Urban India 2008 | Jan - Dec

Submitted by nanda on 11 July 2014 - 12:49pm
The Role of Large Reservoirs for Sustainable Water Supplies in Large Indian Cities

Urban water demand is rapidly growing in India due to high growth in urban population and rapid industrialization. Meeting this demand is a big challenge for the urban planners in India. Incidentally, the large urban areas are experiencing faster growth in population, and most of them are in arid and semi arid regions, which are naturally water-scarce. As a result, water supplies from local water resources including aquifers are falling far short of the high and concentrated demands in most urban areas. Under such situations, these large cities have to rely on distant large reservoirs. Given the structure and pattern of urban population growth in India, the paper argues that urbanization would be jeopardized in absence of water supplies from large reservoirs. The analysis of 302 urban centres shows that cities with larger population size have much higher level of dependence on surface water sources. Also, greater the share of surface water in the city water supplies, higher was the level of per capita water supply. A multiple regression analysis of 190 Class I cities and 240 Class II towns supported this finding. In big cities, with every unit increase in population, there is a 1.12 unit increase in per capita water supplies. Given the projected future growth in population, economic conditions and water demands, large reservoirs will have a much bigger role in meeting urban water supply needs.

Sacchidananda Mukherjee, Zankhana Shah and Dr. M. Dinesh Kumar
Special Economic Zones bypassing Local Government?

The concept of Special Economic Zone and its impact on development has attracted the attentions of economists as well as planners the world over as they provide foreign exchange earnings with promotion of exports, create jobs to alleviate unemployment, assist in income creation and attract foreign direct investment and technology transfer. These macro-economic benefits are coupled with some major micro-economic issues that have generated serious concerns. Land is a serious constraint to long-term development. Conversion of land from agricultural to other use involves change of livelihood which is not a smooth process. Provision of regular employment to the workers displaced by industrialization is a formidable challenge .A major issue related to SEZ is that it bypasses local conditions. SEZ Act, 2005 specifies the role of the central and state governments without any linkage to the local bodies. The economic units within the SEZ will enjoy tax holidays and other concessions. They will not need any license from the local bodies. They will be free from general environmental regulations so there will be no local pollution tax. . The local bodies are neither generating revenue from this new economic set-up nor do they have any say in the management of the SEZs. The Constitution has envisaged very significant role for the ULBs. The emergence of new economy in the form of SEZ is challenging these roles. This paper tries to take note of these concerns and argues for place of the local bodies at the centre of long term development that the new economy is aiming.

Dr. Shipra Maitra
Fiscal Performance of Urban Local Bodies in Andhra Pradesh: An Assessment

Urbanization is an outcome of development process. The increase in infrastructure and basic services is lagging behind the increase in population and income in urban areas. In this context, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have to play a role in providing the required urban services. The ability of the ULBs to provide these services depends upon their fiscal performance. The present study aims at assessing the fiscal performance of 14 Municipal Corporations (MCs) of Andhra Pradesh using both the standard and normative approaches based on selected fiscal performance indicators for the year 2006-07. It estimates under spending of the 14 MCs on water supply, roads, lighting and drains and culverts based on Zakaria Committee (1963) norms adjusted for 2006-07 based on Whole Sale Price Indices. Under the standard approach, all the 14 MCs experience surplus in both revenue and fiscal balances of their budgets for the year 2006-07. Under the normative approach, the normative fiscal and revenue balances show deficit of Rs.2601.47 crore and Rs.27.29 crore respectively when under spending on the four services is added to the revenue and fiscal balances. As a consequence of this deficit, the MCs have to raise Rs.27.29 crore additional revenue receipts for financing their revenue. 

Dr. S. Sudhakar
Emergence of Megacity: Impact on Dalits of Peri Urban Areas of Hyderabad

The Peri urban areas of Megacity Hyderabad are undergoing phenomenal changes due to changing land use. So is the life of Dalits living there. The field study done in the surrounding areas of Hyderabad revealed the impact of ongoing development on dalits. This paper discusses how most of these socially disadvantaged families are losing out as they are unable to understand the changes taking place, more importantly the boom in real estate market. There is seldom any orientation to them from any quarter about this boom and hence are selling their lands at a much cheaper rate to stay poorer forever. This paper explains, how, in certain cases dalits are mislead or threatened by real estate brokers to sell their lands. In the event of displacement due to developmental activities, they are lacking basic facilities in the relocated areas. The paper argues for the protection of assigned lands of dalits. This paper concludes that there should be an advocacy cell whom the dalits can approach for guidance in the event of changing land use and also seek legal protection from land mafia.

B. Suresh Reddy
Accounting and Financial Reporting: Chronic problems of Municipal bodies of small and medium towns of India

The unprecedented mounting population pressure in the urban areas of India has brought the issue of efficient urban governance to the centre stage of policy planning. Large scale reforms are being ushered into the urban sector. Unfortunately the unprecedented phase of accounting reforms witnessed in India during the past 2 decades have been sporadic, insufficient and have completely overlooked the special needs of small towns in India. They have focused too much on the conversion of accounting systems from “Cash Based Single Entry”, to “Accrual Based Double Entry”, and too little on urgent reforms required in Financial Reporting. Small and medium towns have special advantages and specific characteristics which give them the potential of emerging as future engines of economic growth. At present they suffer several problems, particularly in financial account keeping and financial reporting. They have so far faced all round neglect. They won’t be in a position to switch over to the Double Entry accounting system in the near future because of financial and institutional constraints. Until then some simple reforms in financial reporting can go a long way to help them to achieve much needed infrastructural development.

