Ideas Conclave for Better Hyderabad

Held on December 16 and 17, 2017

A group of young and elite highbrows gathered at Begumpet on December 16 and 17, 2017, and mulled over ways and means of transforming Hyderabad into a better destination for people and establishments of all sorts, at the 'Ideas Conclave for Better Hyderabad' organised by Awareness in Action, a non-profit think tank, based in Hyderabad, founded 15 years ago by a group of energetic young professionals and academic persons.

The NGO that operates as an independent public policy, research and documentation institute organised the conclave to invite innovative ideas on Infrastructure and Industrial Growth, Town Planning, Health Tourism, Security and Political Parties' Vision in its efforts to involve students, academicians, industry professionals, government officials, social activists and policy makers to make Hyderabad a much better place to live.

The conclave had scores of young intellectuals and entrepreneurs presenting various ideas for the betterment of Hyderabad that were exemplary. Young and energetic Mrs Madhavi, Secretary, Awareness in Action, Hyderabad, invited the guests on to the dais at the beginning of the conclave. While inviting the luminaries to grace the programme, Mrs Madhavi introduced everyone with utmost detail.

Sri Ramesh Jigajinagi, Union Minster of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation, who was the chief guest, while thanking the organisers, lauded Awareness in Action for its efforts to make Hyderabad a better place to live and bring young professionals and intellectuals together to share their ideas to create Brand Hyderabad. He exuded confidence that the ideas that would be presented in the two-day conclave would sure help change Hyderabad into a much better place than it was today. Heaping praises on Prime Minter Narendra Modi for his efforts to bring radical changes in the lives of Indian people, and provide much comfortable lifestyle to its vast populace, Jigajinagi said the BJP led NDA government at the Centre had been working relentlessly towards making the lives of masses more comfortable. Urban transportation, housing, roads and highways, town planning, quality education, regular water supply, slum area development, cleanliness, industrial growth, health and nutrition, pure drinking water supply, good governance, digitalisation and others needed to be focussed, he said, adding that towards these direction, the Union government had initiated number of programmes including Smart City Mission, Amrut, Roads and Highways Connectivity etc. The government had initiated several massive projects for better road connectivity and other development programmes, he said. Over two crore people have been benefitted from programmes like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwal Yojana. The Central government was committed to improve the lives of poor women and it had decided to provide five crore LPG connections to women belonging to the BPL in the country by 2019, the minister said. For creating a healthy society, our government is taking steps to improve medical and health facilities across the country. Mission Indradhanush was launched to ensure that over five crore children were brought under proper healthcare, he said and added that Pradhan Mantri Surakshita Mathrutva Abhiyan, Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Paryojana and many others have been launched for ensuring better healthcare for people of the country. World Yoga Day is observed on June 21 every year with the initiative of the union government. Make in India, Good Governance, Swatchh Bharat and many other programmes initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been welcomed by people across the country wholeheartedly, the minister said. “Toilets have been constructed in a total of 5.52 crore households across India and 247 districts and 2.87 lakh villages in the country have been declared open-defecation free. Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Uttara Khand, Haryana, Gujarat and Sikkim are ODF States. All the remaining States are also trying to declare themselves as ODF at the earliest. Rural sanitation coverage, which was 42 percent at the start of the Swatchh Mission, is at 73.59 per cent now. In Telangana, the rural sanitation coverage is 70 percent. In the last three years 16.97 latrines have been constructed across the State. There are 3, 420 ODF villages across in Telangana. Nine districts in Telangana are ODF,” he said.

Jigajinagi said the Central government was committed to help all States in the country technically and financially. During 2017-18, Telangana State was given Rs 458.13 crore for various developmental programmes, he said and added that the State had shown an expenditure of Rs 386 crore. “To ensure sustainable outcome from our initiatives, we request the support of all sections of the society. Each of us should act as a facilitator and leader and inspire others. I request all of you freely share your thoughts and give your constructive suggestions for making our society better. I wish grand success of the conclave,” the minister said.

Addressing the conclave, Sri Buchi Babu said such seminars were meant to transform cities into much more liveable places. Pointing out the two sides of emerging India, Buchi Babu said while there was a positive economic growth and technological development on one side, on the other, there were degrading environment and crisis in sanitation and water, malfunctioning of transport system and others. He said the arising question in emerging India was how to think of development and who should think of it. “Am I a policy maker, am I an expert, do I just belong to common public, do I belong to political class, who decides the power of difference, who decides the power of development and such are the questions asked by many. It's everyone's duty to make Hyderabad a liveable city. As ordinary citizens, we don't have time and energy to write books on what is development. I don't even want anyone to think 'do I have the power to make a difference?' So, we stand among political class, bureaucracy, common public and experts. We bring all of them face to face so that each of the stakeholders understands the aspirations, constraints and potentials of each other,” he said.

Stating that development was not just freedom of people, Buchi Babu said freedom came only with the participation of people. The 'Ideas Conclave for Better Hyderabad' was the beginning of this participatory agenda, he said and added that they had initiated the process by involving ministers, representatives of different political parties, bureaucrats, experts, social activists, common pubic and students. “We have initiated the process of generating new ideas, from different stakeholder communities of Hyderabad. In a way this initiative is the first-of-its-kind and unique in Telangana. In the two-day seminar, we will be discussing infrastructure, urban development, town planning, health tourism, security and range of other issues that affect our day-to-day life in Hyderabad. We have also received a range of ideas on how to improve our city. So, this seminar is just a beginning and it is going to be one of our long-term agendas to think about Hyderabad,” he said.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Dinesh Kumar said that 'Awareness in Action' had taken one-step to amalgamate youngsters with the old ideas. “We have to take young ideas from old people and old ideas from the young and integrate them with each other. When I was young like you, in 1984 when I came to Hyderabad, I still remember, at the Nizam's Institute of Medial Sciences, one American was getting an open-heart surgery done. The same day, President Gyani Zail Singh was being operated from a hospital in America from where this American was referred to Hyderabad. So, you imagine, in 1984, what was our medical technology and why our President had to go to America and get operated for the same reason that could be done in India. The operation cost only Rs 75,000 for the American. I can't forget those days,” he said.

