Urban India 2009 | Jul - Dec

Submitted by nanda on 14 July 2014 - 1:29pm
Establishing A Title Registration System In India: Problems And Prospects

The land registration system in India is conspicuous by the absence of scientific record management. Globalising India needs a robust system of land record management and land rights in the country. The existing system of deed registration is fraught with discrepancies and errors because of outdated methods, which are predominantly manual. Introduction of the property title certification system seeks to create a public record of titles through the introduction scientific management of land records in a transparent manner. This paper attempts to identify the need for introduction of this reform, trace its genesis and outline a roadmap for implementation based on best practices from national and international experiences. Available case studies indicate that huge funds and a number of enabling legislations are required to bring about this reform in urban centres. A sound system of land records and efficient use of Information Technology would be key to success to ensure introduction of property title certification system in the country.

Dr.Debolina Kundu
Economics of Resettling Low-income Settlements (Slums) in Urban Areas: A Case for On-site Upgrading

The 'Economics of Resettlement' study measured costs and benefits of slum upgrading versus resettlement. Cities favour resettlement to profit from evacuated land but believe that tenure security and better living conditions under resettlement have benefits for the poor. Anti resettlement lobbies believe distances from livelihoods shock people into poverty but no conclusive evidence.

The study made a cost-benefit comparison of slum resettlement in Delhi and insitu upgrading in Mumbai including all financial costs and benefits, particularly the unacknowledged social costs and benefits. It concluded that far-site resettlement was significantly more costly for residents. Whilst benefits for governments are less in upgrading, it has significantly lower costs for both cities and people. Resettlement costs from job and income losses and expenditure and debt increases have long term economic impact. Decrease in working women with disempowerment, and termination of education among children has huge implications for gender development and sustainable poverty reduction. Impacts are also likely on city environments through added transport requirements. Relocation also disturbs inner city economy through market erosion. City policy must acknowledge the critical link between resettlement and development for tenure security benefits not to be nullified. Upgrading is a win-win solution for slum development, and relocation must be conditional in essential cases.

Dr. Renu Khosla
Fiscal Performance of Civic Bodies: The Greater Mumbai Perspective

74th Constitutional Amendment Act has widened the functional domain of civic bodies. However, their fiscal duress has not been eased out and the intergovernmental fiscal framework continues to gravitate towards higher level of governments. Fiscal divide of the cities, wherein some rely heavily on intergovernmental transfers while others enjoy comfortable fiscal position, is quite conspicuous. In this context, it is pertinent to review the fiscal nuances of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), which belongs to the latter cohort. MCGM is the largest civic body in the country whose fiscal magnitude even exceeds that of some states in India. MCGM relies completely on its own sources of revenue and demonstrates fiscal surplus in its accounts. However, there are issues with its apparent fiscal composure. It has access to a forbidden source of revenue, the octroi, and there is perpetual negligence of capital expenditure. This paper underscores key issues related to the finances of MCGM.

Anita Rath
Security of Tenure of Urban Poor Settlements: Trends and Experiences

This paper is a scholastic attempt to comprehend the international and national trends and experiences of tenure security pertaining to urban poor settlements. It explores and reviews different approaches adopted across different countries around the world in diverse conditions. Besides, it discusses the strategies and results of these approaches. The paper presents a critical review of nine international cases including Cambodia, Sao Paulo-Brazil, Recife-Brazil, Thailand, Philippines, Namibia, Indonesia, Peru and Kenya; and five national cases including Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. Further, it identifies the best practices and summarizes them into four broad categories which include (1). Tenure security against eviction by force, (2). Incremental and flexible approaches, (3). Collaborative and participatory approaches, and (4).Regularization.

Natraj Kranthi & Kavita Daryani Rao
Property Tax Reforms in India

Property tax constitutes the single largest source of revenue to the urban local bodies in India. In spite of loopholes in the levy, assessment and collection, this tax continues to be most significant to the ULBs. There has been criticism that the property tax is not being exploited to the full potential in the face of rapid urban expansion and consequential economic growth. The yield from property tax is not encouraging due to reasons like inelastic tax base, defective assessment and rent control legislation. Assessment, being the most critical aspect of property tax administration, is riddled with several problems-unscientific method of assessment, lack of transparency, non-assessment or underassessment of certain properties, lack of proper property recording, official discretion and tax payerofficial collision-all leading to revenue loss to the ULBs. Several reforms are underway in the property tax assessment in the country. This paper examines these reforms to identify the emerging patterns and their inadequacies.

Prof. V.Gnaneshwar
Some Facets of Migration to Districts of Maharashtra

Migration is an important component in the growth of population of an area, the other being natural growth. The process leads to growth of destination areas, and depopulation of sending areas. The census of India, 2001, has published some useful data on migration at a district level for Maharashtra and the present paper aims at bringing out certain spatial patterns related to migration. The data has been analysed cartographically and interpreted to draw valid inferences. 

There is a spatial variation in the extent of migrant population with western Maharashtra, under the shadow of Mumbai and Pune, and Vidarbha, under the influence of Nagpur showing a higher rate compared to Marathwada. The sources of migrant population also show a significant spatial variation, with local migrants predominating in less economically developed areas. As the source of migrants becomes more and more distant, the districts under their shadow significantly
increases. Analysis of the proportion of migrants from different segments confirms this picture.

Weaver's crop combination technique was adopted, in order to fix the number of states from which different districts have drawn their migrant population as also the extent of influence exerted by each of these states. One finds a near neighbour
effect. It is observed that the districts get slowly eliminated this way as the number of states in the combination increases.

Dr. Dipti Mukherji & Dr. V. S. Phadke