International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2017

The United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is annually observed on December 3 to focus on issues that affect people with disabilities worldwide. The aim of the day is to encourage a better understanding of people affected by a disability together with helping to make people more aware of the rights, dignity and welfare of disabled people, as well as raise awareness about the benefits of integrating disabled persons into every aspect of life.The theme for this year’s IDPD is ‘Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Society for all.’ This theme focuses on the enabling conditions for the transformative changes envisaged in the 2030 development agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Odisha Government has enacted Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of right and full participation) Odisha Rules, 2003.  As per the rules, the buildings, places and transportation systems for public use will be made barrier free. Disabled persons encounter many obstacles that prevent them from moving about freely and safely. Therefore, while designing the building environment, adequate space should be allocated for persons using mobility devices, like wheelchairs, crutches and walkers, as well as those walking with the assistance of other persons.Smart Cities Mission is the greatest opportunity to ensure inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in all new developments that will now take place in India. However, the Smart Cities Mission had until now been called non-inclusive for the disabilities. The Smart City Mission in India is to improve the quality of life in 100 fast growing urban centers, including Bhubaneswar.
The aim is to increase all citizens quality of life and to improve the efficiency and quality of the services provided by city planning authorities. Smart cities can be a place where the disabled feel free to move in public places.  Besides, the Smart City should provide more inclusive environment for the disabled people to participate in the smart environment.  For example, a wheelchair user going to the shopping, public places, railway stations and airports should be able to identify the ideal route to the particular area. The open spaces can be designed in such a manner that they can be used by everyone. This approach to the Smart City planning process will benefit the disabled persons. But in Bhubaneswar, a majority of the public places are not barrier free. Lack of disabled friendly toilets in public places is a big barrier for the disabled. However, there are proposals to provide barrier -free access in Government buildings in the city. These include the Jaydev Bhavan, Hare Krishna Mahatab State Library, the Heads of Departments Building, State Museum, Secretariat, Capital Hospital, Commissionerate Police, Rabindra Mandap, Rajdhani College, BJB Autonomous College and the Rajiv Bhawan. The Indira Gandhi Park and the Biju Patnaik Park are also included in the list. Besides, a set of design guidelines should be prepared in the Smart City planning process.
All public buildings, public places and all connecting routes should be designed to allow barrier-free access and mobility for the disabled. It is highly recommended to implement the policies that will help the persons with disability to move and work in a safe environment. In the Smart City planning process, the barrier- free city map can be prepared and made available in the internet and people with disabilities can use it to create their own barrier-free route for reaching their desired destination quickly and safely without anybody’s help.
At least 2-5 per cent of the residential buildings in the city should be made accessible to persons with disabilities by providing, disabled-friendly lifts, toilets as well as signage. In order to meet the need of the particularly disabled people in housing, the house should be as barrier-free as possible. Before building any apartment house for the handicapped, it is advisable to note street conditions and access to transportation. Besides, small-scale modifications within the housing complexes like provision of ramps for wheel chair may be required to get in and out of their homes. For the convenience of wheelchair-bound persons, the authority should provide lifts and widen the doorway for them as far as practicable.
The Government of India has taken the responsibility of providing the optimal environment to ensure full participation of the persons with disabilities.In this context, the Government has introduced a number of programmes, schemes and facilities for the welfare of the disabled. Urban local bodies, development authorities and other State departments are responsible for creating barrier-free built environment in towns and cities. Amendment of building by-laws is the most important step towards creation of barrier-free built environment in different cities and the guidelines for barrier-free environment may be referred from the Bureau of Indian Standards, the Ministry of Urban Development guidelines etc. The barrier-free design guidelines will help considerably towards greater independence of not only wheelchair users, but also hopefully, the elderly, the visually or hearing impaired, children, and indeed, a broad spectrum of the community.