Stating how lifestyle and technology changed drastically over the past fifty years, he emphasised on the bad effects of junk food on people's health. He said there was a need to create awareness on the kind of food we use so that we could ward off so many life-threatening diseases. He also explained the ill effects of carbonated water on the occasion.

“Diseases have turned to be lifestyle diseases. How to control them? It is very important for all of you to know how the current government is functioning on food and environment issues. We should understand how the government goes to the grassroots level. It is a complex process. Most often, government departments are ill equipped. However, you, the young volunteers, should act as change makers. I am very impressed with the way the whole thing is being organised. I request every participant to give ideas on a wide array of issues and link those ideas to the common man so that we can bring in a new and nice society,” he said.

Delivering the keynote address, Advisor to the Telangana government Sri B V Papa Rao said the Ideas Conclave for Better Hyderabad itself was an interesting concept. Quoting Swami Vivekananda about how the great sage of modern India got awareness about himself and his surroundings, Papa Rao said awareness was what you looked around, what you witnessed around and from that ideas originated. “Those ideas will be so strong and if you follow them with action, you can achieve. You do not have to be something great, you do not have to be something important to achieve. Any ordinary citizen can achieve anything and the best example is Swami Vivekananda. He came from an ordinary family, but went on to become extraordinary across the globe. It was all because he could learn what was around him,” he said.

Awareness in Action was a good idea, he said, adding that the organisation was founded on very interesting notions. Lauding the organisers for floating the NGO and conceptualising the whole programme, Papa Rao said it was great idea to set up this institution. “Citizens are fairly well-aware of their rights. But it is also time to make our citizens aware of what their duties are,” he said and urged the organisers to spread awareness on duties as it was more powerful than the government.

It was sad that even after 70 years of Independence, people were still unaware of their duties, he said and added that there was a need to work towards creating awareness among people about their duties.

Stating that Hyderabad was a well-founded city by Quli Qutub Shah, he said when Indian capital was shifted from Kolkata to Delhi in 1917, Hyderabad was the second-best city in India and the first in the rank in water and drainage. “Now we are in fifth or sixth place. Nevertheless, the number does not matter. Look at the water and drainage system in Hyderabad. The system is much better in the old city than in Gachibowli. Hitech city does not have proper drainage. Despite having the distinction of housing major global industrial houses and visited by several luminaries across the globe and having huge infrastructure, the Hitech City does not have proper drainage system. I'm not blaming the government or anybody else, but look how the planners thought of proper systems four hundred years ago,” he said.

He exuded confidence that if the civic authorities go ahead with the present master plan, in three or four decades, Hyderabad would become one of the best cities in the world in terms of infrastructure and transport. He also stressed on the need to control pollution in the metropolis and elaborated on the measures to be taken to make Hyderabad more productive and liveable.

Papa Rao explained the potential of Hyderabad, how it would become the best sought after destination for manufacturing and other segments. “But, will a city with huge infrastructure be the best city? Is it only the responsibility of municipal administration to make Hyderabad a beautiful city?” he asked and deplored the lack of public aesthetics and the cultural gap existing among citizens. He also focussed on the need to create a hazardless and hygienic city and exhorted the organisers and young volunteers to work towards creating awareness among the people to make Hyderabad the best place to live in. Delving elaborately on the poor sanitation in Hyderabad, Papa Rao called upon the youth to create awareness in everyone and to turn the awareness into action to create completely hygienic, healthy and beautiful city. He also lauded the law-enforcing agencies for providing the best security for people in general and women in particular and said Hyderabad was one of the safest places in the country for women. He also heaped praises on the concept of SHE Teams, which had been emulated by six other Indian States. He also underlined the history and culture of the city and emphasised on the need to have free education devoid of any bias and ideological leanings.

He also spoke about having freethinkers, religious harmony; need to have awareness on peaceful coexistence and to get rid of racial approach, which unfortunately was in practice even today.

Sri Satish Kumar proposed the vote of thanks at the end of the inaugural ceremony and the session took a lunch break before joining again to debate on new ideas for a better Hyderabad.

Chaired by Major General Mahendra, the first session began with CREDAI Telangana chapter president Sri G Ram Reddy explaining the measures being implemented by the Telangana State government for making Hyderabad the best city in the world including TS-IPASS, T-Hub, Metro Rail, Aero Space, Pharma City and Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Stating that Hyderabad had become the number one city in 'ease of doing business', he said whatever development measures were being taken by the government had started yielding results. A lot of new business ventures had come to Hyderabad due to the government measures, he said, adding that 2,400 small and medium industries had already agreed to set up units in Hyderabad, the result of which would be seen in the next few years.

What was initially started in a small way, T-Hub was going to be expanded in a big way soon, Reddy said and added that an 11-storeyed building was being constructed near Hitech City for T-Hub. This will provide a big opportunity for all the aspiring entrepreneurs, especially in the IT sector, Reddy said. “The Metro Rail, the first stretch of which was inaugurated recently, has brought in a revolution in the public transport system in Hyderabad. It is another feather in the cap of Hyderabad. L&T has taken up world-class construction of all four corridors,” he said.

