Between 1951 and 1961, the population of Mumbai rose by 40%; in the next decade it shot up by 43.80%. This rapid growth came about due to the increasing industrial and commercial importance of the city, but resulted in a fast deterioration in the quality of life for many of the city's inhabitants. Development could not keep pace with the rapidly growing population, industry, trade, and commerce. Expansion of the city was also limited by the physical location of the city on a long, narrow peninsula, with few mainland connections.
Upon the realization of the emerging problem in 1958, the government of Bombay appointed a study group under the chairmanship of S.G. Barve, Secretary of the Public Works Department. This group was to consider the problems of traffic congestion, deficiency of open spaces and play fields, housing shortages, and over-concentration of industry in the metropolitan and suburban areas of the city, and to recommend specific measures to deal with these.
The Barve group submitted its report in February, 1959. One of its major recommendations was that a rail-cum-road bridge be built across the Thane Creek to connect peninsular Bombay with the mainland. The group felt that the bridge would accelerate development across the creek, relieving pressure on the city's railways and roadways, and draw industrial and residential concentrations eastward to the mainland. The group hoped that the eastward development would be orderly and would take place in a planned manner.
The government of Maharashtra accepted the Barve group's recommendation. To examine metropolitan problems in a regional context, the government appointed another committee chaired by Prof. D.R. Gadgil, then-director of the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, in March, 1965. The committee was asked to formulate broad principles of regional planning for the metropolitan regions of Bombay, Panvel, and Pune, and make recommendations for the establishment of metropolitan authorities for preparation and execution of such plans.
The Gadgil committee submitted its report in March, 1966, and recommended creation of regional planning boards for notified regions, starting with the Bombay and Pune regions. To establish such boards, it also recommended passage of a Regional Planning Act. The Gadgil committee made a number of other recommendations:
These multinucleated settlements, each 250,000 in population, were proposed as a series of nodes strung out along mass transit axes, self-contained with respect to schools, commerce, and other essential services, and separated from each other by green spaces.
The government passed the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 and brought it into effect in January 1967. Subsequently, the Bombay metropolitan region was notified and a regional planning board was constituted in June 1967 under the chairmanship of ICS officer L.G. Rajwade. The draft regional plan of the board was finalized in January 1970. It proposed the development of a city across the harbour, on the mainland to the east, as a counter-magnate to the office concentration taking place at the southern tip of Bombay. This alternative growth pole was to siphon off the overconcentration of jobs and population and reallocate these on the mainland.
The board recommended that the new metro-centre or Navi Mumbai, as it is now called, be developed to accommodate a population of 21 lacs. This recommendation was accepted by the government of Maharashtra. Accordingly, the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited was incorporated on 17th March 1970 under the Indian Companies Act, 1956. By February 1970, the government notified for acquisition of privately owned land covering 86 villages and measuring 159.54 km². within the present limits of Navi Mumbai. Land belonging to a further nine villages, measuring 28.70 km². was additionally designated in August, 1973 for inclusion in the project area.
In March, 1971, CIDCO was designated the New Town Development Authority for the project. In October, 1971, CIDCO undertook to prepare and publish a development plan as required by the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966.
The corporation started functioning as a company fully owned by the State Government with initial subscribed capital of Rs. 3.95 crores from the government. It was entrusted with developing necessary social and physical infrastructure and was also entitled to recover all costs of development from the sale of land and constructed properties.
The growth of Navi Mumbai was aimed at decongesting Mumbai in respect to both population and commercial activities by shifting industry, market, and office activities. This would make the new city sustainable physically, economically, and environmentally. The new city projected to accommodate 2 million people and 750,000 jobs from the 1970s through the 1990s.
The impact of Navi Mumbai on the growth of Mumbai was reflected in the 1980s. The 1991 census recorded a 10% decrease in population growth rate for greater Mumbai, compared to the previous decade. For the island city (a part of greater Mumbai), growth in the 1980s was negative for the first time. The reason for this phenomenon can partly be attributed to the growth of extended suburbs, and partly to Navi Mumbai which provided an alternative path for growth.
The corporation is controlled by its highest body of management, the board of directors, appointed by the state government. Day-to-day management is looked after by its vice chairman and managing director, supported by a team of joint managing directors, chief administrator (New Towns), heads of various departments, and personnel from various technical and non-technical disciplines, including officers, engineers and subordinate staff.
The Corporation, as a company, is managed as per the provisions contained in the Companies Act as well as the Memorandum of Articles of Association of the Corporation. Decisions are made through a democratic process including department-head meetings, committee meetings, board meetings, and general meetings. Annual reports on working and affairs of the company with audit reports are regularly laid before the houses of the state legislature. Considering the exigencies of business to be transacted, the Board of Directors of CIDCO meet at least once a month.
CIDCO was given a mandate to undertake all development as works and recoup the cost of development from the sale proceeds of land and constructed property. Based on the mandate, CIDCO set the following broad objectives for itself:
In order to achieve the goal CIDCO started the following activities:
The new international airport, which is likely to be located in the Kopra-Panvel area, would be built through public-private partnership (PPP), with a private sector partner getting 74% equity while the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Maharashtra government (through City and Industrial Development Corporation or CIDCO) would hold 13% each. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has already given techno-feasibility clearance to the Navi Mumbai International airport.