Persons with disability are an integral part of the society. But their physical disability distinguishes them from the rest of the society. There is a need to work together with people, technical personnel and Government organisations to promote barrier-free smart development that will make the city comfortable for everyone to live and work. Builders and developers should implement disabled-friendly guidelines within and outside buildings to make them exclusively, barrier free. Many people are still unaware of the rights of the disabled people. To ensure the overall implementation of these acts, the disabled persons need to be more active and demand for proper implementation of the disabilities Act.The persons with disabilities need special care in the society. With required assistance they can contribute to the wellbeing of a nation in several ways.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2017

To raise awareness and trigger action to end violence against women, the UN observes the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25.  The theme for this year is ‘Leave no one behind: End violence against women and girls.’
The fear of violence in public spaces affects the everyday lives of women as it restricts their movement and freedom to exert their right as citizens of the city – freedom to move, study, work, and leisure. Women, particularly those living in low income settlements, feel unsafe in their settlements after dark.  There is no Indian city which provides 100 per cent safe spaces for women in their own neighbourhood and public places.
A total of 34,651 rape cases were reported in India in 2015. As many as 2,251 rape cases were reported in Odisha and Odisha was fifth among the 36 States and Union Territories in the country in terms of the number of rape cases registered in 2015.  Apart from rape, Odisha in 2015 also registered 6,499 cases of assault on women with intent of outraging modesty, 356 dowry death cases, 886 sexual harassment cases, 2,587 cases of kidnapping and abduction of women and 225 cases of stalking as per the National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB) report.However, the State witnessed a fall in rape cases in 2016 with 2,144 cases. The women and girls in Bhubaneswar are not safe in different public and work places. This has come several times in newspaper headlines and media. In Bhubaneswar Urban Police District, there were 72 rape cases reported in 2014 against 51 in 2013, 56 in 2012 and 35 in 2011.
The number of rape cases in the State capital has also increased in 2015 as compared to 2014. 87 rape cases were registered in Bhubaneswar in 2015 as compared to 72 in 2014. These are the examples of lack of safety initiatives for women and girls in the community. Besides, gender-based violence is present at various levels, beginning with discrimination in education, employment and wages.The State Capital Bhubaneswar leads in the Smart city race. A city cannot be smart and sustainable, if women and girls are not safe and lives in fear of violence.
International cities either have implemented or are experimenting with smart technologies in the areas of intelligent transport management systems and public safety. In February 2015, Bhubaneswar has taken the initiative to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at different locations of the city. It is the first of its kind initiative in Odisha and is being utilized as a tool to control crime and enhance traffic movement in Bhubaneswar. But despite the fact women still don’t feel safe as these have been implemented partially in some places, the Smart City Bhubaneswar should be inclusive and equitable. It is important for the policymakers to adopt a gender-inclusive urban plan. Smart City will generate options for all residents to pursue their livelihoods and interests meaningfully. This refers to a city’s ability to create employment opportunities, social sustainability, environmental sustainability, safety and security.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. Over the past decade, many States have introduced laws addressing various forms of violence against women. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 provides protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and for prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment. The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles.There are also several sections of the Indian Penal Code that deal with sexual harassment. In spite of legal measures, violence against women has not yet completely eliminated.
Planning and designing safe public spaces for women and girls means creating public spaces with urban design features that enhance women’s safety. Urban design is not only about making places look good and aesthetically pleasing, it is also about functionality of the space.Therefore while designing safe public spaces for women, planners, architects and urban designers place special focus on lighting, landscaping, visibility, motorized traffic, pedestrian traffic, urban furniture, signage, proximity to other public spaces, and proximity to emergency services and access to public transportation. If public spaces are dark, abandoned, unclean, or lacking certain elements like emergency phone booths etc., the spaces are potentially unsafe for everybody. Therefore, there is an increased chance that women and girls will not use spaces where they feel fear or experience violence.