Elaborating on Aero Space industry, Pharma City and GES, Reddy also explained the active participation of CREDAI in the function of the government of Telangana. He said the government had to focus more on roads, underground drainage, 24X7 water, footpaths, traffic management, MMTS, expansion of Metro rail, greenery, growth centres, connecting the Outer Ring Road to radial roads, formation of grid roads and growth corridor, unauthorised constructions and the all-round development of Hyderabad. Stating that the government had recently released around Rs 20,000 crore for infrastructure development of Hyderabad, Reddy said if it became a reality, you would see a complete change in Hyderabad. “There won't be any civic issues once these projects come up and life will be much better. We have enough space to grow unlike other metro cities. Hyderabad is certainly going to be a global city. I hope it is going to be a wonderful city,” Reddy said.

Sri G Rameswara Rao, who worked as an engineer with Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board for 38 years, expressed happiness over getting an opportunity to tell about the water and drainage system in Hyderabad. Detailing on the present and future water problems of Hyderabad, Rao said though we have sufficient water even today, lack of proper distribution systems proved a major hurdle in providing 24/7 water supply to people of Hyderabad. “India is the seventh largest country in the world in terms of geographical area. It is the second most populated country in the world with 1.30 billion population and the most populous liberal democracy in the world. By 2050, 50 percent of Indian population will live in urban areas. 21st century is all set to become India's urban century,” he said. Rao also explained the water potential of the country and then presented the detailed data on the availability of water in Hyderabad and its future condition. “Reservoirs in and around Hyderabad that once supplied water to the entire city' have dried down drastically and the rest are polluted. Major tanks in Hyderabad including Hussainsagar, Mir Alam Tank, Jeedimetla Tank and others have been polluted so much and the two major drinking water reservoirs – Osmansagar and Himayathsagar – are facing huge crisis due to encroachment and other issues,” Rao pointed out.

Before 2014, there was huge water crisis at Himayatsagar and Osmansagar due to lack of sufficient inflows into the two major water bodies, he said, adding that the government therefore took up Krishna and Godavari Phase II works to ensure proper drinking water supply to the people of Hyderabad. In view of the growth trends in IT segment, urbanisation of the adjoining areas, construction of high-rises among others, demand for water supply would increase manifold in the near future, he said.

Speaking on the sewerage systems, Rao said the poor underground drainage system needed renovation. In a power point presentation, Rao elaborated the performance of HMWS&SB, and suggested solutions for the challenges in water sector. “In order to solve intermittent water supply issue, all urban local bodies should identify the leaks and take up repairs. There should be proper plans to replace the old pipes and valves,” he said.

Explaining about the ways and means to strengthen the sewerage system in the core city, Rao said at least Rs 5,000 crore was required to revamp the whole system in Hyderabad and in the surrounding areas. “We have sufficient water for a better Hyderabad. But we need storage capacity and also distribution network. We need proper sewerage systems in four more zones. In addition to sewerage water system, we require storm water drainage systems as well. We do not have storm water drainage system as of now. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has to work on having proper system in place,” he said.

Addressing the second session, Major General R Siva Kumar, congratulated the organisers for spending their money, time and resources for holding such a wonderful and constructive programme to motivate young people assembled there and said the kind of inputs generated at the two-day seminar would help change Hyderabad into a much better place to live.

Talking on health tourism, he said the practice of health tourism was nothing new in India. People in south India, especially from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu wanted to spend their time in Banaras when they became old and infirm; he said and added that it was nothing but health tourism. “We have the knack of conveying the population in the form of religious beliefs and make them understand the importance of health tourism. With the advent of yoga in this country, the health tourism, as we call it today, started some 5,000 years ago. Therefore, what we are doing is just to adopt what we have been doing in the past but only make it global. We are attracting more and more health tourists making it a $ 3,000 billion industry in the country. Today, we have thousands of people coming from abroad for health treatment purpose. They go to places like Kerala for various natural treatments. We have natural way of rejuvenating ourselves rather than depending upon complicated chemical formulations,” he said.

Siva Kumar also pointed out several legal and ethical issues involved in pharmaceutical industry and urged health care providers and drug manufactures to maintain the highest standards of production and services. “We need more and more voluntary organisations like Awareness in Action to create awareness on several issues to make Hyderabad a much better place to live,” he said.

Director General of Pharmaceutical Council of India Dr B V Appaji, talking on health tourism, shared his experience in pharma industry with the delegates of the conclave and said pharma industry was one of the most prominent, high-flag industries in the country after IT. When India took a giant leap in the pharmaceutical industry and became one of the most prominent players across the globe, other countries perceived India as a major threat to their pharma sectors. Hyderabad was the nerve centre of drug manufacturing, be it medicines, generic medicines or oncology medicines, Appaji said and added that Hyderabad got extremely good name in the industry. Stating that people from over 80 countries that he had toured so far, specifically named drugs manufactured from Hyderabad and that showed the kind of popularity the city had, he said and added that some of those countries wanted Hyderabad-based hospitals to open their branches there.

“African countries are literally crazy about Hyderabad's healthcare industry. However, it is unfortunate that there are several issues associated with the pharma industry. For example, politicians in Telangana seem to be scared of having any connection with the industry, as most of the time, there are allegations in the media about the kind of pollution the industry causes. That is not the right thing. Most of the pharma companies based in Hyderabad are so sophisticated that they have high-end effluent treatment system that maintains zero pollution level. Except a very few small companies that do not have facilities to treat effluents, most of the top-level and mid-level companies have developed their own technologies to make sure that the environment is highly protected,” he said.

Pointing out that there was nothing to worry about the pharma industry in Hyderabad, Appaji said even officials in China encouraged their patients to come to India for treatment. Cost wise and quality wise, pharma companies in India, particularly in Hyderabad, were much ahead of any other countries in the world, he said. “When the entire world was trembling with the fear of HIV 15 years ago, it was a Hyderabad-based pharma company that developed HIV medicines that cost only one-tenth of the drugs manufactured in other countries. A total of 70 percent of HIV drugs supplied all over the world today are manufactured in Hyderabad and cost of those drugs has come down drastically only with the contribution of Hyderabad,” he said.

Admitting that there were some incidents of unethical clinical trials in some parts of the country, Appaji said the industry was excellent and there were tremendous opportunities in the field in Hyderabad. Hyderabad was also moving ahead in formulation and research development, and several American companies were looking at Hyderabad for their research-based requirements, he said and added that the potential for process development for bulk drugs was very high in Hyderabad. “We have got such strong chemists in Hyderabad that while companies in foreign countries spend millions and millions of dollars for drug development and research, young brains sitting at Kukatpally, Prashant Nagar and Nacharam develop the process overnight. Such excellent chemists are bringing down the cost of medicines. It is a matter of great pride that there is not even a single country in the world where Indian made drug is not used,” Appaji said.

Speaking on healthcare at the conclave, Sri Harikrishna of MaxCure Hospital, said Hyderabad was fast emerging as the healthcare capital of India. Hyderabad was in the forefront of main landscape of healthcare in India, he said, adding that Hyderabad housed the largest number of Cath labs in the country. “I was in Nashik in Maharashtra last week. Someone was wondering how many healthcare players from Hyderabad were moving to Maharashtra. There used to be a time when Maratha people played a vital role in the healthcare segment in the country, but now Hyderabadis dominating the field. That is the power of Hyderabad. Million of patients are getting treated in Hyderabad every year. So, we are very proud to be associated with the segment,” he said. “Since ages, we are known for our healthcare tourism and India has been the most sought-after healthcare destination. Over 5000 years ago, people used to travel to India for learning yoga and Ayurveda, which were born in our country. However, unfortunately, today's reality is that we are no more the market leaders because of the evolution of the modern medicine. Nevertheless, for the last decade or two, we have seen that the growth rate is rather very high. As far as Asia is concerned, we rank the fourth in medical tourism. China is nowhere closer to us. Millions of patients in China go to different parts of the world for better healthcare whereas every year we see millions of people coming to India for treatment. However, we are not catering to developed countries in medical care. The patients coming to India for better treatment are from developing nations or backward countries. Even in developed nations, most of the doctors who are part of their sophisticated healthcare systems are from India,” he said.

Due to the changes in government policies and all, reverse drain of healthcare talents had started, he said, adding that in African and Middle-eastern countries, doctors from South India, particularly from Hyderabad, were rated to be the best ones. “It has been registered in their minds that if they go to doctors from Hyderabad, they get the best treatment. From whatever little branding we got in the last one decade, we are considered as most trust-worthy doctors and healthcare providers. Though we do not have even 10 percent of medical tourism that has been happening around the world, still people from other countries bypass cities like Mumbai and come to Hyderabad for better healthcare. That is the power of Hyderabad healthcare,” he pointed out.

Harikrishna said as far as the medical tourism was concerned, in price, quality, hospitality, food, language and everything, we had been able to build our brand. “We are slowly competing with neighbouring Chennai in delivering the best healthcare. Most of those who come for medical tourism are from East Africa because in North Africa and above, though they have advanced healthcare system, they are very expensive. People from countries like Tanzania and Kenya prefer India for treatment. We are actually making a lot of progress in healthcare and medical tourism,” he said.

Delving deep into the challenges of medical tourism in India, Harikrishna said in some of those countries like Somalia from where we got lot of patients, did not have Indian Embassies. Patients had to go to Kenya and obtain a visa to Hyderabad, he said and added that for them going to Kenya itself was a challenge as Somalia and Kenya were like India and Pakistan. Since regulations were very strict, it was difficult for them to get visa to Hyderabad. As far as our competitors including Malaysia, Singapore and other countries were concerned, there were lot of relaxations in their policies. Therefore, they had made advancement in medical tourism, he said and explained the further challenges we faced in the segment including air connectivity. “We need to accelerate and increase our efforts by multi-folds so that our numbers go up. Indian healthcare offers very competitive, high quality system and attracts lot of medical tourists to our country, especially Hyderabad. We have the infrastructure, we have the talent, we have the price advantage and others. We can offer the best quality healthcare, which is much less in terms of cost than our neighbouring countries. When it comes to Hyderabad, we provide treatment for much lesser rate than Pune, Mumbai or Delhi. We offer the best healthcare at the lowest cost,” he said.

During the third session, Y V S T Sai, chairing the session, said more than the buildings, people are attracted to cities due to their warmth and narrated the experience he had when he came to Hyderabad in 1978 as an intermediate student. “I instantly fell in love with Hyderabad. Though I have been to many cities, I have not seen the charm and attraction that Hyderabad has anywhere else. Not just me, people across the country find something very attractive about Hyderabad. The primary duty of any city through its administration or planners is to make the city a better place to live. It is also our responsibility to take part in the process of making Hyderabad a much better city to live,” he said. Sai expressed hopes that with the concentrated efforts of one and all, they could further transform Hyderabad into a much more liveable city in the near future.

