.
The policy adopts a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model, with the State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) at the state-level and District Urban Development Agencies & development authorities at the city-level acting as the central and local coordinating bodies, respectively.