Local authorities and city management have a crucial role to play in the prevention of violence against women, both in public and private spaces. A safe city for women and girls is a city where women and girls can enjoy public spaces and public life without fear of being assaulted. Safer Cities Programmes can be organized in different cities which will contribute to a better understanding of gender-based violence on the city level and the development of adequate tools to prevent it. City planning affects the sustainability, accessibility, usability, design and quality of places. Gender-sensitive city planning and design can help to make cities safer for women. These types of planning take into account the practical and strategic needs of women and girls and include women in design, implementation and evaluation of planning projects. Architects, urban designers and planners can take up responsibilities and play a key role in improving the situation of women by designing safe neighbourhood and safe public spaces for women and girls.

World Toilet Day 2017


The World Toilet Day is celebrated on November 19. At the global level, the central role of access to water and sanitation for sustainable development is now fully confirmed with the formal adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by the UN General Assembly. By 2030, the SDGs aim to reach everyone with sanitation, and halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase recycling and safe reuse. The theme for 2017 is “wastewater”.
Odisha is among the lowest-performing State in terms of latrine coverage. In 2011, 85 per cent of rural households defecated in the open and latrine coverage increased marginally by seven percentage points between 2001 and 2011, reaching 22 per cent. Those that own a latrine often do not use it regularly. The Government of Odisha has introduced a new Urban Sanitation Policy 2017. This policy defines a clear vision and goal to make all cities and towns in the State totally clean, sanitised and safe managed by ULBs with active citizen and stakeholder participation.There is no sewerage system in most of the towns in Odisha at present. Most of the households discharge the sewage into natural drains and waterways causing serious public health and environmental hazards to the people.
Sanitation in India is a State subject. State-level steering committees and urban departments play the role of guidance and support to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) which are responsible for final implementation of sanitation at the local level. Bhubaneswar’s growth is faster than the State’s urban growth rate. Along with Bhubaneswar’s urban growth, there is a simultaneous growth and expansion of the slum population and its slum areas. While 18 per cent households have individual latrines, only two per cent households have access to community toilets. There are 91 community toilets available in 31 slums. Water supply to toilets, both household and public, remains a major problem. Waste disposal for these toilets remains a concern.Only 20 per cent of slums are within 50 metres of an existing sewerage network, while 71 per cent are beyond 100 meters. Therefore connecting the toilets to sewerage network is very difficult.
Bhubaneswar has 124 public toilets across the city. Till 2016, the number of public toilets in the city was 65 but due to the civic body’s toilet building initiatives, the number nearly doubled in a year. Besides, modern public toilets, proposed under the Ama Sauchalaya scheme, are taken up by Sulabh International.
Even as Bhubaneswar was ranked the top Smart City, the city had obtained less mark in the service category, such as provision of public and community toilets. The city scored to 24th rank in cleanliness among the 73 cities rated under Swachh Sarvekshan (cleanliness survey) conducted by the Center and this year it scored 94 rank.The rate of open defecation in slum areas continues to be high and the civic body has committed to spend more on information, education and communication (IEC) to educate people about the importance of using toilets. Besides, the Swachh Bharat Mission cell of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation is working towards making Odisha capital an open defecation-free (ODF) city by 2019.
Though the number of toilets has increased significantly, the municipal corporation has faced repeated complaints from citizens regarding lack of water supply in some toilets. Despite the doubling of numbers in public toilets, many areas continue to see people defecating in the open. The city has failed to maintain proper sanitation systems and provide enough public toilets for its ever-growing population.Majority of the existing systems for sewage collection and treatment are not functioning well. It is obvious that the existing sewerage system needs major augmentation to almost full extent to ensure full coverage of the population and future wastewater generation.
Wastewater is discharged through outfalls into the Gangua nala and finally to Daya river. Only part of the generated sewage flows through closed conduits, and a major quantity flows through the open drains (10). The drain No.1 opens into the Kuakhai river and the remaining 9 open drains (Nos.2-10) to Gangua.  Most of the city roads have open drains. However, their functioning is hindered by blockages due to solid wastes dumped in drains. Narrow drains, drains with improper slopes or non-existence of drains in some areas have caused flooding and water logging, thus increasing the risk of diseases like malaria etc. Existing drains are also used to carry effluents from latrine pits as well as from septic tanks. In a few pockets, a raw sewage was also being discharged in the drains from the latrine pits. Connections from houses to drains are also not properly done in many places causing spilling of such wastewater on roads or nearby areas.