Addressing the session, Chief City Planner Sri Devender Reddy shared the activities taken up by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for the development of Hyderabad. He urged the young participants to share 'out of the box' ideas, which were lacked by the city administration to make Hyderabad a much better place. He also explained about the evolution of Hyderabad city over years and the present picture of the metropolis. Hyderabad was founded around four hundred years ago, he said and explained how the evolution began with Golconda and then Charminar in 1687. In 1789, there was again some growth, he said adding that it was limited around Charminar.

“In 1887, there was an expansion of Hyderabad city towards northern side because by that time, the British came into the picture. They had set up their own military establishments. That was the origin of Secunderabad, the twin of Hyderabad. Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are more or less in the same bracket in terms of population, area and the city structure. However, compared to the other two cities, the growth of Hyderabad is much more diversified and expansive. The geographical expansion of Hyderabad is much more than the other two cities,” he said.

“Let's talk about the present situation. We have 620 sq km of area under GHMC and a population of over 90 lakh. Major commercial activities are IT and Pharma industry, in addition to education and healthcare. As an organisation, GHMC has a vision statement that is 'transforming Hyderabad into an economically competitive world-class global city'. Our mission is to improve the quality of life of people of Hyderabad. Providing housing for all, providing enough garbage treatment systems, integration of roads and transport and an effective public transport system are our main objectives,” Devender Reddy said.

He also elaborated on lot of other issues including transport. Admitting that the GHMC was facing lot of issues including parking, lack of auto stands, frequent traffic snarls, lack of proper facility for truck parking, pedestrian crossing, bottlenecks on the roads, street parking, footpath encroachment and many others, Reddy said all these are manageable issues. He explained the activities taken up by the civic authorities to solve the transport related problems. “Urban travel is a crucial issue. Though we have identified the major source of traffic generation in the city, the highest number of traffic is originates from Hitech City. I should admit that there is a shortcoming in the overall planning, though it is not a complete failure. We could not provide affordable accommodation within the range of four or five kilometres of the Hitech City for thousands of people who work in the vicinity. Therefore, people tend to travel long distances to their affordable residences, thereby increasing the vehicular movement on city roads. The entire area around Madhapur is a high-end market. So, people try to settle somewhere in bit more affordable areas like Nizampet, Kukatpally etc. and apparently, this leads to traffic congestion on city roads,” he said.

Giving insights into the intriguing issues of traffic, the Chief City Planner said the GHMC had developed a Strategic Road Development Plan (SRDP) where the civic body was planning to construct a 111-km skyway in order to ease traffic in each junction. The skyways were similar to that of PVNR Express Highway, he said adding that the GHMC was proposing to build skyways from Hitech City to Kukatpally, from Old-Mumbai Highway at Mehdipatnam to Gachibowli, Aramgarh Junction to Shamshabad and other areas.

He also talked about the challenges ahead for the civic body in carrying out several development measures. Admitting that the road development programme was affected due to the Central government's Land Acquisition Act, Reddy said the GHMC was trying to resolve the issue by bringing out new policies. “The funds required for the development of underground drainage and transport system is about Rs 1 lakh crore. We have only an annual budget of R 3,000 crore as of now. We can increase that by another Rs 5,000 crore by raising loans and other funds. Generating additional revenue is another major challenge we face. We are looking into the possibilities of how to do things with least financial burden. Increasing vehicular population is another major concern,” he said.

Regarding the opportunities, Reddy said Hyderabad had a low cost of living compared to other Indian metropolitan cities. That is a major opportunity for Hyderabad and many of the IT and other companies are trying to come to Hyderabad for this very reason. Availability of public transport system including the Metro Rail is another major advantage. We have MMTS, we have RTC and we have other means of transport. We have lot of systems available and can utilise them for our betterment. In addition, we have Outer Ring Road, Inner Ring Road and Regional Ring Road. I do not think any other Indian city has such a wide network of roads, well planned and connected. That itself provides a major opportunity for Hyderabad to grow. We have a major hub for IT and pharma sector. Availability of skilled manpower, commitment of political leadership towards growth and others will certainly help Hyderabad grow further,” Devender Reddy said.

Addressing the third session on Town Planning, Sri Viswanath Sista delved on how the town planning evolved over a period. The modern town planning evolved in the early 19th century, he said adding that it all started from the view of public health. What began as the building rules turned out to become area development plans and then the master plans, he explained. He also detailed the history of town planning and how HUDA was born among other things.

“Hyderabad is growing in a fast pace. Is the master plan able to cope up with the city's increasing development? In 1956, Hyderabad had a population of only 37 lakh people, but today it has crossed one crore. It means Hyderabad has joined the elite class of megalopolis. But there is nothing to be proud of that because associated with rapid population growth are traffic congestion, shortage of housing, acute shortage of water, insufficient sewerage and drainage systems and many other issues. Added to these are environmental concerns. Therefore, the solution lies in decentralisation. I am not suggesting to limit the growth of Hyderabad, but to create alternative urban centres,” he said.

It was not just about town planning, it was about policy makers, administrators, investors, housing and many others, he said. Citing the example of Bengaluru, he said our problems are much lesser than that of Karnataka capital. They had road-related issues, water problems and many others, he said and suggested that further growth of Hyderabad need to be checked. Otherwise, quality of life would deteriorate. Therefore, decentralisation was imperative, he added. Giving ideas for metropolitan development plans, he said much needs to be done through efficient planning for the development of Hyderabad.

