Monday, May 05, 2008

Reforms and Self-Interest

Janaagraha has an interesting document on its website, titled Administrative Reforms Commission.

It attempts to find common ground, and possible solutions to problems arising from the rapid urbanization taking place in India. More than 30% of India's population now resides in its cities - about 350 million people for whom the "urban political and administrative leadership is unprepared to provide adequate governance even in the current situation, let alone in the chaotic future.".

In December 2005, the Indian government launched JNNURM, a massive Rs. 50,000 crore initiative that focuses on integrated development of infrastructure services in cities and provision of basic services to the urban poor. The mission period is spread over seven years, 2005-2012, with 63 qualifying cities and nine eligible sectors. The thrust of the JNNURM is also to ensure improvement in urban governance and service delivery and therefore envisages a set of mandatory reforms that the State Governments and the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) shall have to enact as a prerequisite for accessing the Central assistance.

How are the state governments and ULBs responding to this huge opportunity? Annex-e (page-243) of this report voices the doubts and dilemmas of each of the stakeholders - the urban poor, middle class, business community, bureaucrat, city politician, state politician, national politician, etc..

It is interesting to see how each group views a civic problem from its own self-interested point of view...

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