Qualities of life largely depend on safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Therefore in addition to the construction of   toilets, the sanitation system should cover the removal, transport and safe treatment or disposal of excreta. Discharging untreated sewage into any drains other than an underground sewerage system, or into open land, is an offence and invites prosecution under the laws of all Pollution Control Boards in the country. The disposal of sewage should be done in a safe and sustainable way to achieve improved sanitation for all. Besides, sewage must be treated properly and then re-used/re-cycled for various uses that do not need potable water quality.

World Town Planning Day 2017


The World Town Planning Day (WTPD) is held on November 8 in 30 countries, including India, to recognise and promote the role of planning in creating livable communities and sustainable urbanization. An international organisation for the WTPD was founded in 1949 by late Prof Carlos Maria della Paolera of the University of Buenos Aires.
Bhubaneswar as the capital city has attracted migrants from both rural and urban areas for better opportunity for business and employment. There is not enough provision for the housing and other infrastructural facility for the migrant people in the city. They suffer from poor living and working conditions, social isolation, poor access to basic amenities, while most of them settled down in slum pockets. As per 1941 Census, only three percent of the total population in Odisha lived in cities and towns as against 13.86 per cent for India. In 2011 census, the proportion of population living in the urban areas of the State stood at 16.68 per cent as compared to 31.16 per cent for the country. Odisha ranks 31st in the list of most urbanized States of the country, while in terms of actual urban population, the State ranks 11th in the list of States with the largest urban population.
The National Commission on Urbanization (NCU) has, in its policy proposal of 1988, stressed the need for (1) evolution of a spatial pattern of economic development and hierarchies of human settlements, (2) optimum distribution of population between rural and urban settlements, and among towns and cities of various sizes, (3) distribution of economic activities in small and medium-sized growth centres and provision of minimum levels of services in urban and rural areas.
The other major development programmes include (i) Urban Basic Services for the Poor (UBSP) programme, (ii) Environmental Improvement of Urban Slums (EIUS) programme, (iii) Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns (IDSMT) (iv) various housing and infrastructure financing schemes of Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), (v) Mega Cities Project, and (vi) Integrated Urban Poverty Eradication Programme (IUPEP). In India, the Government is embarking on phase 2 of a major national initiative to improve urban living conditions. It seeks to consolidate the impacts of the national urban flagship programme – JNNURM targeting urban poverty, infrastructure, and local government policies, and Rajiv Awas Yojana(RAY) for the urban poor.  The RAY aims at supporting States to provide security of tenure to slum dwellers, and finance city-wide slum free strategies.
India has formulated a number of urban policies in the last decade but despite these initiatives, there are still examples of slum housing in the country. Odisha is one of the pioneering States in implementing various urban reforms in the country. The Directorate of Town Planning is the nodal agency for all urban planning related activities in the State. The State Government has initiated the preparation of master plans / CDPs for the various development areas in urban Odisha. During 2015-16, Comprehensive Development Plans (CDP) using GIS technologies have been taken up for the development areas under nine Development Authorities and consultants have been engaged. Among the nine development authorities, the BDA, the CDA, the BeDA and the KNDA have completed the preparation of CDPs and have secured approval of the Government (HUD department). For the remaining five development authorities, the draft CDP has been prepared. A draft GIS based master plan for Jharsuguda Regional Improvement Trust (JRIT) has already been completed.
Preparation of GIS based master plan for the next 11 towns are being undertaken. Master plans for five towns i.e. Bhadrak, Baleswar, Baripada, Keonjhar and Barbil are under progress by the identified consultants. For the remaining six towns, consultants have been selected.  The digital data base for further twenty towns is being prepared by the ORSAC. As per the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, the State Government has already devolved 18 functions enumerated in the 12th schedule of the Constitution to the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Out of the 18 functions, 12 functions were already being exercised by the ULBs even before the initiation of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act. After introduction of the JNNURM, as part of its commitment, the State Government in principles has already transferred six functions, i. e. urban planning including town planning, land use and construction of building, urban forestry, water supply, fire service and safeguarding the interest of the weaker section of the society including the handicapped and mentally retarded.
Many communities are successfully using planning approaches that aim to use existing resources more effectively and minimize the impact of development on the environment. There is a need to work on several areas to manage the problems of urbanization, including inclusive cities, urban governance, funding, planning and capacity building. Sustainable future cities should be places where all residents through inclusive and equitable opportunities feel satisfied with their level of well-being.
To achieve this it is crucial to integrate the three dimensions of sustainability such as, social development, economic development and environmental management –based on the foundation of urban governance. The economic system should facilitate the creation of decent jobs. Social system should provide services that fulfill basic human needs such as access to safe water supply and sanitation, health and education. In addition, the social system should ensure peoples prosperity and security, and should also offer ample opportunities for every citizen to participate in society.
The environmental management system should provide clean air and water to all. It should also provide sufficient amenities and leisure opportunities so that people can enjoy a good quality of life. To achieve sustainable urban development, the Development Plans/Master Plans as well as Zonal Plans and Local Area Plans should be made and updated regularly. Master plan for the towns is essential for the preparation and monitoring the land use control. Comprehensive Development Plan is also required for town planning and to provide basic infrastructure to people. The role of the town planner is to create appropriate and sustainable living environments. Regional planning and growth management planning are planning approaches that help communities to accommodate future growth while using their resources effectively. To manage the transformation of Odisha’s cities and towns and effectively manage new growth, it requires well-organized planning procedure and effective legislation. Besides good planning and design decisions require appropriate infrastructure technology and the institutional capacity to enforce decisions.

World Cities Day 2017


The United Nations World Cities Day on October 31 is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. The adoption of the day is essential in developing a culture and a consciousness about the importance of cities in our daily lives. It is unfortunate that, for too long, the negative aspects of cities and urbanization have dominated the public policy, highlighting the accumulation of poverty, inadequate housing, traffic congestion, pollution and insecurity in the streets.
This year, the United Nations has selected the theme ‘Innovative Governance, Open Cities’ to highlight the important role of urbanization as a source of global development and social inclusion. Innovation is a creative idea or act of conceiving and implementing a new way of achieving result or performing work. Furthermore, innovation in public administration also entails development of new policy designs and new standard operating procedures by public organisations to address public policy problems.
Of the 121 crore Indians, 83.3 crore live in rural areas while 37.7 crore stay in urban areas, as per the 2011 Census. The absolute increase in population is more in urban areas than in rural areas. The level of urbanisation increased from 27.81 per cent in the 2001 Census to 31.16 per cent in the 2011 Census, while the rural population declined from 72.19 per cent to 68.84 per cent. Of the total population of Odisha, 83.32 per cent live in rural areas and 16.68 per cent in urban areas. As per the Slum Census 2011, India recorded a 37.14 per cent decadal growth in the number of ‘slum’ households. Almost two-thirds of statutory towns in India have ‘slums’ and a total of 13.75 million households live in them. Census 2011 data reveals that 36 per cent of households in informal settlements do not have basic facilities of electricity, tap water, and sanitation within house premises. As per Census 2011, over 27 per cent of urban residents live in rental accommodation, most of which is informal.
Most low income residents do not enjoy security of tenure over their land and housing. A recent State-wide estimate by a technical group on urban housing shortage says there is a shortfall of about 4.10 lakh housing units in Odisha. Besides lack of affordable housing leads to slums in many parts of the State. It is further estimated that approximately 3.60 lakh affordable dwelling units would have to be added in the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack region exclusively to accommodate the growth during next 10 years. The LIG and EWS sections count more than 90 per cent of the total housing shortage. Now, over 30 per cent of Bhubaneswar’s population lives in slums. According to a BMC report, the total slum population is 3,08,614 and total household units are 60,612. Increase in land value, cost of construction and lack of affordability for the people are the major reasons for the shortage of housing in Bhubaneswar. It has been observed that there are more numbers of HIG and MIG housing in the central part of the city and also in the periphery. Compared to this, LIG and EWS housings are very few.
Urban human settlements require a more inclusive approach to planning and land management to sustain all the people who live in the settlement.     The Government of India has formulated the National Urban Sanitation Policy, National Urban Transport Policy and National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy in view of rapidly increasing urban population. The Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission launched in December 2005 and the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat approved recently address issues relating to sustainable urban development.
A national policy is required on urbanisation which will ensure a balanced urban growth. It is necessary to provide proper infrastructural facilities to the people and address the problem of growing slum and squatter settlements. New areas need to be carefully planned through the system of master plans and zoning regulations.
Better town planning is necessary along with strict enforcement of laws which restrict unplanned An innovative trend in Government offers tremendous opportunity for good governance in our country.  Governance is the enabling environment that requires adequate legal frameworks, efficient political, managerial and administrative processes to enable the local Government response to the needs of citizens. For a better public administrative mechanism, it is important to have innovations in public institutions. It has to minimize procedural delays and reduce the administrative burden, thereby enhancing public satisfaction and increasing efficiency and effectiveness of public administration. In our constitutional system, every person is entitled to equality before law and equal protection under the law. In a federal democracy, decentralization of power is viewed as necessary to empower people in rural and urban areas to improve their living condition. The empowerment of the local levels of administration would foster confidence and enable more individuals even outside the bureaucracy to come forward to handle community needs. Following the 74th amendment to the constitution, constitutional status has been vested upon urban local bodies (ULBs) and specific civic responsibilities allocated to them. Schedule 12 of the constitution provides a list of subjects under the purview of ULBs. The list includes urban planning, regulation of land use, construction of buildings, roads and bridges, water supply, sanitation and solid waste management, environment, and the provision of urban public amenities and conveniences.
India has, over the past years, directed its development pathway to meet its priorities of employment, economic growth, food, water and energy security, and poverty alleviation. However, emerging challenges of climate change impacts, increasing inequities, and lagging human development indices are well recognized by both the citizens as well as the government. It is time to plan and design sustainable urbanization. The advantages of urbanization are enormous and they can contribute to the solutions to many of the problems the country is facing today. Sustainable urbanization and innovative governance can create jobs and offer better livelihoods, increase economic growth, improve social inclusion, protect local and regional ecosystems and reduce both urban and rural poverty.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2017


The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17 presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard and a moment to recognize that poor people are the first ones to fight against poverty. The 2017 theme is Answering the call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies.
According to the Census of India, 2011, Odisha has a population of about 42 million, with 83.31 per cent living in rural and 16.69 per cent living in urban areas. Odisha stands second among the 14 States in the country with highest incidence of poverty after Bihar. While Bihar topped the list with registering highest 33.34 per cent of poor people, Odisha followed with 32.59 per cent by 2011-12. The incidence of poverty had been 54.40 per cent and 57.20 per cent in Bihar and Odisha, respectively, in 2004-05. However, Odisha has expressed satisfaction that it has recorded the highest reduction in poverty among all major States between 2004-05 and 20-11-12  and the Odisha Economic Survey (OES) -2013-14 , prepared by the Planning and Coordination Department, described the achievement  as impressive.
The State has an agriculture-based economy which is in transition towards an industry and service-based economy. The workers’ participation ratio in Odisha at 41.8 per cent was slightly higher than 39.8 per cent at the national level in 2011. The share of marginal workers in the total workforce increased substantially from 33 per cent in 2001 to 39 per cent in 2011, while the share of main workers declined from 67 per cent in 2001 to 61 percent in 2011.
