Commuters in Mumbai's subway, India

Priority area Sustainable urban development Improving the quality of life in burgeoning cities

Approximately one third of India's population lives in urban areas; a quarter of these urban inhabitants are slum-dwellers, living in very poor conditions. Currently, the urban population is growing by 2.3 per cent a year. It is estimated that the number of people living in India's cities will grow by more than 140 million over the next fifteen years. And yet, India's cities are already unable to provide the infrastructure that their inhabitants need.

That is why the Indian government has launched numerous initiatives aimed at urban development - amongst them 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 the management of household and industrial waste. Germany also provides advisory services for urban planning and governance to officials at national, state and local levels – advising them on matters such as spatial planning, social housing policy and slum modernisation.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller during a visit to the slum of the Seemapur district, New Delhi, in April 2017

German Development Minister Gerd Müller during a visit to the slum of the Seemapur district, New Delhi, in April 2017

German Development Minister Gerd Müller during a visit to the slum of the Seemapur district, New Delhi, in April 2017

Green urban mobility

The largest area of activity by far in the field of sustainable urban development is fostering climate-friendly urban mobility. In November 2019, a declaration of intent to set up a German-Indian partnership for green urban mobility was signed. Under this new partnership, the BMZ will provide India with an amount of one billion euros over a period of five years.

In India the number of cars on the roads is currently growing five times as fast as the population is increasing. 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. It is intended that the new partnership will contribute towards transforming urban mobility. Thanks to the support provided by Germany, by 2022 public transport systems in India will be able to carry more than six million additional passengers each day. To achieve this goal, the BMZ is supporting the efforts of selected cities and federal states to achieve sustainable town planning and develop intelligent solutions with a view to facilitating electromobility and enabling more people to move around using bicycles and on foot.