rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Business » 10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

April 28, 2014 11:32 IST

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

     Next

Next
M Ramachandran

The new government would do well to initiate action on this agenda so that people’s expectations get due recognition, says M Ramachandran.

What could be the basic outline of urban reform and renewal for India?  

More than 32 per cent of our population lives in cities and towns, contributing more than 70 per cent of GDP, 70-80 per cent of tax revenue and over 70 per cent of additional job generation.

Yet, our cities struggle even to supply the basics of satisfactory urban living.

What needs to be done to improve matters is captured here in a ten-point agenda covering the essentials to start with.

Click NEXT to read more…


Photographs: Reuters

     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

1. Extend the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission:

The national urban renewal mission should be extended for a ten-year period, with fresh Budgetary allocations and clearly stated objectives and deliverables.

The earlier mission period was seven years, which had to be extended because neither projects nor reforms got completed. Ideally, a larger mission covering more cities and towns, and with incentives built in for better and timely performance is required.

A longer time span for the mission, so that states and cities are clear as to what they have to do, is also necessary.

Cities should be held accountable on their provision of deliverables — such as access to water for all, toilets for all and affordable housing.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

2. A national commission on urbanisation:

Such a commission could map out the future directions and strategies for city development. Currently, there is no direction on fundamentals.

We do not know whether and where we should opt for vertical development, for example.

Nor are there strategies to ensure the provision of basic facilities or knowledge of what route urban planning should take and how to cater to the huge housing needs of the weaker sections.
Even whether to encourage new townships is not clearly defined.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

3. Empowered mayors:

Cities without proper leadership cannot play the role expected of them in a fast-developing country like ours. Should we have powerful and effective city heads, as is the case with world’s prominent cities?

States have not been able to take a call on this because of a variety of reasons and local compulsions.

So, it is time the national leadership in consultation with states took a decision on empowerment of mayors and chairpersons of local bodies.

Click NEXT to read more...

 


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

4. A relook at the 74th Amendment: Why has this Amendment, incorporated into the Constitution more than 20 years ago, not worked properly?

Why are states shy of implementing it fully?

Clearly, there are issues with the Amendment that need to be examined. We should relook at it, and decide what needs to be done now — modify it or enforce it.

This would naturally involve a consultation process with both states and cities. It has also to be noted that megacity governance is assuming new dimensions today, calling for effective and accountable governance arrangement at this level.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

5. Better devolution of funds:

Considering the weak resource base of India’s urban bodies, the devolution of funds needs to be reworked.

More sources of revenue must be assigned to local bodies, and other resource channels clearly defined. What needs to be done to have a functioning municipal bond system?

How can borrowing be encouraged? How can resource generation be incentivised? These are some of the essentials to be sorted out if our local bodies are to perform better and be more accountable.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: India

Prev     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

6. National, time-bound targets for essential services:

We cannot continue to live in a situation where access to water, for example, improves only marginally during a Plan period.

So it is time some national goals are set and the states and cities are supported in this national endeavour.

This and this alone will lead to citizen satisfaction at the city end. Also, service-level benchmarking and accountable, steady improvements should become the hallmark of local body performance.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

7. National policy provisions to reach ground level:

Currently, national policies have been formulated for urban sanitation, for urban transport and for housing and habitat.

What would make a difference is having a clear road map as to how their provisions would get implemented in a reasonable and known time period at the ground level. 

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

8. Slum-free cities:

 We have great visions about slum-free cities in our country, but no one knows when this will be fully implemented and what will be the mechanism which will make sure that this happens.

It is important that national strategies are worked out, states are taken along and cities know what is it that they need to do and contribute.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

9. Benchmarked service delivery:

Gone are the days when one could just take credit for the completion of projects.

Now, the question is what exactly the project means for the common man living in a slum or a distant part of the city. Accountability becomes key.

City bodies should be on their toes as far as effective service delivery is concerned — be it 24-hour water supply, access to quality water for all, the removal of waste and its proper disposal, satisfactory sewage coverage and so on.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Sahil Salvi
Tags: 1

Prev     Next

10 things the next govt must do to build great cities

Prev     More
Prev

More

10. Proper citizen/stakeholder participation system:

City residents should be able to effectively participate in the governance process. 

Systems should facilitate this; mohallas, and other similar areas well below the centralised city corporation or local body office, should become effective and functional as far as citizen participation is concerned.

This is an immediate agenda to start with, which would make a tremendous difference. Changing times and dissatisfaction with complicated hierarchies and systems call for an immediate makeover. The new government would do well to initiate action on this agenda so that people’s expectations get due recognition.

The writer was secretary, urban development.


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: 1

Prev     More
Source: