4. AREAS OF RESEARCH IN P. C. KHANNA* REGIONAL PLANNING WITH ...
4. AREAS OF RESEARCH IN
P. C. KHANNA*
REGIONAL PLANNING WITH
REFERENCE TO URBAN

DEVELOPMENT
Regional PlanningIts Implications and
Limitations
whole of a region or an area, however de-
sirable such an objective may be or as
1.1 Regional Planning and Develop-
is usually emphasized upon. In fact, it is
ment is obviously a very vast and complex only after a stage of development in some
subject embracing the development of every vital sectors of economy that development
aspect of human activity. On one side of in other sectors really triggers off. Com-
its wide spectrum lies the development of prehensive development of a region, in its
basic sectors of economy like Agriculture, fullest sense, is thus a staggered and un-
Forestry, Mining and Industry and lay-
ending process.
out of macro infra-structure like Irriga-
1.3 It may be relevant in this connec-
tion and Power and on the other, provi-
tion to add that, being alive to its com-
sion of physical infrastructure and services. plexities and vastness, the draft Fifth Plan
The latter could include even a micro pro-
does not treat Regional Planning as a dis-
ject like the location and design of a small tinct and self-contained subject in its own
market or shopping centre. Consequently, right and at one place. National Planning
Regional Planning involves knowledge of being nothing but Regional Planning for
well-established and yet widely diverse sub-
a country as a whole, its regional and
jects like Economics, Geography, Geology, area implications, problems and proposals
Agriculture, Planning and Design of phy-
could be said to have been brought out
sical environments, Engineering, Architec-
only at a few places in the draft Plan viz.
ture, Sociology, etc.
(a) Command Area Development under the
1.2 Considered in the context of their Chapter on Irrigation and Power, (b) Back-
gestation periods, various developmental ward and Special Areas Development in
activities which constitute Regional Deve-
Chapter 14, (c) Community Development
lopment cover an equally varying time in Chapter 1, and (d) Metropolitan Regional
spans partly due to their inherent charac-
Development in the Chapter on Urban Deve-
teristics and partly due to the varying levels lopment and Housing.
of technology, quality of human resources Formulation of a Regional Plan and
like sense of entrepreneurship, organisation Concept of a. Planning Team
and financial resources as available for a
specific field of such activity at a single
2.1 Nevertheless judging by the current
point of time. It is because of these cha-
ideology of aiming at a comprehensive Re-
racteristics and limitations of different sec-
gional Plan, there is perhaps not enough
toral activities that it is rather difficult to awareness of these limitations and con-
conceive and much less achieve in relation to straints and it appears that each of the
a single point of time a picture of balanc-
several disciplines involved in this process
ed and integrated development for the has a mixed idea of its role and functions.
* Till recently Chief (Urban Development and Housing) Planning Commission, Government
of India. Views expressed in this article are those of the author.

352
P. C. KHANNA
For example, as you are aware, for the play of sectoral activities is relevant only
last 50 years or so, the Town Planners or in some especially intimate and critical as-
Urban Planners have extended their nomen-
pects. For example, it is neither necessary
clature and functions to that of Town and nor possible to fix the desired land use for
Country Planning or Urban or Regional all the vast areas of a region before arriv-
Planning. This has been done with some ing at reasonable estimates of inter-move-
justification because of the complexities of ments that flow such uses, to plan a
urban growth and spatial pattern of hu-
network of roads and transport. Such
man settlements and because their disci-
a work could well be confined to pockets
pline covers planning of land for com-
of potential growth points. Besides such
prehensive and optimum utilisation, inter-
plans are by no means the once for all
alia, to take care of the interaction and final Plan and there is, against perfection,
movements that flow from such uses. In the oft repeated phrase "Best is the enemy
this attempt, the Town and Country Plan-
of good".
ner, therefore, tends to stray into the fear-
2.3 Therefore much against the ideo-
ed paths and usually gets himself involved logy in vogue, it may be more workable
in the intricacies of the various aspects to divide the task formulation of a Re-
of economic planning. Since, however, the gional Plan into distinct and separate
task of comprehensive Planning is beyond parts—at least two—as below—
a single individual or profession, the con-
cept of an inter-disciplinary team to under-
(i) A Plan for the development of natu-
take this work has been steadily growing.
ral resources, creation of employ-
Such a team is usually taken to mean
ment opportunities and estimating
leaders of various disciplines dealing with
the consequent population potential
various activities. This concept has led to
of that area; and
a good deal of long winding processes,
(ii) A Plan for the provision of physi-
confusion of responsibilities and frustration
cal infrastructure services and other
not only in India but perhaps all over
needs. This may need to be pro-
the world. The nature and level of work
vided either prior to or parallel within
involved in various forms of development
or subsequent to measures taken for
activity being widely different, possibly
economic development.
each one of them needs a planning team
of its own, supported further with work
2.4 In view of this, the discussion is
of specialists to deal with specific problems. confined to the second part of the
Consequently the task before the main Regional Plan and for that purpose, the
Planning team is not so much of direct main objective, scope, methodology and
planning as of co-ordination and control-
contents of such a Plan could well be
ling the limits and depths of such work limited to—
in each field. This obviously requires the
fullest knowledge and a mature undertak-
(i) A quick and broad assessment of
ing of the intricacies of comprehensive plan-
the potentialities and possibilities of
ing but since enough experience and
the area or the region as can be
know-how is as yet not available in this
ascertained on the basis and with-
direction; it is here that the matters seem
in a possible and likely range of
to go awry.
technology, quality of human re-
2.2 Further in actual effect, the inter-
sources and level of investments;