 The share of total workers in the agricultural sector, i.e., both cultivators and agricultural workers declined from 64.7 per cent in 2001 to 61.8 per cent in 2011. This indicates that, although the majority of population in the State still depends on agriculture directly or indirectly, the State economy has been diversifying and there is a shift moving away from the agricultural sector to non-farm sectors. As per the Planning Commission of India, the KBK districts are the most backward regions of Odisha. Though these areas are said to be mineral rich regions but unfortunately people struggle to fulfil the basic necessities of life. There are more than 87 per cent of its people of KBK districts live below the poverty line. They suffer from varied socio-economic problems like, poverty, malnutrition and starvation.
Odisha witnesses wide regional, social and general disparities in development. The issues of poverty and inequality across the State are results of imbalanced development. All regions have not shared the gains of development in an equitable manner. With a view to addressing the problem of regional disparities and expediting development of interior tribal dominated districts, the Government has implemented a series of development programmes.  The poverty alleviation programmes in India can be categorized based on whether it is targeted for rural areas or urban areas. Most of the programmes are designed to target rural poverty as prevalence of poverty is high in rural areas.
Also targeting poverty is challenging in rural areas due to various geographic and infrastructure limitations. During the Sixth and Seventh Five Year Plans, programmes like Integrated Rural Development Programme, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme etc. have started with a view to eliminate poverty in the rural sector. These development initiatives aim at faster development of the backward regions of the State. Poverty can be eliminated by providing more employment opportunities so that people may be able to meet their basic needs. For this purpose, labour intensive rather than capital intensive techniques can help to solve the problem to a greater extent.
Rural and urban poverty should not be seen as separate entities but an integrated one to be tackled through urban development strategy. Rural development has assumed global attention especially among the developing nations. It has great significance for a country like India where 65 per cent of the people live in rural areas. Rural development in India is one of the most important factors for economic growth.
Agriculture contributes nearly one-fifth of the gross domestic product. To increase the growth of agriculture, the Government has planned several programmes. Agriculture, handicrafts, fisheries, poultry and dairy are the primary contributors to the rural economy.
Despite introduction of several anti poverty programmes to achieve inclusive growth, there is no evidence of higher rate of decline in poverty. There is a need to review and re-examine issues relating to poverty and it is the primary responsibility of the Governments to take up appropriate programmes and policies in the context of liberal economic reforms in order to reduce the poverty and achieve the inclusive growth in Odisha.
Economic growth in India has to be inclusive in order to make it sustainable. Urban planners and economic development planners may derive smarter policies to increase opportunities for economic growth and development. The master plan should be prepared for the Smart Village keeping in view various resources available in the village. This would include economic development, infrastructural development and other aspects of human development i.e., education, health, drinking water supply etc.
The Institute of Town Planners, India, in the year 1995 conducted a study to detail out urban development plans formulation and implementation (UDPFI) guidelines. The UDPFI guidelines suggest various institutional support mechanisms that would help in achieving rural urban integration. Adequate infrastructure such as transportation, communication, energy and basic services is the backbone of the urban-rural development linkage approach. The initiation in Odisha must begin right from the backward regions like KBK areas. Development policies that facilitate these rural-urban linkages can promote income generation activities.

International Day for Disaster Reduction 2017


The International Day for Disaster Reduction was started in 1989, after a call by the United Nations General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Held on every October 13, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.
“Home Safe Home” is the slogan for International Day for Disaster Reduction in 2017. Odisha has been reeling under contrasting extreme weather conditions. The Odisha Super Cyclone of 1999 killed 8,913 people and caused huge damage to the infrastructure of the State. In that cyclone, 14 districts got affected. More than 10 million people were affected by the cyclone.  Approximately 2, 75,000 homes were destroyed, and 18, 43,047 hectares of cropped area was heavily damaged. This has disturbed the eco-system leading to increasing frequency and increasing scale of floods and droughts. Besides, the impact of cyclone Phailin that struck Odisha on October12, 2013 was felt across 17 districts of the State. The 1999 Super Cyclone affected places like Bhubaneswar and Nayagarh, which were never traditionally cyclone-prone.
