NEW DELHI: If India continues with the current trend of “poorly planned, sprawling and unconnected” pattern of urbanisation, it could impose an estimated cost of upto $1.8 trillion by mid-century to the country, a new study today said.

The new report ‘New Climate Economy on India’s urbanisation potential’ said that better and smarter urban growth could be an economic opportunity for India worth up to 6 per cent of GDP by 2050.

“Continuing the current poorly planned, sprawling, unconnected pattern of urbanisation could impose an estimated cost of between $ 330 billion and $1.8 trillion by mid-century. At the household level, this equates to more than 20% of average household incomes.”

“On average across a sample of 479 Indian cities, a 10 per cent increase in a city’s dispersion index in 2002 is associated with a 0.4-0.9 per cent point decrease in economic growth over the subsequent period,” it said.

It noted that there are a number of negative impacts or costs associated with India’s current urbanisation model, ranging from increased costs of providing public infrastructure and services, transportation costs, traffic casualties, traffic congestion, air pollution, and health risks, among other considerations.

“14 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, and outdoor air pollution in Indian cities is estimated to cause around 1.1 million premature deaths per year. India also has the largest number of total traffic deaths of any country: 137,572 were officially reported in 2013,” it said.

The report said that in India, urban sprawl is different than in other countries and is best understood as a low density of built-up floor space per unit of land area, combined with severe overcrowding per unit of built-up area.

“For example, Mumbai homes have only about 30-square-feet per person, less than a quarter of the comparable availability in urban China.

“Poorly planned, sprawled, private-vehicle dependent model of urban growth can have significant economic, social, and environmental costs which undermine prosperity.”