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Lessons from Navi Mumbai – A success story of sustainable urbanization

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By Subhankar Mitra

The idea of creating a new city as a counter magnet to Mumbai was originally envisaged in the Regional Plan of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in 1965. The actual planning process of this new city began in 1971 after the formation of CIDCO, a Government-owned company for development of cities.

The initiative was spearheaded by renowned architect Charles Correa and a specialist team of planners, including Shirish Patel, Pravina Mehta and Chief Planner R. K. Jha. Their vision was to create a combination of 14 mini towns or nodes, each to be provided with connectivity through well-designed roads, and later on through railway networks. Recently, the metro system was added to the original master plan.

Infrastructure such as water supply, power, sewerage and rain water discharge was meticulously designed. The concept of holding ponds helped in preventing the inundation of streets and buildings even during heavy monsoon rains. Thanks to this planned approach, the quality of infrastructure at Navi Mumbai today is much better than in most parts of Greater Mumbai.

Navi Mumbai was added as the last mega settlement zone of the MMR region in ‘70s; other cities and conurbations already existed prior to the creation of this satellite city. Today, Navi Mumbai’s success as a city is vouchsafed by its tremendous growth over time. In a span of four decades, it has not only caught up with the existing settlements but has also become the second-largest settlement city within MMR in terms of population share. In the last decade, Navi Mumbai has grown at an incredible speed of 88%, which is the highest growth rate in the region.

Despite its fast growth, Navi Mumbai continues to be defined by a spatial openness which cannot be found anywhere else in MMR. Even given its high growth rate and burgeoning population size, the population density in Navi Mumbai – about one-third of the density of Greater Mumbai – is the lowest among all cities in the MMR region. This is one of Navi Mumbai’s key defining aspects and biggest USP as a real estate market – the quality of life available in this city.

Navi Mumbai also ranks high in terms of social indicators like literacy rate, which is over 95% among its predominantly middle-income population, as well as social and civic infrastructure.

The success of Navi Mumbai can be largely attributed to the efficient integration of economic activities and infrastructure. Even before the development of the city, there were two major industrial clusters in existence here, namely TTC and Kalamboli. The new plan envisaged growth of a new commercial district at CBD Belapur, an IT and Technology node at Mahape, wholesale and retail activity at Vashi, etc. All these economic nodes were later on integrated with the residential nodes by way of road and railway networks, and a good public transport system.

As the human capital in the city grew, it started gathering strength in the knowledge sector as well. Today, the city boasts of many additional economic anchors such DAKC, Mind Space, Reliance Corporate Park and Siemens, to name a few. The only disappointment was CBD Belapur, which failed to attract the corporate sector from South Mumbai as initially envisaged. Today, CBD Belapur in fact faces huge competition from Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai.

What The Future Holds

Navi Mumbai is now poised at the next stage of transition, which is likely to be by way of expansion of its services sector. The city already has most key ingredients like good human capital, support infrastructure and land availability to become a strong service sector hub. What it lacks is faster and smoother connectivity with the existing commercial hubs of Greater Mumbai, particularly the suburbs. Without such linkage, there are definitely pitfalls to a smooth transition for Navi Mumbai’s economy.

There are two new major economic drivers are planned for Navi Mumbai – the proposed SEZs at Dronagiri, Ulwe and Kalamboli and the proposed international airport at Panvel. Both of these factors are expected to generate a massive amount of employment, providing a further impetus to the demand for commercial and residential developments.

The successive regional plans of MMR have laid emphasis on the further decongestion of Greater Mumbai. It is the high congestion premium that makes Greater Mumbai unaffordable, which is also under crushing pressure on its infrastructure, a victim to irreversible damage to its environment and overall degradation of quality of life.

The way forward for a more sustainable future of Greater Mumbai is to initiate a planning process that integrates it more closely and intensely with surrounding cities like Navi Mumbai. Only such measures will provide a vent-out for the crunched-up population out of the city.

Unfortunately, the proposed Development Plan of greater Mumbai (DP 2034) actually proposes a reversal of this concept. By increasing the FSI and diverting environment sensitive zones into ‘urbanizable’ zones, the message being sent is that decongestion of the city is not a priority anymore. For the larger benefit of the region, all DPs should be in line with the philosophy of the Regional Plan. The survival of Greater Mumbai will greatly dependent on the success of cities like Navi Mumbai.