AREAS OF RESEARCH IN REGIONAL PLANNING
353
(ii) Based on this broad assessment, 'dispersed' nature, (b) because even in res-
proposals for the physical infra-
pect of other development activities like
structure and other needs such as industry, they lend themselves to dispersed
a network of transport, pattern of location because of the widespread
human settlements, services and availability of land, water and hydel
housing etc., leaving land use plan-
power, more particularly in India and (c)
ning to only of potential and vul-
because of the overhead social costs per
nerable spots;
capita and waste of human energy which
(iii) Regulatory and preventive measures are comparatively very high in large urban
which are necessary against misuse concentrations.
and damage to existing lands parti-
3.2 How is it then that, despite this
cularly against such uses which seemingly unquestionable validity of dis-
would create ecological imbalances. persed and spatially oriented development,
it is rather difficult to achieve this pattern
2.4 The task of quick and broad assess-
in actual practice and we have before us
ment of the possibilities and potentialities the examples of urban concentrations like
of an area or a region is most vital to the Tokyo, New York, London, Calcutta
preparation and workability of such a Plan and Bombay? This is due to the com-
and indicates the need for a methodology pulsions and exigencies of economic sys-
for which there is great scope of studies, tems more particularly as prevailing in
research and even of innovations and im-
countries of mixed economy. Referring to
provisation. How is the growth of an area the development of Backward Areas, the
affected by the varying levels of technologi-
Fifth Plan states—
cal inputs, sense of entrepreneurship and
level of investments? The task is perhaps
"Development of backward areas re-
almost the same as working out suitable
presents a very complex problem in
models for economic growth. Even though
planning. Market forces normally ope-
this is perhaps a well-trodden field but
rate in such a way that growth tends
apparently there are not enough ideas and
to be attracted to the already developed
knowledge which could be applied in re-
areas. The economies of agglomera-
lation to a specific area to bring out quick
tion, size and specialisation accentuate
and intelligent results. This field is, there-
the trends which widen the inequalities
fore, one where there is great scope for
between different areas, making it diffi-
meaningful research.
cult to alter the growth process in
favour of the less developed areas and
Spatial Pattern of Regional Development
to evolve policies concerning the spa-
tial allocation of resources and acti-
3.1 Now let us consider the objectives
vities".
and the assumptions on which we nor-
mally base such plans, namely, that such
3.3 An example which accepts the
plans should be spatially oriented. Such theory and play of market forces in the
an objective and assumption per se holds 'New Bombay' project—a metro centre of
good in a developing country (a) because 20 lakhs on the mainland across the Thana
here agriculture and allied activities con-
Creek to face the existing population of
tinue to be a major component of econo-
nearly 70 lakhs on the Bombay Island. It
mic growth and these are inherently of a could perhaps be said that this decision