Dr. Sanjukta Ray
Norms and Standards of Basic Urban Services - A Situational Analysis

The question as to what levels of services ought to be provided and maintained in the urban areas of various sizes, dimensions and economic activities has been debated at various forum. It has been observed that fixing norms and standards for basic urban services is an extremely complex and critical task. Norms and Standards are dependent on a number of factors such as the fiscal capacity of local bodies and the users, topography and geology of the settlements concerned, the past history of infrastructure development, the size of population and other economic and non-economic factors. A number of agencies and expert group committees have provided a range of options for physical as well as financial standards of basic infrastructure and services in India. In this paper, an attempt has been made to review the norms and standards for core services viz; Water supply, Sewerage, Solid waste collection and Disposal, primary education and preventive health care. Suggested standards could be useful for ready reference by practising town planners, architects, engineers and planning organisations including local bodies.

Dr. Mukesh P. Mathur and Dr. Rajesh Chandra
National Capital Region Planning & Management

This paper discusses various urban threats in the mega-cities of the developing countries and provides new insights into NCR planning and management. The mega cities in developing countries have been facing various economic, environmental and social threats. Further, the urban economy is not able to attract desired level of basic industries owing to weak infrastructural support. At the outset, various emerging issues have been raised for the planning and management of the NCR. These relate to a wide range covering regional disparities; land acquisition, infrastructure and real estate development; choice of industries,; resource use, technology, manpower, equity and justice and finally pertaining to corporate social responsibility. An attempt was also been made to outline the broad visions and objectives for the sustainable development of the NCR. At the end this paper makes a few recommendations related to first, strengthening the urban economic base of Delhi in general and the NCR in particular, second, concerning need to encourage basic activities in CNCR towns other than Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, and Ghaziabad, third, need to designate areas for SEZ on the basis of sound land transfer models keeping in view the best practices in other cities, fourth, the real estate industries should bear the cost of infrastructure and landscaping of the region.

Management of mega-cities in developing countries has become a big challenge owing to rapid rise in urban population, ever increasing gap in the demand and supply of infrastructure, marginalization of urban poor due to globalization and Trans National Practices (TNPs) etc. These problems are aggravated further due to poor urban management and governance. There is a need to create space for neo-economic development to attract foreign direct investment i.e. creation of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and export promotion zones. These basic activities whether related to manufacturing or services are the life line of any city. In order to strengthen the urban economic base, there is a need to create world class infrastructure and improve governance. But this growth dynamism would be maintained only when we effectively manage environmental and social threats and undertake inclusive and eco-friendly planning of NCR.

Dr. Barun Kumar
Employment Generation in Urban Informal Sector: A Case Study of Guwahati City

Highly heterogeneous in nature, the urban centric informal sector depicts a picture of unorganized, unregulated, unregistered and labour-intensive activities. This sector with its historical presence in the rural economy has now become an integral part of urban economy due to the changing socio-economic structure of the country. Assam is no exception to this trend, with Guwahati providing the impetus to the rapid urbanization process. The importance of the informal sector as an engine of employment generation is undeniable for Guwahati and Assam, where the chronic unemployment problem has led to a severe economic and socio-political crisis. The objective of the study is to devise an operational methodology to estimate the employment generated by the informal sector in Guwahati city. The study estimates the jobs created in the informal sector in the ten years study period. Based on the estimates, the paper concludes that the informal sector played a very significant role in the economy of Guwahati by contributing about 90 percent to the total employment generated. Acknowledging the significance of this sector the paper offers various policy prescriptions for the optimum utilization of human resource operating in it.

Dr. Upasana Chakravarty and Nissar A. Barua
Forging an Inclusive Society in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad has embedded itself on the nation's mindscape for its communal violence. Any festival, be it Kite Flying, Ganesh Utsav, Rath Yatra, Moharram, inevitably leads to clashes. One gets so saturated with negative reports of the city’s communal strife, that only the statistics of the dead or injured grab headlines and the rest get buried in the inner pages of national dailies. However, no city which boasts a grand business tradition as Ahmedabad does, can afford strife to derail its trade.

How does one explain the breakdown of civic society in Ahmedabad? By what mechanism does a city manage conflict? Is it possible to explain violence by interethnic, economic rivalry, polarized party politics or segregated neighbourhoods? What factors differentiate conditions for peace from those engendering violence? This paper explores the structures of civic life in Ahmedabad which influenced political strategies & their outcomes. The ruptures in its civic life plunged Ahmedabad into an unending spiral of violence. In order to usher in durable peace, what is required is an alternative dialogue of amity and co-existence. There can be no adversarial relationship between the state and civil society. When civic linkages are forged on the initiatives of the local state organs, there are fruitful possibilities of a state-civil society synergy for stemming endemic violence. With a strong civic edifice in place, the state can easily prevent riots. Without building such an edifice, even the ablest state officials may not be able to prevent violence.

Dr. Shailaja Menon
Urbanisation in Arunachal Pradesh - Perspective & Prospects

The north – eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh is home to a large number of tribal population of diverse linguistic and ethnic background .These tribes have lived in harmony with nature using natural resources in an equitable and sustainable manner within their own system .With increasing economic activity and consequently increasing complexity in production, exchange, and level of development, concentration of population is migrating from one point to another. Due to expansion of different administrative and other setup, pace of urbanization has stepped up, particularly after attaining statehood in 1987.There is no record of urban population prior to 1971 census when it was only 3.70%, this increased to 21 .34 % in 2001. However being a tribal dominated hilly state urbanization process in the state, is not natural but induced. In this paper, with a view to examine the situation and process of urbanisation, its socio economic correlates and its consequences, an attempt has been made with the help of latest available data supplemented with suggestions, to improve the situation in the state.

Manish Sharma