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Now, a protocol to sustain Mumbai

February 24, 2009 12:10 IST
Mumbai, the largest metropolitan city of India, may well be on the path taken by cities like Amsterdam and Netherlands, if it gets inspired to implement sustainability development.

The students of Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS) along with Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) and Asian Centre for Corporate Governance &Sustainability (ACCGs) recently submitted 'Mumbai Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship Protocol', which was released by Jayant Patil, minister for finance and planning, government of Maharashtra at the 9th international conference on governance, sustainability and corporate citizenship.

The protocol provides practices, policies and procedures for development of sustainable companies and approach for sustainable Mumbai city, thereby providing quality life to its citizens.

The idea of the Mumbai protocol was conceptualised by MK Chauhan, faculty of JBIMS, vice chairman, global advisory board, ACCGS, member -- organisational stakeholder council of Global Reporting Initiative, chairman -- governance forum and corporate governance committee, IMC and MN Chaini, president of IMC.

"Mumbai is home to some of India's most prestigious business houses and companies and contributes majority of India's revenues for the exchequer. Hence corporate citizenship becomes a major agenda for the city. Similarly, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has one of the largest outlays as municipal corporation in India and its budget can be compared to some of the state budgets in India.

So, there is a need to provide a common platform to the various stakeholders including corporate boards, government, NGOs and citizens to strike a balance between corporate governance and public governance.

Also, long-term sustainable development of community and society is also finding prominent place in board discussions," says Sonal Desai, a student who assisted the professor in the project.

In order to implement the initiative, the protocol requires a constant dialogue between the stakeholders. It goes on to state that the code of conduct for ministries, government officials and regulators is as important as it is for corporate boards, communities, customers, and citizens at large.

With its ever increasing population, deteriorating environmental conditions, income disparities, scarcity of land resources, sustainability becomes a major agenda for Mumbai.

To develop this protocol, we divided it into three principles namely environment intergrity, social sustainability and economic governance. Environment integrity covers the aspects of water conservation, pollution control, effective land utilisation and waste management and restoration.

"While social sustainability covers the aspects of distribution of wealth, gender equality, education and better conditions of human settlement, economic governance includes transparency and accountability in governance, Right to Information Act (RTI) and its effective implementation. The protocol will continue to evolve as new issues are raised and resolved," says Ankit Dalmia, another student at JBIMS who developed the protocol.

Mumbai, the financial hub of the country, is an island city covering an area of about 437.71 sq.km, houses about 13 mn people, and has an overwhelming population density of about 27,209 people per sq. km., the protocol states.

Chitra Unnithan in Mumbai/Ahmedabad
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