India is yet to begin the discourse on a governance framework for the future of its metropolises. What is ailing India’s metropolises ? Discuss steps taken by government to address these concerns.(250 words)

Mentor’s Comment

  1.  Give an introduction of metropolises. Provide constituonal provision, legal mechanism for administration .
  2. Discuss the problem with the metropolitan governance structure.
  3. Provide steps taken by the government to address these concerns.
  4. Analyze these schemes and suggest a way forward in conclusion

 


Answer:

Article 243P(c) of the Constitution of India 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”. It is important to note that the Global Metro
Monitor 2018 reports 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.
By 2030, India will have 71 metropolitan cities, of which seven would have a population of more
than 10 million. Experts opine that what emerges very clearly is that metropolises are going to be
a key feature of India’s urbanisation and will play a crucial role in fuelling growth.

1. Issues related to Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC)
 MPCs were expected to lay frameworks for metropolitan governance, but on the ground
they do not exist in most cases.
 Janaagraha’s 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.
2. Niti Aayog New India@75 highlighted non-availability of the following-
 An institutional mechanism for inter-agency coordination, including special purpose
vehicles (SPVs), for effective delivery.
 A robust spatial plan as an overall framework within which smart city planning and
implementation can happen.
 Smart mechanisms to enhance the voices of the urban poor, slum dwellers, migrants and
other underprivileged citizens.
 A digital master plan or a digital strategy and roadmap.
 Data-driven decision making for service delivery and resource sustainability.
 Availability of skilled human resources to handle various functional domains.
 Financing smart cities and financial sustainability of ULBs.

3. It is yet to recognise that disaster management, mobility, housing, climate change, etc.
transcend municipal boundaries and require regional-level solutions.
Way Forward

 The Central government must create a platform to build consensus among State
governments. Perhaps, the Greater Bengaluru Governance Bill, 2018, drafted by the
Expert Committee for Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Restructuring, could offer
direction.
 There is need to revisit urban planning system and the focus should be on to improve the
quality of life by developing the social and the physical infrastructure.
 The local administration is the key to ensure the sustainable growth of the cities.
The Smart City Mission in fact strengthens the governance system by empowering the
local administration. The local municipal corporations should improve their respective
credit scores and issue Municipal bonds to raise funds.
 In this regard government schemes like Housing for All and Deendayal Antyodaya
Yojana (National Urban Livelihoods Mission) have been playing an important role.
 Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana (National Urban Livelihoods Mission) to reduce poverty
and vulnerability of the urban poor households by enabling them to access gainful self-
employment and skilled wage employment opportunities can help in tackling the issues
related to urbanization.
 The Indian Urban Observatory will help in getting reliable, up-to-date information on a
meaningful set of indicators over various domains such as transport, health, environment,
water, finance and so on, which will further assist in developing best practices, future
strategies and policy interventions as and when required.
Niti Aayog New India @75 recommendation
 An integrated institutional architecture for planning and coordinating the regulation of
mobility such as a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority is needed.
 A high-level inter-ministerial electric vehicle (EV) mission is necessary for proper
coordination on the EV agenda.
 Cities should dedicate a single-window facility for the urban poor to access basic services
such as water supply, drainage and sewerage, and affordable housing in the form of
dormitory and rental housing.
 The resilient cities approach should also be in line with the 11th Sustainable
Development Goal (SDG), which emphasizes the sustainable development of cities and
communities. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) can issue model
guidelines in this regard.
Conclusion
The Central government must create a platform to build consensus among State governments for
inter-agency coordination and administration of major infrastructural projects across the urban
local bodies within the area. In this regard, it could learn from the U.K. ‘City Deals’, an
agreement between the Union government and a city economic region, modelled on a
‘competition policy style’ approach.

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