Urban planner Sri M Rama Rao, said when it came to town planning, they need to understand the master picture. The first thing to understand was service level benchmark, he said, adding that they were unable to provide hundred percent coverage to issues including water supply and others. Deploring fast depleting water resources, he said the city lost lot of lakes and that was nothing but loss of resources. “When we talk about town planning and development, we should also point out the things that we have lost over a period of time. We lost 300 lakes and that is big number. Groundwater used to be available at 70 to 80 feet below, but now it is 2,000 to 3,000 feet below the ground. The rainfall has become deficit. It is not that efforts were not made; it is that the city is not prepared enough for the growth. The staff was scarce, planning was deficient and something was not going on in the right direction. When it comes to economic growth or industrial development, it has been phenomenal. But anyhow, do we really feel that we are moving in the right direction?” he asked.

Urging the delegates to introspect about the way they were moving ahead in terms of city's development, Rama Rao spoke of urban planning at length. “It is all about keeping a balance between tangible and intangible elements. There are several intangible things to be managed just like how it feels good to be in a city. You talk about health. Recently, Sri Lankan cricket players were seen wearing masks in New Delhi. That is the last thing we want to witness in the national capital. It also involves a lot of prestige as well. Pollution is definitely one of the serious concerns we are accounting for. When you do not have control over a particular area, then everything goes wrong. That is the problem with system overload,” he said.

For the last 5-10 years, our planning had been good, he said, adding that now people are apprehensive about making any deviations in the present system. Though we were having a good era, we were still facing challenges due to many reasons, he said. Mentioning several government schemes for urban development including Atal, Amrut, smart cities and Swachh Bharat, he said smartness was nothing but accomplishing targets with lesser efforts and resources. “Utilisation of technology is another important aspect. If we have access to all data, then only we can do something. Therefore, developing a good digital database is very important. Our surveys are never hundred percent accurate. But in recent times, we have developed so much in that front also,” he said.

Addressing the fourth session on security, former Director General of Police, A K Mohanty said security was not a subject that could be discussed in short period. Hyderabad was much better or it could have made even better, he said and added that the points in question were how Hyderabad was today and how it could be made better tomorrow. If every citizen in Hyderabad could live without fear or live without being intimidated other than process of law and live with a smile, then nothing was like that, he said, asking the delegates to think of the security aspect of Hyderabad and find an answer by themselves. “I found tremendous capacity building in Hyderabad for the past several years. I do not think that we can build a better Hyderabad by one seminar or two. However, we should agree that ideas alone could not change the society. Ideas are necessary to change the society. Nevertheless, actions can only change the society. If the people who are responsible for bringing in changes for a better tomorrow do not respond to our demands, we will have to force them to do it. I have a right to make them do that because I am a tax payer,” he said and shared some tips with the delegates to have better security in Hyderabad.

“We want to be modern, we want to be futuristic and we want to have extraordinary performance. However, let me tell you this one – do ordinary things in an extraordinary manner, not extraordinary things in an ordinary manner. In our efforts to chalk out extraordinary ideas, we often forget the basics. In security angle, the police should be forced to go back to basics. They should be visible and responsible. I have been commuting from Begumpet to Raj Bhawan, where I am an employee, I have not seen any officer above the rank if inspector on the road except on the occasion of a VIP movement. Where are all the leaders of the police forces? Why don't they come to the road to provide ground level leadership so that the performance will be qualitatively improved?” he asked.

There has been lot of technology advancement. The Hyderabad police have installed thousands of CCTV cameras across the city. However, I myself felt pity on those who travel on city roads. I spent about five hours on road a day travelling to my office. If they installed thousands of CCTV cameras, they were not maintained properly or they did it just for the sake of it, Mohanty said.

“Mind you, it's your money. Mind you, it's your time. Mind you, it's your security. Mind you, it's your resources that you are wasting by spending your time on road. We must use technology in proper way. Betterment will come only when resources are utilised properly. The police officer should be fit. If a police officer is unfit to run three kilometres, that doesn't instil any confidence. When we are talking about the betterment of Hyderabad, the point comes to my mind is who is accountable for non-performance? I am pained and anguished to see that no police officer is willing to be accountable for non-performance. Police officers should be forced to be made accountable,” the former DGP said.

Stating that he believed in hard policing, Mohanty said 'friendly-policing' may be a good slogan, a police officer could never be friendly with a rowdy. “I believe in effective policing, hard policing, course policing, but that doesn't mean that there should coercive policing. Hyderabad needs effective policing for better tomorrow,” he said.

Addressing the delegates, Sri P Sekhar Rao said that the kind of security Hyderabad offers depend on several socio-economic aspects. Hyderabad has vast software field with lot of economic and employment opportunities, he said. Thousands of youth from across the country work with hundreds of IT companies in Hyderabad. Therefore, the future of these IT companies also depends on Hyderabad's security. There were many defence establishments in Hyderabad. All these aspects should be taken into consideration when we speak of security of Hyderabad, he said.

Senior IPS officer Sri Shahnawaz Qasim said we all are living in an age of VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. We had to find solutions to several problems through ideas. Ideas were ruling the world. In growing cities, there were lot of problems and Hyderabad was one among the better cities in the world, he said.

“Hyderabad was voted as the best liveable city in India. That adds to our positive challenge. We cannot stop people from going from one place to another. Even the Constitution urges us to gear up for welcoming the growing population. Challenges will occur from social sector as well. You have to provide economic avenues to the population. A man is as normal as his pocket is. You take away the pocket and you take away his sanity. We have to create opportunities,” he said.

