India needs 3 lakh town planners by 2031

With only a few institutes offering courses in Town Planning, India has only around 5,000 qualified town planners

Town planning is a process that promotes planned, economic, scientific and artistic development of towns and cities, after passing it through stages of plan formulation, implementation and enforcement for the use of the land in an integrated manner for various activities such as residential, commercial, industrial, traffic and transportation, parks and playground. This also works in preserving the land, which are environmentally fragile to achieve sustainable and inclusive development.

According to a report of Expert Committee in Town Planning and Architecture to Energise Architecture and Town Planning Education (2011) set up by Ministry of Human Resource Development, India would need 3,00,000 town and country planners by 2031 while we have hardly 5,000 town planners at present.

“India has around 8,000 cities and towns, 600 districts besides over 4,00,000 villages, hence, even if one qualified town planner is to be deployed in these towns, we do not have the sufficient number of town planners. In addition, to meet this shortage, the job is currently being done by the non-qualified planners, resulting in haphazard planning,” said DS Meshram, president, Institute of Town Planners, India (ITPI) Council.

Lacunae at the educational level
There are only 26 institutes in India imparting town and country planning education, which is not sufficient and not in sync with the requirement. Highlighting the need for strengthening the overall education system of town planning, Meshram said that the gap will only be bridged by setting up new schools and the existing IITs and NITs should have a dedicated Planning department. Town planning in most of the institutes is taught as a part of Engineering or Architecture. The subject did not find a place in the recent All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) 2018 by MHRD. “Students pursuing town planning mostly acquire knowledge from international books highlighting western, middle-eastern and Russian town planning system. There is hardly any textbook to highlight Indian requirements, offering solutions to the complexities related to planning Indian cities,” said Arindam Biswas, assistant professor, department of Architecture and Planning, IIT Roorkee.