UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL OF URBAN INDIA

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By admin July 1, 2019 20:12

WHY IN NEWS: Recently, The Global Metro Monitor 2018 reports by Brooking Institution releases which state that 36% of employment growth and 67% of GDP growth were contributed by the 300 largest global metros, with those in emerging economies outperforming those in advanced economies. 

 

RELEVANCE:

  • Nine Indian metros feature in the top 150 ranks of the economic performance index. 
  • By 2030, India will have 71 metropolitan cities, of which seven would have a population of more than 10 million. 
  • It signifies that metropolises are going to be a key feature of India’s urbanisation and will play a crucial role in fuelling growth.

 

ABOUT METROPOLITAN AREA Article 243P(c) of the Constitution defines ‘metropolitan areas’ as those having “population of ten lakhs or more, comprised in one or more districts and consisting of two or more municipalities/panchayats/ other contiguous areas, specified by the governor through public notification to be a metropolitan area”.
CERTAIN PROVISIONS
  • It recognises metropolitan areas as multi-municipal and multi-district entities. 
  • It mandates the formation of a Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC)
  • MPC prepare draft development plans, considering common interests between local authorities, objectives and priorities set by Central and State governments, and investments likely to be made in the area by various agencies. 
  • To ensure the democratic character of the MPC, it is mandated that at least two-thirds of the members of the committee must be elected by and from among the elected members of the municipalities and chairpersons of the panchayats in the metropolitan area, proportionate to the ratio of their respective populations. 
  • The size and manner of filling such seats are left to the State’s discretion.
ISSUE WITH MPC
  • Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) 2018 found that only nine out of 18 cities mandated to form MPCs have constituted them. 
  • Where constituted, their functionality is questionable, with the limited role of local elected representatives raising further questions on democratic decentralisation. 
  • Thus, the provision for an MPC has not introduced robust governance of metropolises, as the metropolises continue to be a collection of parastatals and local bodies in an entirely fragmented architecture.
MEASURE FOR MPC
  • Need for democratic approach by providing the MPCs with a full-time secretariat, which includes, staff, budgets and executive powers.
  • It can serve as a middle layer between the municipal bodies and the state government.
  • Housing, transport and police should be in the 12th Schedule. Currently State governments continue to hold these functions. This control provides state governments with unrestrained power over capital-intensive sectors, indirectly enabling them to control cities.
  • More financial resources at MPCs disposal
  • Ultimately move to a directly elected mayoral system of urban governance.

Example:

Greater Bengaluru Governance Bill, 2018, drafted by the Expert Committee it had a provision for directly elected Mayor, responsible for the overall planning of Greater Bengaluru

It has powers for inter-agency coordination and administration of major infrastructural projects across the urban local bodies within the area.

 

NEED OF AN HOUR

India, need to begin the discourse on a governance framework for the future of its metropolises. India should focus on-

 

  • Disaster management, mobility, housing, climate change, etc. transcend municipal boundaries and require regional-level solutions. 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE

CASE STUDY

The U.K. has rolled out ‘City Deals’, an agreement between the Union government and a city economic region, modelled on a ‘competition policy style’ approach. 

               The city economic region is represented by a ‘combined authority’. This is a statutory body set up through national legislation that enables a group of two or more councils to collaborate decisions, and which is steered by a directly elected Mayor. This is to further democratise and incentivise local authorities to collaborate and reduce fragmented governance, drive economic prosperity, job growth, etc. 

              ‘City Deals’ move from budget silos and promote ‘economic growth budget’ across regions. The U.K. has established nine such combined authorities. 

Australia adopted a regional governance model along these lines in 2016. Meanwhile, China is envisioning 19 seamlessly connected super city clusters.

 

WAY FORWARD

To sum up it can be said that India envisions the opportunities and challenges from a ‘city’ level to ‘city-region’ level. Government must create a platform to build consensus among State governments. While discourse being triggered which is a welcome step. Thus there is need to form a focused centric approach as it can be a game changer for the economy. 

 

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By admin July 1, 2019 20:12