Addressing the participants, senior journalist and Editor of Telangana Today, K Srinivas Reddy said that there were various perspectives of better Hyderabad. But the definition of better Hyderabad or a better city means where people feel secure. Feeling secure means not just the guarantee that one will not be robbed or will not be mugged of if one's sister or wife or niece goes out on the to the road she will not be subjected to sexual harassment. It is just one parameters of being secure.

Making Hyderabad secure does not mean insulating Hyderabad from the theatres of conflict that India is witnessing such as the conflict in Kashmir, North East, Left Wing Extremism and religious fundamentalism, he said and added that it was not possible to insulate Hyderabad from those theatres of conflict. But they can be controlled and can be prevented from entering into Hyderabad.

Srinivas Reddy said that secure Hyderabad means where people can smile at each other and not look at suspiciously. The bane of urban society is the anonymity as well as the kind of insecurity it brings in. Therefore, secure Hyderabad means where people can smile at each other. This can be achieved when there is public participation. This task should not be left to the law enforcement agencies alone.

A better Hyderabad or a secure Hyderabad depends on the functioning of the law enforcement agencies. But the peoples collectives as peer pressure groups must pressurise the law enforcement agencies to become more collaborative rather coercive. When there is talk about the social responsibilities or fundamental rights, one should also talk about fundamental duties and responsibilities. When people become responsibility conscious then they have moral right to exert pressure on the law enforcement agencies and the governments to reduce the coercive quotient of their governance and make it more collaborative, he said.

He further said that the law enforcement agencies are increasingly depending on technical intelligence for discharging their duties. However, technical intelligence has several limitations of little help in some aspects. Instead, human intelligence, which means the help coming from the society, would go a long way in bringing the law enforcement agencies into action.

He also said that a better Hyderabad would be where law enforcement agency will not use disproportionate quantum of force to deal with a situation. People will not accept that sort of security apparatus or mechanism or security in the society. Therefore, delicate balance has to be maintained and for that people have to be responsible, they should respect the law enforcement agencies and collaborate with them not to be coerced by them but they should be in a position to question them.

Addressing the fifth session on political parties vision for a better Hyderabad, senior journalist Tankashala Ashok said it was really good to see an organization taking up this kind of discussion at a time when Hyderabad is promising to be one of the fastest growing cities in the country in every sense. Stressing that there was need for more and more discussions on various aspects of development, he said discussion on issues means public participation. Public participation in what is happening in their city. Unfortunately, people talk about what is there and what is not there. However, their direct participation to improve things and to contribute their own might was woefully lacking.

Without public participation, no amount of spending, no amount of campaigning will yield optimum results. Wherever the public participation levels are high, whichever system it may be, the levels of development and the levels of improvement are quite high. In fact, sociologists and developmental scientists say if people really participate to a particular level, to that extent the role of government goes down in improvement of civic life, Ashok said.

Inviting the leaders of different political parties to address the participants, Ashok said that responsible citizens of the city would like to know from the politicians what they are doing and what they propose to do in the coming days to make the city a better place.

Speaking on the occasion, veteran journalist and AIMIM MLC, Syed Aminul Hasan Jafri said the GHMC has been under the rule of bureaucrats for a lot of time and there was no accountability during such rule. He insisted that elections to the civic body should be conducted regularly without any interruption to ensure accountability and development.

Jafri also said that the ability of GHMC to provide civic amenities due to resource crunch. He said that GHMC needs huge financial resources but its annual budget is merely Rs 3,000 crore. Though the GHMC has been able to generate funds to the tune of Rs 2000 crore, the remaining Rs 1000 crore has to come from the state and central governments. Unfortunately, funds from the central government have come to a standstill except for the 14th Finance Commission Grants.

He demanded that the state government should give a share out of the taxes such as registration and stamp duty, entertainment tax, GST, Motor Vehicle Tax and others.

Same is the case with the water works. The HMWS&SB has been receiving funds for the projects like Krishna Phase-I to III. It received funds for Godavari water supply project Phase-I. But it was not getting funds for the maintenance works and other development activities.

There have been numerous master plans for the development of Hyderabad. But there are no funds. Unless there is pressure from the citizens on the state and central governments to take care of the finances of the civic bodies, it would be very difficult even to maintain the present level of insufficient civic amenities in the twin cities. Development will not be possible unless funds are provided, he said.

Congratulating Awareness in Action for initiating the discussion for a better Hyderabad, BJP floor leader in Telangana Assembly, Kishan Reddy said that it was necessary to think in 360 degrees for the development of the fastest growing city, Hyderabad.

Unfortunately, there was a lack of comprehensive plan for the development of Hyderabad, he said and added that participation of political parties, public and accountability on the part of administration was required for this.

He regretted that educated people were resorting to unhealthy practices such as throwing garbage in drains and not following traffic rules. Stating that traffic has grown into a serious issue, he said that people should use public transport and car pooling methods to help streamline the traffic.

Insisting that building permissions need to be streamlined, Kishan Reddy said that public places should be protected and plastic usage must be reduced at individual and institution level without fail. Exodus of people from rural areas to Hyderabad was causing a serious problem, he said adding that the migrations should be stopped by providing livelihood and amenities in rural areas. A comprehensive master plan should be devised and execute to ensure development, corruption free administration and to protect the heritage and culture of the 400 year old city.

All this would be possible when political parties join hands setting aside their differences and public play active role in the development of Hyderabad, the BJP leader said.

Addressing the conclave, Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLC, G Devi Prasad Rao said, all political parties should work together for the development of Hyderabad.

Instead of going in to the past, it was important to look into the possibilities of how to develop the city, he said and added that it was indeed true that annual budget of Rs 3000 crore for GHMC was inadequate.