354 P. C. KHANNA
does not fully take into account the direct
for induction of economic activity
and indirect costs likely to be involved to
at new places through the public
cope with the economic interaction and
sector to promote other develop-
intermovement over the Creek, between
ment; and
the two huge masses of population. From
some points of view, these would be un-
(c) Fiscal and taxation concessions in
avoidable, while some take the view that
favour of less developed areas and
the two cities will be so designed that they
disincentives against already develop-
would be self-contained and remain de-
ed areas.
tached from each other. These conflicting
views seemed to have so far remained un-
4.2 Such measures have been on the
reconciled but the idea which remained un-
anvil for a long time but their feasibility
questioned is that the level of future acti-
and effectiveness have left much to be de-
vities and play of market forces within this sired and need a review, e.g., it will be
area are such that they could be efficiently noted that—
discharged only by setting up a metro cen-
tre of this scale and size.
(a) Experience shows that in order that
new centres become attractive, the
3.4 Thus the apparent validity of dis-
quality of the infrastructure has to be
persed location is not so unquestionable as
superior to what exists in already
it may first appear to be. The hierarchi-
developed areas. Chandigarh is an
cal pattern of human settlements is by it-
example illustrating this point. Despite
self a vast field for research but keeping
its superiority as a capital town, not
in view several abstract and intangible fac-
until institutional and infrastructure
tors like the ideology and values of life
facilities of a distinctly superior qua-
and concepts of what is efficient and what
lity were provided for the economic
is not and what basically influences such
functioning of this city that it could
patterns, it is doubtful if such a subject is
overcome the competition of neigh-
really amenable to any concrete conclu-
bouring small towns like Ludhiana
sions, much less that the conclusion so
and Ambala to eventually get esta-
drawn would be amenable to acceptance.
blished as a Regional centre—now
not only for the whole of Punjab
Measures and Tools for a Spatial Pattern
and Haryana but in a wider sense
of Development
of Himachal Pradesh.
4.1 Nevertheless reverting to the mea-
(b) What is the nature, scope and size
sures for promoting a spatially oriented
of urban economic activity that
pattern of growth, in a mixed economy we
needs to be induced through the pub-
have, for the last 15 to 20 years, tried to
lic sector to trigger off other deve-
achieve such objective through various
lopment? We have before us the
physical and fiscal measures. These could
well known examples of the loca-
perhaps be categorised as below—
tion of steel plants at Rourkela,
Bhilai and Durgapur in comparati-
(a) Provision of infrastructure and insti-
vely less developed areas. Despite
tutional facilities at cheaper and
huge investments made in this direc-
concessional rates;
tion, the development process failed
(b) A deliberate policy and programme
to trigger off in such areas,

AREAS OF RESEARCH IN REGIONAL PLANNING 355
(c) In regard to fiscal and taxation in-
part of Master Plans or even in pur-
centives, it will be seen that such as
suance of an industrial licensing
have been in operation are firstly
policy which marginally covers loca-
more in the nature of promotion of
tional aspects also. As such these
a specific sectoral activity like in-
disincentives have not been very ef-
dustry and secondly where such in-
fective and also the standards of en-
centives are extended on the areawise
forcement are usually very weak.
basis, they apply to specific type of
Even in places like Bombay and
undeveloped areas like the Back-
Delhi where there has been partial
ward areas, Tribal areas and Hill
success of the ideas of restriction
areas. Such schemes also do not
and land use have been rather loose.
operate on intra-regional basis e.g.
For example, take the policy of the
in relation to less developed parts
Maharashtra Industrial Development
vis-a-vis more development parts of
Corporation in establishing a huge
the same region. Evidently there is,
industrial estate in Thana area in
as yet, no scheme to this effect. In
the name of decentralisation of
this connection, it may be relevant
Bombay and the Centre and the
to cite an example of the Tamil
State Government to be concentrated
Nadu Government which is imple-
in Faridabad within a distance of
menting a Regional Plan for the
hardly 10 to 15 miles from the edge
Madras Metropolitan Area. In
of Delhi Union Territory without
their anxiety to develop a satellite
ensuring all the necessary infrastruc-
town within or in the vicinity of
ture to contain the effect of such acti-
the metropolitan region, they re-
vity with Faridabad itself,
quested that the satellite town area
(e) Measures against flow of industry
may be declared as a Backward
in already developed areas alone
Area to attract the incentives and
are not adequate. Of late, there
pattern of assistance. This, as ex-
has been increasing concern regard-
pected, was immediately turned
ing the impact of large scale com-
down because the area, by stipulat-
mercial and office activity flowing
ed standards of backward areas,
into such cities because of the play
was really not backward. If an in-
of market forces. The effective
fluential State Government like Tamil
ideas of land use planning like suc-
Nadu had instead come up with
cumbing to existing land and pro-
this genuine difficulty in clearer
perty values—which are only a by-
terms and with a concrete scheme,
product of laissez-faire—and per-
it could have perhaps set the ball
mitting liberal floor space indices
rolling for consideration of an in-
has been almost suicidal to the plan-
tra regional scheme for balanced
ning of London and Bombay. In
development of a region.
Delhi, it is perhaps the indifference
(d) In regard to disincentives against al-
of the Central Government to this
ready developed areas, they are only
problem which has led to a growth
restrictive in scope and not financi-
rate of 60 to 70 per cent in a decade
ally oriented, e.g. land use regula-
despite fairly effective measures
tions or prohibition against flow of
against the location of large scale
a particular type of activity as a
industry in Delhi Union Territory.

