A critical appraisal of these measures:
There should be focussed attention to integrated development of infrastructure services in cities covered under the Mission and there should be establishment of linkages between asset-creation and asset-management through a slew of reforms for long-term project sustainability.
Green building concepts should be implemented.
Along the lines suggested by the administrative reforms commission over seven years ago, states should undertake “activity mapping” for municipal governments to be clear about which activities are essentially for them to manage, which require them to act as agents for higher tiers of government, and which involve sharing responsibility with other tiers of government. There is no “one size fits all here” – the answer will vary across municipalities.
The office of an empowered mayor (instead of the municipal commissioner) must take responsibility for administrative coordination internally between municipal departments, and externally with state and central government agencies.
Urban planning mechanisms need an overhaul to unify land record keeping, integrate land use with transport planning, and embed municipal plans into district and regional plans.
- Local bodies should fill vacancies.
- Time-tested master plans should be strengthened instead of preparing quick fix City development plans.
- Populist policies and reforms should have their logical conclusion and should not be done in great haste.
- Land development should be part of the planning of urban development
- Project management skills need to be enhanced = timely completion of projects.
- More PPP projects should be taken up.
Creating Urban Infrastructure :
Not creating essential urban infrastructure will lead to a deteriorating quality of life.
With large-scale migration to the cities, we must focus on making our cities economically viable and environmentally sustainable. Investing in our urban infrastructure will lead to enhanced economic activity. It will result in large-scale employment generation and an improved quality of life. This is a much-desired socioeconomic outcome in a young nation where the majority of urban migrants are youth. We also need to work hard to ensure that our urban infrastructure causes least harm to the environment.
In Indian cities, there is a lack of basic infrastructure and a deteriorating quality of life. India spends about $17 per capita annually on urban infrastructure projects, against a global benchmark of $100 and China’s $116. Indian cities face challenges in terms of governance and sustainability. The poverty and social isolation of minority groups in cities. With rapid urbanization, these problems are going to aggravate, and can cumulatively pose a challenge to India’s growth trajectory. Urban institutions also suffer from shortage of skilled people. Poor collection of property taxes. Jaipur and Bengaluru collect only 5-20% of their potential property tax.