After Independence, the influx of refugees from Pakistan and the burgeoning population put immense pressure on the weak infrastructure of Delhi. The haphazard development rubbed salt to the sore wounds of Delhi, which was already bursting at its seams. To ease this pressure, the Master Plan for Delhi, (notified in 1962) envisaged developing the city as a metropolitan region, a broad area consisting of the Union Territory of Delhi, (NCT) and a few ring towns around it. This became the geneses of the National Capital Region.
The National Capital Region Planning Board was constituted in 1985 in accordance with the recommendations of the Master Plan. It authorised a Plan for the development of the National Capital Region and prepared to organize and supervise the implementation of such a Plan with the objective of evolving harmonized policies. Specific attention was given to the control of land-uses and development of infrastructure in the region so as to avoid any haphazard development thereof.
NCR is spread over an area of 33,578 sq. km. and comprises of NCT, Delhi, (1482 sq km.), seven districts of Haryana, including Gurgaon, Rewari, Faridabad, Sonepat, Rohtak, Panipat and Jhajjhar, (13,413 sq. km ), five districts of Uttar Pradesh including Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautarnbuddha Nagar and Bulandshahr (10,853 sq. km.) and Alwar district (7,829 sq. km ) of Rajasthan.
Within these districts, the Board has identified Panipat, Rewari, Palwal, Dharuhera, Rohtak of Haryana, Hapur, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Khurja of Uttar Pradesh, Bhiwadi of Rajasthan and Alwal as priority towns for growth and balanced development. Additionally, in order to arrest the migratory population to the region, counter-magnet areas such as Hissar in Haryana, Patiala in Punjab, Kota in Rajasthan, Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh have also been identified for accelerated growth.
Out of its population of 1.15 crore, only 37.2% abide in Delhi. The remaining population lives in the satellite towns of UP, Harayana and Rajasthan. This already large population is increasing at a rate of 29% every decade.
The coming up of the NCR has completely changed the face of decrepit cities like Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad which had little to offer till their inclusion in the NCR.. A Newsweek report listed Ghaziabad among the 10 most dynamic cities in the world. By becoming part of the NCR, Ghaziabad, a small industrial town has been able to attract investments and human resources. Gurgaon, the little known city of Guru Dronacharaya, the teacher of Pandavas and Kauravas, has fast changed into the cyber city of Haryana and has been able to attract sizable capital from multinational companies, large business houses, foreign investors, such as, Maruti Udyog, Hero Honda, Alcatel, IBM, Honda Motors, Bharti Telecom, Carrier Aircon, Siemens etc. Faridabad now boasts of being the industrial town of Haryana. Shopping malls, mini cities providing world class amenities, multinational food chains are now more of a rule than an exception.
Initially conceived as supply lines for Delhi, these cities have grown to become a force to reckon with and the envy of the neighbouring cities, within their respective states as well as the rest of India.