He also stressed on the need to ensure coordination between various civic bodies to prevent wastage of resources. The existing drains in Hyderabad were designed years ago to meet the requirements of 50-60 lakh population. However, they have turned inadequate now and need to be redesigned and reconstructed for which thousands of crore of rupees are required. So, state and centre should provide adequate funds for the purpose, he said.

Referring to garbage management, the TRS leader said that there was no dumping yard within 50 kms of Hyderabad and therefore transportation of garbage removed from Musi was costing a bomb for the GHMC. Keeping this in view, people should refrain from choking drains and nalas by way of indiscriminate throwing of garbage, he said.

He also acknowledged the problems arising out of migrations from rural areas to Hyderabad city and said steps were required to stop the migrations. He assured that the ideas and suggestions made by the participants at the conclave would be taken to the notice of the government for necessary action.

Problems should be discussed and only then solutions would come out, he said and congratulated the organisers of the conclave. He made an appeal to Awareness in Action to organise more and more such conclaves.

Speaking at the valedictory session, GHMC commissioner, B Janardhan Reddy said a lot more needs to be done on the infrastructure front but the civic body was facing serious shortage of resources. Yet, it has been delivering its best, he said.

As far as sanitation was concerned, the GHMC commissioner said much of the problem arises not because of financial crunch but due to the behaviour of citizens. For instance, people throw garbage stuffed in plastic covers into the drains and nalas. They are choked due to which drains and nalas overflow in many areas particularly in rainy season. Further, ground water depletes as all the rain water flows away due to choked drains and nalas, he said.

He also said that people dump demolished building material in the lakes causing a great harm to the water bodies. People resort to open urination, spitting and throwing remnants of eateries on the road, into the drains and nalas which make the city dirty at individual and institutional level.

People eat pan, it is the culture of the city. There is no problem in people eating pan. However, the problem is that people spit it on roads, corners and on stairs making the city dirty. This problem arises due to behaviour. Do not spit on roads, corners and stairs. It costs nothing, Janardhan Reddy appealed.

He also said that people should refrain from using plastic carry bags. On an average Hyderabad city residents are using more than 70 crore plastic carry bags and throwing them into drains and nalas. It is not an easy task to remove 70 crore plastic carry bags from the drains and nalas. Consequently, drains get stagnated and fevers like malaria spreads. It is all self-made, non-financial, behavior related, information, education and communication related.

Hyderabad needs Rs 1 lakh crore to provide minimum infrastructure. About Rs 23,000 crore is required as per 2014-15 estimates to maintain the present traffic speed of 15 kms per hour. Around Rs 10000 crore is required for underground drainage. Underground cabling works need thousands of crores. But the annual budget of GHMC is just Rs 3000 crore. So, the GHMC is trying to raise funds through municipal bonds. There are lot of ideas and plans. Ideas from this conclave are also welcome.

However, mere ideation without execution leads to delusion. Therefore, the beauty lies in how each idea is translated into execution. As someone said charity begins at home, every citizen of Hyderabad should strive to keep the city clean and then only tourism will get a boost, he said.

Delivering his valedictory address, chief guest of the occasion, Dr G Sateesh Reddy, Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri said that a city has to be better with infrastructure, safety, security, connectivity, mobility and of course better climatic conditions and with high cultural values to get a mark in history.

Hyderabad is a 400 year old city with rich heritage and culture. Culture is very important for any city since it comes out of the nativity of the particular city. If the city loses its nativity then the culture would be lost. When the culture is lost, something else creeps in and bad things make inroads into the city, he said.

Culturally people of Hyderabad are very friendly and are with helping nature. They mingle quickly with everyone and come to the rescue of their neighbours. This individual culture matters a lot in the development of Hyderabad. This needs to be preserved, Sateesh Reddy said.

Referring to the contribution the defence sector has played for the growth of Hyderabad, Sateesh Reddy said that there were more than 40 defence establishments in the city. He said these establishments have contributed a lot to improve green cover and industrial growth.

He also said that more than 1000 industrial units were working for the ministry of defence. One particular missile – Akash, produced here, has received an order of 24,000 crore and 85 percent of the items required for this missile are made by the local industries. This means creation of lot of employment and economic growth.

He further said that the defence ministry was encouraging green technologies to ensure that pollution free industries are run in and around the city. Also, a lot of infrastructure has been developed by the defence establishments, he said.

He, however, said that native culture must be preserved and people should be responsible in all aspects such as following traffic rules, grow plants at home, take up water harvesting systems at home and ensure individual and institutional sanitation to keep the city clean and beautiful.

Sateesh Reddy lauded the efforts of AiA in organising the ideas conclave for better Hyderabad.

AiA secretary, M Madhavi presented the annual report, while T Buchi Babu proposed the vote of thanks.


Shri Ramesh Jigajinagi

MOS for Drinking water and Sanitation
Government of India

Shri G. Kishan Reddy

MOS for Home Affairs, Govt of India.

Shri Syed Aminul Hasan Jafri


Dr. G. Sateesh Reddy

Chairman, DRDO

Shri B.V. Papa Rao, IAS (Retd.)

Advisor, Government of Telangana

Shri A.K. Mohanthy, IPS (Retd.)

Former DGP

Dr. B. Janardhan Reddy, IAS

Commissioner, GHMC

Shri Shahnawaz Qasim, IPS

Jt. CP, Cyberabad

Shri YVST Sai, IRS

Secretary, APPSC

Shri P. Shekhar Rao

Vice Chairman, NYKS

Shri Tankasala Ashok

Senior Journalist

Shri CVD Ram Prasad

Director, STPI, AP & Telangana

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