Urban governance in India refers to the management of urban areas, including cities and towns. It involves the coordination of various activities and services provided by the government and other stakeholders to ensure the efficient functioning of cities and the well-being of urban residents. Here are some key aspects of urban governance in India:
- Local Government: Urban governance is primarily the responsibility of local governments, which are responsible for managing and providing essential services to residents of urban areas. The 74th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992 provided for the establishment of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as a three-tier system comprising Municipal Corporations (MCs), Municipal Councils (MCs) and Nagar Panchayats (NPs).
- Role of State Government: The State Government plays a significant role in urban governance by providing financial assistance, technical support, and policy guidance to local governments. State Governments are also responsible for the formulation of State-level policies and regulations for urban development.
- Planning and Management: Urban governance involves the planning and management of various aspects of urban areas, including land-use planning, transportation planning, infrastructure development, environmental management, and disaster management.
- Citizen Participation: Citizen participation is an essential element of urban governance. It involves the active involvement of citizens in decision-making processes, service delivery, and the monitoring of government activities.
- Challenges: Urban governance in India faces several challenges, including inadequate financial resources, poor infrastructure, lack of institutional capacity, and corruption.
- Initiatives: The Government of India has launched several initiatives to improve urban governance in the country, including the Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
6th ARC on Urban Governance
The Sixth Report of the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was published in 2008 and it focused on the topic of “Local Governance”. Here are some of the key suggestions made in the report regarding urban governance in India:
- Constitution of a Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) for each metropolitan area: The ARC recommended that an MPC be established for each metropolitan area to prepare a draft development plan for the area, review the plans prepared by local planning authorities, and coordinate the development plans of various local bodies in the area.
- Establishment of a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA): The ARC suggested the creation of UMTAs in metropolitan areas to integrate and manage public transportation services and to improve traffic management in the region.
- Strengthening of Municipalities: The ARC recommended that municipalities be given more financial autonomy and that their functions be decentralized to the ward level to make them more accountable to citizens.
- Creation of a National Urban Development and Housing Fund (NUDHF): The ARC suggested the creation of a NUDHF to provide financial assistance to state governments for urban development and housing projects.
- Promoting Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs): The ARC recommended the promotion of PPPs in urban development projects to bring in private sector expertise and investments.
- Introduction of e-governance: The ARC suggested that e-governance be introduced in urban local bodies to improve transparency, efficiency, and citizen participation in governance.
NITI Aayog on Urban Governance
NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) is a policy think tank of the Indian government that provides recommendations and advice on various policy issues, including urban governance. In 2018, NITI Aayog released a report titled “Transforming Urban India: The Path Ahead,” which outlined several key recommendations for improving urban governance in the country.
Some of the recommendations made by NITI Aayog include:
- Empowering local governments: The report recommended that local governments, such as municipal corporations and councils, should be empowered to take decisions and execute projects related to urban planning, development, and service delivery. This would require decentralization of powers and resources from state and central governments to local governments.
- Creating a single point of accountability: The report recommended that a single point of accountability be created for all urban governance-related issues, which would be responsible for coordinating and monitoring the activities of various agencies involved in urban development.
- Improving financial management: The report recommended that urban local bodies should be given more financial autonomy and that they should be encouraged to generate their own revenue through taxes and user charges. This would require reforms in the financial management systems of local governments.
- Strengthening citizen participation: The report recommended that citizen participation be strengthened in urban governance through the creation of ward committees and other mechanisms that allow citizens to participate in decision-making processes.
- Enhancing capacity building: The report recommended that capacity building programs be developed for local government officials, urban planners, and other stakeholders involved in urban governance. This would include training programs, exchange programs, and other initiatives aimed at improving the skills and knowledge of these stakeholders.
Terms and concepts related to Urban set-up
Urbanization is the process of increasing the proportion of a country’s population living in urban areas. With urbanization, several other associated terms have emerged. Some of the commonly used terms related to urbanization are:
- Statutory Towns: A town or an urban area is referred to as a statutory town when it has a municipal corporation, municipality, or cantonment board. These towns have a defined boundary and are administered under the municipal laws and regulations.
- Census Towns: A Census Town is a type of urban area recognized by the Indian Census Bureau. These towns have a population of at least 5,000 people, with a minimum of 75% of the male working population engaged in non-agricultural activities.
- Urban Agglomeration: An urban agglomeration is a continuous urban spread comprising a town and its adjoining urban outgrowths or two or more physically contiguous towns together with their outgrowths. The urban agglomeration consists of the core town and its satellite towns or outgrowths.
- Outgrowth: An outgrowth is a legally defined area on the periphery of a city or a town where the process of urbanization is rapidly taking place. These areas are contiguous to the existing urban areas and are characterized by an increase in population density and infrastructure development.
- Over-Urbanization: Over-urbanization refers to the situation where urbanization has occurred at an excessive rate, leading to a strain on the resources and infrastructure of the city or town. This results in a decrease in the quality of life for the residents.
- Sub-Urbanization: Sub-urbanization is the process of migration of people from urban areas to the suburbs, resulting in the development of satellite towns around the urban center.
- De-Urbanization: De-urbanization is the process of the reduction in the proportion of people living in urban areas. This may happen due to a decline in the economic activities or loss of employment opportunities in the urban areas, leading to migration to rural areas.
- Satellite Towns: Satellite towns are urban centers that are located on the periphery of a larger urban center or metropolitan area. These towns are designed to cater to the needs of the urban population and provide them with employment, housing, and other basic amenities.
1. What is the Urban Governance Index 2022?
- The Urban Governance Index 2022 is a measure or ranking system that assesses the effectiveness of urban governance in various cities or regions. It evaluates factors related to governance, infrastructure, services, and quality of life in urban areas.
2. How is the Urban Governance Index 2022 calculated or determined?
- The Urban Governance Index 2022 is typically calculated using a set of indicators and data points that evaluate urban governance aspects such as administration, infrastructure, public services, citizen participation, and sustainability.
3. What is urban local governance in India?
- Urban local governance in India refers to the system of local self-government in urban areas, including municipalities and municipal corporations. It involves elected representatives and municipal bodies responsible for administering urban affairs and providing services.
4. What is the role of media in urban governance in India, especially in the context of UPSC exams?
- Media plays a significant role in urban governance by highlighting issues, providing information to the public, and acting as a watchdog for transparency and accountability. In the context of UPSC exams, understanding this role is important for aspirants as it can be a topic in the General Studies paper.
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