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, with one third of these urban inhabitants living in very poor conditions in slums. Estimates indicate that more than 1.5 million Indians die each year from respiratory illnesses caused by the high levels of air pollution. The urban population is currently growing by 2.3 per cent a year. It is estimated that by 2050 the number of people living in India’s cities will have increased by about 400 million. 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 wastewater management, and with managing waste from private households and from industry. German support has also already played a part, for example, in creating better access to sanitation for some 105 million people.

Thanks to Germany’s engagement, around 36 million people are benefiting from 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 regeneration. 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 climate-friendly urban transport. In 2019, an Indo-German Green Urban Mobility Partnership was launched. Under this new partnership, over a period of five years the BMZ will provide India with state-subsidised loans amounting to one billion euros.

The focus of this support is assisting selected Indian states and cities in developing (energy-)efficient and sustainable mobility solutions. These are solutions that have a positive impact on the climate, are cost effective and easily implemented, and enable a smooth transfer between different forms of passenger transport (rail, bus) 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 and is not able to keep pace with the rising volume of private road users. The transport sector is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases and air pollution in many of India’s cities is already an acute problem and a health hazard.

The Green Urban Mobility Partnership ‎will contribute to the sustainable transformation of mobility. Thanks to the support from Germany, public transport systems (metros, electric buses, water taxis) will be able to carry almost ten million additional passengers a day. And more than 500,000 people will be able to enjoy better cycle paths and footpaths. In addition, the BMZ is supporting the efforts of selected cities and federal states to make town planning sustainable and develop intelligent solutions with a view to facilitating electromobility and enabling more people to get around by bike and on foot.

As at: 02/08/2022