Commuters in Mumbai's subway, India

Priority area Sustainable urban development Increasing quality of life in cities, promoting climate-friendly mobility

Approximately one third of India's population lives in urban areas, and nearly half of these urban inhabitants live in very poor conditions in slums. According to estimates, India's urban population will grow by about 400 million by 2050. But the cities are already unable to provide enough additional infrastructure to keep pace with these growing numbers. That is why Germany is supporting programmes for sustainable urban development and climate-friendly urban mobility that the Indian government is carrying out nationwide.

These numerous government initiatives include a Smart Cities Initiative and a programme to clean up the Ganges River. German development cooperation activities in urban areas are concerned with sanitation and with the management of wastewater and waste from private households and from industry. German support has already played a part, for example, in creating better access to sanitation for some 102 million people.

And around 36 million people are benefiting from Germany's efforts to contribute to improved municipal management. In the field of urban planning and urban governance, officials at the national, state and local levels are being advised on matters such as spatial planning, social housing policies and slum upgrading. What is more, Germany is supporting India's efforts to make urban energy supply technically and economically efficient, socially and environmentally sustainable, and climate resilient.

Green urban mobility

By far the biggest area of activity in the priority area of cooperation “Sustainable urban development” is urban transport, which is to be made climate friendly and universally accessible. In 2019, an Indo-German Green Urban Mobility Partnership was launched. Under this new partnership, the BMZ is providing India with reduced-interest loans amounting to one billion euros over a period of five years.

The focus of this support is on assisting selected Indian states and cities in developing (energy-)efficient and sustainable mobility solutions that also take account of the needs of vulnerable population groups. These are solutions that have a positive impact on the climate (for instance through increased reliance on electric vehicles), are cost effective and easily implemented, and enable a smooth transfer between different forms of passenger transport (rail, bus, rickshaw, ferry) and non-motorised individual forms of transport (walking, cycling).

The rate of motorisation in India is currently increasing five times as fast as the population is growing; the transport infrastructure in many cities is already overwhelmed. Moreover, the transport sector is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, and air pollution is already an acute problem and a health hazard in many of India's cities. Estimates indicate that more than 1.5 million Indians die each year from respiratory illnesses.

The Green Urban Mobility Partnership contributes to the sustainable transformation of mobility. More than two million people are already benefiting daily from the expansion of public transport systems (metros, electric buses, ferries) that was accomplished with German support. Over 200,000 people now have access to improved cycle paths and footpaths.

As at: 06/06/2023