The WEF report, titled Indian Cities in the Post-Pandemic World, highlights the country’s most pressing urban challenges that were further exacerbated by the pandemic. The report also provides insights for translating the lessons learned from the pandemic into an urban reform agenda. The impact of the pandemic has been profoundly uneven on differ-ent population groups. Vulnerable populations, including low-income migrant workers, have suffered the
Dual blows of lost income and weak social-protection coverage, while the pandemic has also laid bare gender-based imbalances in public and private life in India’s urban areas, the WEF said. The report, produced in collaboration with Mumbai-based IDFC Institute, compiles insights from leading global and Indian urban experts across seven thematic pillars – planning, housing, transport, environment, public health, gender, and vulnerable populations. Among other recommendations, the report underscores the critical role data can play in helping cities manage and direct emergency operations during a crisis.
“But data alone is not a panacea; realizing the potential of cities re-quires empowered and capable governance, investment in transport and infrastructure to fuel productive urban economies, and a rethink of outdated planning norms and regulations,” the WEF said. The wide-ranging recommendations compiled in the report in-dude a rethink of outdated urban planning regulations, which will make cities more compact, com-muter-friendly, and green. It also recommends greater decentralization and empowerment of local governments, which will allow for more proximate and responsive governance.