In terms of cyclone occurrence, six districts (Baleswar, Bhadrak, Ganjam, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Puri) stretching over a 480 km coastline have been categorized as a high risk zone according to the Vulnerability Atlas of India. Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) reports that the total area (i.e. 100 per cent) of Baleswar and Kendrapada districts is prone to wind velocity (50 and 55 m/s) due to the cyclonic storms, and 46.3 per cent area in Baleswar and 35.5 per cent in Kendrapada are flood-prone.
Vulnerability of the population living along the coastline is further exacerbated by the lack of safe shelter, effective early warning systems and insufficient community awareness on how to prepare for disasters. About 70 per cent of the total cultivated areas in the State are prone to drought. These areas lack not only irrigation facilities but also receive scanty rainfall. In some areas, rainfall, though plenty, is erratic. In the year 1998 the State of Odisha faced an unprecedented heat wave situation, as a result of which 2,042 persons lost their lives.
Bhubaneswar city is highly vulnerable to urban flooding, moderate earthquake and cyclone hazards. Bhubaneswar has been selected as one of the eight cities in India for implementing the Climate Risk Management Project on a pilot basis under the framework of the Urban Disaster Risk Reduction project of GOI-UNDP. The ongoing Government of India (GOI)-UNDP Disaster Risk Reduction Programme aims to strengthen the capacities of Government, communities and institutional structures by undertaking DRR activities at various levels and develop preparedness for recovery.
Hazard mapping and analysis helps in identifying areas that are prone to various hazards – both in terms of intensity and in terms of probability. This also facilitates the city in taking appropriate site-specific short, medium, and long-term mitigation measures, which include both structural and non-structural measures. It would also help the city administration to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities in the city development process.
The India Disaster Response Network is a nation-wide electronic inventory of specialist and essential resources for disaster response. Internet based tools are also gaining popularity in disaster risk management efforts. The primary focus is to enable the decision makers to get details of readily available and updated information about equipment and human resources required to combat any emergency situation.
Preparatory work (data collection, research and analysis of available documentation), formulation of the risk-sensitive land use plan, advocacy campaigns,  drafting of zoning ordinance,  formulating and implementing building codes for a particular region based on the region’s vulnerability are determined at the local level where the disaster has the greatest impact. After collection of data and information, data processing and analysis is required.
Within this process planners can work with communities and technical staff to identify risks in the planning area, and evaluate the severity of these.  Risk management can take place within the plan formulation phase of the planning process. Based on the risk assessment and evaluation, specific risk management measures can be identified and incorporated in the plan. These measures can include land use zoning based on flood maps or other risks, provisions based on expected rainfall or storm activity and designation of protected areas such as wetlands and mangroves which can greatly reduces floods and storm surges. In this way, the stages of the disaster risk management process are systematically included in the land use planning development.
Mainstreaming disaster risk management into development planning can lower the impact of disasters on property and lives. A land-use  planning (LUP) is an essential planning tool for successful and systematic DRR. There is a need to regulate the location of land uses and activities for DRR. Land use plans provide policy makers and planners with a tool whereby both exposure and vulnerability of assets and communities can be reduced.
For the current land use planning practice in Odisha, a systematic, purposeful incorporation of DRR into land use planning is required. Such effort will allow planners to identify hazards and areas of high risk, and to identify and implement measures to reduce that risk. Besides the elements required for land use planning must be given importance. These include regulation of population densities and locations, location of buildings at risk and preparation of hazard maps.
Municipalities and development authorities need to ensure good coordination of activities between all key agencies involved in development projects and plan implementation. More importantly, building codes, zoning measures and urban planning techniques, for example, are difficult to enforce when people occupy land illegally. Therefore, illegal encroachment of land should be restricted.
The hazard maps are overlain on the boundary map of the planning unit to determine what areas are affected. Maps for each administrative unit at appropriate scales shall include topographic or base maps, boundary maps, hazard maps and land use classification maps etc. The building codes of the city need to be reviewed in light of the hazards in the region. There should be a mechanism in the city to monitor the adherence to building codes and land use norms to reduce the impact of natural disasters.