(The author is a Local Director – Strategic Consulting, JLL India)

 

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Navi Mumbai has been growing rapidly. It has become a hub for all kinds of people. Along with infrastructure, Navi Mumbai provides you with scenic beauty and peacefulness. Being a Navi Mumbaikar, I know how it feels to be here!

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Reliance Retail Set to Disrupt Amazon, Walmart-Flipkart

The eCommerce competition in India remains fierce

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Reliance Jio. Source: www.reliancejio.website

Reliance Retail’s upcoming entry into the online retail sector is the biggest challenge for Amazon and Walmart-Flipkart as the Mukesh Ambani-led behemoth is well positioned to create massive disruption in the market, a new report has stressed.

According to the global market research firm Forrester, the online retail sales in India will grow at a five-year CAGR of 25.8 per cent to reach $85 billion by 2023, despite the hiccups of demonetization in 2016, GST in 2017 and the governmental changes in eCommerce policy announced last December.

The time is ripe for Reliance Retail, which operates 10,415 stores in more than 6,600 cities, with 500 million annual footfalls – giving the company the kind of scale required to swiftly launch India-based operations.

“One of the things that will trouble Amazon and Flipkart is Reliance’s history of launching operations via massive discounts,” Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst at Forrester Research, said on Tuesday.

Reliance entered the telecom sector in 2003 with the Monsoon Hungama tariff plan, which brought tariffs for voice calls down to just Rs 0.40 a minute from the existing rate of Rs 2 a minute, followed by the launch of Jio 4G plan in 2016 that dropped data rates from Rs 250 per GB to Rs 50 per GB.

“This kind of discounting can disrupt any market, and we expect something similar to happen in the grocery space during Reliancea¿s launch,” Meena added.

Reliance is fast working on creating the world’s largest online-to-offline New Commerce Platform, according to Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries.

“Due to the recent changes in eCommerce policy and the restrictions on an inventory-led model for marketplaces with FDI, Reliance Retail is finding a favourable policy environment to launch operations where it can use its existing retail infrastructure to deliver goods to customers,” the Forrester report noted.

Reliance launched the food and grocery app among its employees in April 2019 to prepare for the commercial launch later in the year.

Reliance Retail is the largest retailer in India, with $18.7 billion in revenue during financial year 2019, and it grew at a CAGR of 55 per cent in the last five years.

Reliance Retail had $81 billion in revenue and $9.4 billion in profit during 2019.

e-commerce
Security guards stand at the reception desk of the Amazon India office in Bengaluru, India, Aug. 14, 2015. VOA

“This gives Reliance Retail access to long-term capital from the conglomerate, which has a presence in energy, petrochemicals, telecom, textiles, retail, and natural resources,” said Forrester.

Reliance Retail also has a portfolio of over 40 brands, from the midmarket to premium segments and including Hamleys (which the company has acquired for Rs 620 crore) and Marks & Spencer.

“These can provide a boost to the fashion and lifestyle segment, which will be the largest category by online spending in the coming years,” said the report.

Reliance launched its mobile business at the end of 2015, and by April 2019, it had over 300 million mobile subscribers a” making it the third-largest player in a short span of time.

Jio is building on these mobile subscribers by investing in related services to create an ecosystem that gives customers access to rich content and payments options.

This ecosystem will be available for Reliance Retail to build on.

To compete with Amazon and Flipkart, Reliance will have to significantly improve the customer experience, both in stores and on its online channel, because discounts and cashbacks will not generate loyalty for online customers a” as we saw in the Paytm Mall case.

Also Read- US Temporarily Loosens Restrictions on Huawei Products

“Removal of discounts may lead to a significant loss of buyers from the platform. The positioning of the Reliance platform and its fulfilment will play a critical role in the fight against Amazon and Flipkart,” emphasised the Forrester report.

The eCommerce competition in India remains fierce.

Amazon has been the most popular online retailer since it surpassed Flipkart in 2016, although Flipkart is still the single-largest online retailer, with 31.9 per cent market share in 2018 (38.4 per cent if you include Myntra and Jabong), closely followed by Amazon at 31 per cent. (IANS)