356 P. C. KHANNA
4.3 These are thus the second category
sures is rather weak. For example
of areas where there is great scope for study
regardless of the effect of any deve-
and research to enable a more meaningful
lopment, the physical environment
formulation of policies and programmes to-
of our country, for ages, has suffered
wards Regional and Urban Planning. Let
from elementary public health
me repeat them. They are—
nuisances of dust, pests and para-
sites without much action or relief.
(a) The quality of infrastructure neces-
It is, therefore, very necessary that
sary to make new centres more
concrete problems in this field as
attractive;
are consistent with our prospective
(b) The nature, scope and size of urban
level and extent of development, are
economic activity that needs to be
identified and action is sponsored
inducted through the public sector
only in selected and critical areas
in less developed areas to trigger off
to enable a more effective and
other development;
meaningful action. Apart from ele-
(c) The mechanism for extension and
mentary problems of public health
implementation of fiscal incentives
and insanitation, water and air pollu-
on intra-regional basis as distinct
tion are subjects which are of ob-
from inter-regional basis; and
vious priority. The intensity of these
(d) More effective disincentives against
problems is, however, of local and
developed areas than merely those
sometimes only of sporadic nature.
restrictive in scope.
Even though a Water Pollution Con-
trol Board has recently been esta-
Areas of Research in Technical Aspects
blished at the Centre, it appears that
ideas and future tasks in this field
5.1 In regard to purely technical as-
still await proper identification and
pects, some of the important areas in which
selection.
there is apparently immediate need for
(ii) The influence of transport on the
meaningful research and studies could be
spatial location of urban economic
as follows—
activity is another field requiring
studies and research. It is often
(i) Of late, there has been a lot of
remarked that there should be more
talk about the compatibility of growth
efficient transport system like a
and development without destroying
Rapid Transit System in a metropo-
ecological balance and changes that
litan region to enable urban econo-
cause environmental pollution and
mic activity and 'living' to function
deterioration. In any process of de-
on dispersed basis. Transport has,
velopment, such changes in the
however, a two-fold effect—Centri-
existing conditions are inevitable but
petal and Centrifugal. The Centri-
they are not necessarily harmful nor
petal influence has so far tended to
are the likely impact and scale of such
dominate—the present metropolitan
problems so alarming. However
muddle is by and large its product—
even where they are somewhat
of faster transport like the automo-
alarming, it may be pertinent to
bile and electric trains with their
keep in view the fact that our capacity
flexible halts. A very efficient and
to enforce and implement these mea-
fast transport on an intra or inter re-

AREAS OF RESEARCH IN REGIONAL PLANNING
357
gional basis has been responsible rather than 'development' of cities. This is,
for destroying a good number of however, not to say that a highly centra-
metropolitan plans. This subject, lised authority for a region dealing with all
therefore, lends itself to a good aspects of development is a substitute to
amount of original thinking and re-
achieve the desired objectives. Varying
search.
forms of development activities require vary-
(iii) Another field is the structural qua-
ing levels of organisations. Irrigation and
lity of urban settlements in a deve-
power are obviously not local subjects. So
loping country more particularly are intra-regional transport network and
keeping in view the needs of the in several cases intra-regional systems of
urban poor. Much against the de-
water supply. Exigencies of Regional De-
sired objectives of a decent house of a velopment require suitable tiers of well co-
minimum standard, the normal ordinated organisational set up having re-
concept of a pucca house is well gional and local jurisdiction. The needs
beyond the reach of nearly 25 to of metropolitan regions require a special
40 per cent of our urban popula-
consideration.
tion. These necessitate radical
changes in the concept of present
6.2 Another field is the augmentation,
land use planning and structural mobilisation and efficient management of
quality of our urban settlements. In financial resources of regional and local
urban planning and implementation, authorities within whatever framework
we have tended to neglect the im-
they may be set up. This is an aspect which
peratives of better civic amenities is more governed by the quality of human
and sanitation in favour of too much resources — their civic consciousness and
of brick and mortar. Master Plans level of efficiency.
should, therefore, be instruments of
7. These, thus are a few of the areas
positive action programme of regu-
which offer great scope for fresh thinking
lation.
and research but as in the beginning of
this paper, the whole subject of Regional
Organisation and Administrative Aspects Planning and Development is too complex
that even where ideas are very clear and
6.1 The fourth category in which there policy issues well identified, they defy solu-
is need for research in Regional Planning tion because of several constraints such as
is in the field of administration and orga-
level of technology, quality of human
nisation. The first in this category is the resources and availability of investments
need for a radical restructuring of our to implement regional development.
Local Government set-up. In its present Consequently it can be concluded by
form, the Local Government has been con-
submitting that whatever areas of studies and
ceived for a city as if it exists in isolation research are identified for further action,
from its hinterland. The present framework their scope must be so determined that it
is also more oriented towards 'maintenance' takes cognisance of these basic constraints.