Urban India 2010 | Jul - Dec

Submitted by nanda on 14 July 2014 - 1:50pm
Green Space Preservation in Indian Cities

Urban parks/gardens and natural vegetation near cities are the green assets which are responsible for various environmental, social and educational benefits to the people living in or near cities. One of the obvious indicators of sustainable urban development is the quality and quantity of green spaces in and around the city. Scientific evidences in last two decades have emphasized the crucial necessity of green areas within urban social ecological systems to ameliorate several problems of city-culture. People in big cities of both developed and developing economies have shown willingness to pay for maintenance and creation of urban greens provided respective governments spend the amount judiciously and properly. Few studies highlighting use value of urban greens from residents' point of view have been discussed and need for quality urban green spaces has been emphasized in the article.

Pradeep Chaudhry
IT and IT Enabled Services: Impact on local Informal Sector Economy and Inclusive Growth

India has become an important destination for multinational companies who are shifting their operations to cheaper wage locations. Most of the developed countries are facing problems of an aging population, while India has 500 million people less than 19 years old. Recent studies have shown a major shift in the employment trends in India from the production of material goods to production of intangibles. In the IT sector, the employment has increased by 770 per cent during 2002-2007. IT sector has generated nearly 80% jobs for the formal sector and merely 20% for the informal sector. Gurgaon and Noida in the National Capital Region (NCR) have been the shining spots for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector because of the active support by the respective state governments. 

This paper focuses on the impact of ICT sector on the local informal economy to analyze the growth of Gurgaon and Noida. The employment trends are observed, comparing the pre-IT and post-IT sector developments in Gurgaon and Noida, highlighting the growth trends in this area. The data analysis shows that while ICT sector has been a prime mover of national income during last decade, but its relative impact is not significant in terms of income or employment in the informal sector. ICT sector has not created any space for the lower-end economic actors, as evidenced in the NCR. This sunrise sector has not contributed to inclusive growth with increasing share of income in the informal sector. Informal sector has been expanded in this region with increase in jobs, but it has led to exclusionary policies with widening income gap.

Shipra Maitra
Municipal Credit Rating, Evolution and Implications for Urban Sector Financing in India

The paper has described experience with credit rating of urban local bodies in India over the past decade. It has facilitated understanding of municipal credit quality and has created greater awareness in the larger financial markets for this asset class. While municipal bonds have restricted volumes on account of high credit quality requirements, the potential exists for developing a commercial long-term loan market supported by credit enhancements.

Sujatha Srikumar
Quality of Life in Mumbai

Growing urbanization and the growth of cities calls for a discussion on the quality of life offered by cities to its population. The paper is an empirical examination of the economic and non-economic dimensions of life in Mumbai. While incomes are high and are rising, poverty is negligible in Mumbai. However, inequalities in consumption expenditures which have been used as a proxy for inequalities in incomes are on the rise. Growing self-employment in the tertiary sector has implications for social insecurity and is an area of concern. In the non-economic dimensions of life in Mumbai, the paper has discussed the human development areas of education, health, pollution levels, housing and access to publicly provided services. The paper concludes with an attempt to measure human development and has presented the Human Development Measure for the Wards of Mumbai.

Sangita Kamdar
Property Tax Reforms in India

Property Tax (PT) is an important source of local revenue in many countries, but is often underutilized as a source for financing local expenditures. In India, many local governments have initiated administrative and valuation reforms to improve collections from property taxes. This paper is based on a study of innovative PT reforms in 10 cities where the reforms and their implications on the revenue base of the municipalities have been examined. Although the present reform measures are a good step towards improving the performance of the property tax, structural issues such as improved valuation, increasing buoyancy of the tax and tax payer's confidence need to be addressed to make these reforms sustainable and replicable. The study findings reveal that reforms have, to a great extent helped the cities towards system improvement in property tax. The JNNURM reform agenda has given the cities the impetus required to bring in changes, which will streamline the property tax system and strengthen the revenue base of the cities. The study strongly recommends a change in the assessment system of taxation with an inbuilt system of automatic revision. Such a system would be sustainable once it is linked with simultaneous administrative reforms.

Debjani Ghosh
Bhubaneswar on the Path of Integrating Co-Benefits of Inclusive Environment Sustainable Transport Principles in City Planning

During the last few decades, urban areas in India have witnessed significant population increase and economic development. Like many urban systems of the world Indian cities are facing the challenge of mobility. Cities are often ill-equipped to control and manage the rampant growth in motorized vehicles with too many players involved for one goal but integration & coordination among them remains absent. The present paper focuses on approach of Bhubaneswar city's Inclusive Integrated Environmental Sustainable Transport (IIEST) Initiative. It represents a new vision not only for the city's transport sector but also for the form of urban environment and overall quality of life afforded to the city's inhabitants. The over-arching goal is to establish co-benefits advantages of Inclusive Integrated Environmental Sustainable Transport measures encompassing high-quality public transport, priority infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, and incentives to discourage private vehicle use.

Piyush Ranjan Rout
Socio-Economic Profile of Slum India: An Analysis of Socio-Economic Characterstics of Slums Across Wards of Select Million Plus Municipal Corporations

This article attempts to analyse the socio-economic characteristics of slums across wards of select million plus municipal corporations. Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Greater Mumbai, Indore, Lucknow and Patna Municipal Corporations have been selected for the study. Two set of indicators have been generated at the ward level; one for slums located inward and other forward itself. Further, inter-linkages among various socio-economic indicators have been analysed at the ward level. The results of the analysis reveal some important socio-economic characteristics of slums at the ward level of selected million plus municipal corporations, e.g. whether socio-economic condition of slum dwellers living in wards having high concentration of slum population is better than that of slum dwellers living in wards having low concentration of slum population, whether scheduled caste population is high or low in slums having comparatively well socio-economic condition etc. The same analysis has been done for the million plus municipal corporations before the ward level exercise. The relative deprivation of slum dwellers vis-à-vis other urban dwellers at the all India level and million plus city level has been assessed. Further, an attempt has been made to inquire into the relative deprivation among slum dwellers across the million plus municipal corporations.

Prem Kumar
Assessing the Institutional Readiness for PPPs

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) have emerged as a key strategic option as India seeks to overcome its burgeoning infrastructure gap. The presence of an enabling environment for PPPs at the state and urban levels is vital for their success. Through a review of the literature and discussions with experts in the area of PPPs, this paper identifies and validates the key elements of an enabling institutional environment for PPPs. These elements are then weighted and aggregated to develop an index that defines the strength or readiness of a given institutional environment to sustain and support private investment in infrastructure. A scientific technique known as the 'Analytical Hierarchy Process' (AHP) is applied for this purpose. We then apply this index to rank selected Indian states in the order of their readiness towards implementing PPPs. This exercise demonstrates the applicability of the index and we discuss how governments at both urban and state levels can use this index to benchmark and improve their institutional environments for the successful enactment of PPPs.

Keerthi Potnuru and Ashwin Mahalingam