Busy market streets with colorful houses, buildings and crowds of people, rickshaws near Jama Masjid in Old part of New Delhi, India


This research report reviews and analyses India’s planning and urban development policy documents for the last twenty years, identifying the key ideas and policies that have shaped the delivery of public services, paying particular attention to education and healthcare.

This report also presents city profiles for two of India’s cities: Delhi and Madurai.

This report is written by the National Institute of Urban Affairs.

Key messages

India, one of the fastest growing economies of the world, has witnessed a deceleration in the growth of population during the last three decades, dismissing the spectre of over-urbanisation.

Urbanisation in India is increasingly becoming exclusionary in nature. The past two decades have witnessed a systematic decline in the share of rural to urban migration in India’s cities.

Public spending on health is still very low. Although this is not the case for education sector, both sectors suffer from a lack of holistic and integrated approach to ensure an efficient and effective system of delivery. Further, there has been an increasing dependency on the private sector in both cases. This can be attributed to the lack of adequate and quality services in the public sector which has adversely impacted the urban poor.

A holistic and integrated development approach and coordination among different stakeholders is essential for Delhi and Madurai to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and become a model of learning and healthy cities in India.