Tamil Nadu is currently experiencing great pressure on its available land resources. The state, with nearly 4 percent of the overall national geographical area, accommodates about 18 percent of India’s population. The competition for land from various sectors require a coherent land use planning to ensure balanced sustainable development. Additionally, the absence of an integrated overall concept for spatial and land use planning not only encourages excessive exploitation of land resources, but also aggravates conflicts.
Over the last few decades, the land use patterns in India have undergone major changes. Growing urbanisation and industrialisation have been diverting agricultural land for other purposes. This can pose serious challenges in terms of ensuring food security to the population, particularly to the disadvantaged sections of society. Another major potential threat that the diversity of flora and fauna is forced to survive within limited biodiversity hotspots. It may be noted that Tamil Nadu’s gross cropped area declined from 73.8 lakh ha (1970-71) to 58.24 lakh ha (2008-09) and cultivable wastes, current fallows and other fallows increased from 21.3 lakh ha to 28.4 lakh ha.
The challenges in spatial planning include the emergence of rural land markets, multiple regulatory mechanisms, lack of clear titles, and high costs of land. This is particularly because of the simultaneous weakening of the agricultural sector and high population densities have been coupled with growing infrastructure needs and inefficient tax collection leading to poor revenues.
Against this backdrop, it is pertinent that Tamil Nadu develops appropriate policies and institutional mechanisms to promote coherent land use planning and management in order to sustain its ambitious developmental goals.
Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) enacted Town & Country Planning Act (T&CP Act), 1971. It functions under the control of Housing & Urban Development Department (H&UD) of the Secretariat. The department has its jurisdiction over the entire Tamil Nadu except Chennai Metropolitan Development Area (CMDA).
Aims/goals of the Directorate:
- To provide effective land development plan with adequate infrastructural facilities for conducive living environment required for the society. This is achieved by integrating the physical, economic as well as social planning for the diverse conditions viz., physiography, pattern of urbanisation, traditional practices, socio-economic equalities etc., prevalent in different parts of the towns and villages.
- To achieve socio-economic development of the state through systematic development and regulation of growth of urban and rural areas of the State through Master Plans/New Town Development Plans and Detailed Development Plans.
- To arrest the rural migration to cities and towns by rural-urban integration through Regional Plans.
- To preserve the historical, heritage and tourism important places in the state.
- To protect environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas of the state.
The major functions of the State Planning Commission are as follows:
- Preparing Five Year and Annual Plans based on the policies and priorities of the Government;
- Undertaking Mid Term review of the Five Year Plan and advising the Government on appropriate modification and restructuring of the schemes;
- Evaluating major plan schemes through Department of Evaluation and Applied Research;
- Monitoring development indicators that influence the Human Development Index, Gender Development Index, etc., at a disaggregated level;
- Undertaking special studies as required for formulation and implementation of plan projects and programmes;
- Monitoring the Tamil Nadu economy and sending reports to Government as and when necessary
- Implementing and monitoring State Balanced Growth Fund (SBGF) to address the regional disparities.
- Coordinating the functions of District Planning Cells and initiating planning process at District/Block/Village level.
The Commission has the following technical divisions:
- Agricultural Policy and Planning
- Industries, Power and Transport
- Land Use
- Education and Employment
- Health and Social Welfare
- District Planning and Rural Development
- Plan Co-ordination