COVID-19 has made apparent the interconnectedness of society while simultaneously exposing deep inequalities and divisions within it.
This was Prof Ashok Kumar's assessment of the pandemic at the recent Institute of Town Planners, India webinar on planning cities and towns post COVID-19.
In mega cities like Delhi, participatory planning is essential if we are to create a resilient and inclusive urban future. This necessitates the active engagement and involvement of citizens in co-producing policies and programmes that address intersectional issues of ethnicity, gender, caste, race, and religion.
To date, the Delhi Jal Board and the Delhi Development Authority have pursued exclusionary rather than inclusionary water services policies, depriving the urban poor from accessing safe and affordable drinking water and denying their input into decision making processes.
The recovery from COVID-19 offers an opportunity to make structural changes and institutional reforms in favour of the poorest and most vulnerable to ensure clean water and sanitation for all.