Worried about the swelling urban population and lack of infrastructure, the government plans to develop new urban hubs along transport and industrial corridors to accommodate the ever-growing influx to cities and towns. It plans to develop ‘ring towns’ and connect them to major growing cities with fast transport options. It also plans to develop twincities by ensuring high speed commuter rail connectivity between large ‘primate cities’ and growing secondary cities. The ambitious proposal came from the Planning Commission’s working group on urban strategic planning and aims to arrest the deteriorating living conditions in cities while also tackling future urbanization challenges in a planned manner as India moves from 31% urbanization to over 50% in the next few decades. The aim is to form a national spatial grid structure by setting up new cities along the industrial and high-tech growth corridors and transportation grid like the golden quadrilateral and other corridors to accommodate the projected 700 million urban population by the 2040s. The group also talked of strategic densification of cities to address future growth, arguing that density regulations in cities were archaic and didn’t address the needs of present day urban society. “Indian cities have the lowest Floor Space Index (FSI) in the world,” it said. The working group said the Centre should encourage states and cities to pursue this strategy for future urban development and this should go hand in hand with infrastructure development within the city, facilitated by flexible zoning. There was an urgent need to address the lack of consistent and coherent urban development policy, faulty urban planning, coupled with poor implementation that has transformed many cities into chaotic entities, the group said. A Unified Metropolitan Transit Authority for Metropolitan Areas, as a technical agency, will be established to help all planning bodies in the area, and work with the local bodies to prepare integrated transport plans.