ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

K C SivaramakrishnanSubscribe to K C Sivaramakrishnan

Revisiting the 74th Constitutional Amendment for Better Metropolitan Governance

Indian policymakers have been slow in responding to changing metropolitan forms and have largely visualised urbanisation as city expansion. As a result, metropolitan regions, which are complex entities with multiple municipal and non-municipal institutional arrangements, have become mere creatures of state governments with neither the necessary strategic flexibility nor political legitimacy. In part, this is because the 74th constitutional amendment of 1993 has failed to visualise the dynamics of large complex urban formations. This paper suggests both a need to confront this blind spot in the 74th constitutional amendment for long-term durable solutions and to creatively work through available legislative and institutional arrangements in the short to medium term.

Cities and Citizenships

Urbanising Citizenship: Contested Spaces in Indian Cities edited by Renu Desai and Romola Sanyal (New Delhi: Sage Publications), 2011; pp 268, Rs 695.

Urban Development and Metro Governance

While the outcomes of the Lok Sabha and the state assembly elections have been well documented and analysed, little is known about the electoral geography in urban areas. In discussing the conflicting interests of local politics and urban development, this article places the definition and understanding of what is "urban" in the context of the 74th constitutional amendment, and also looks at the expectations from and the progress on the reforms agenda of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Further, the article addresses the high economic stakes and challenges involved in metro governance, while arguing that these cannot be dealt with under the general rubric of Union-State-Municipality. International experience is relevant in this regard not for the structural models followed, but because unlike in India, the subject of urban governance in most cities around the world has been a matter of serious debate and action.

Judicial Setback for Panchayats and Local Bodies

The Supreme Court's rulings in the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme case and the Arkavathy Layout in Bangalore case could have alarming consequences for panchayati raj and municipal bodies. Since the Court has upheld the validity of MPLADS, the preference of MPs for an executive role rather than for law-making may now well be reinforced. With these two judgments the political leadership will not be required to assign the functions and fi nances to the local bodies. State agencies not answerable to the elected local bodies may then take over the functions in the panchayat and the municipal domain.

Constituencies Delimitation

The 91st Constitution Amendment Bill paves the way for ending the freeze on the delimitation of constituencies of the parliament and state legislatures. It is to be hoped that in preparing and considering the new law on delimitation, the government and parliament will keep an open mind and afford opportunities for eliciting the views of a wide spectrum of people to correct the flaws in the bill as it now stands.

North-South Divide and Delimitation Blues

Any electoral system based on adult franchise and territorial constituencies needs to include a process of adjusting boundaries of such constituencies from time to time. This is the essence of delimitation. And the political leadership's fear of any attempt to change the political geography is due as much to ignorance of the issues as to apprehensions about the changing contour of political power it will bring about.

North-South Divide and Delimitation Blues

Any electoral system based on adult franchise and territorial constituencies needs to include a process of adjusting boundaries of such constituencies from time to time. This is the essence of delimitation. And the political leadership's fear of any attempt to change the political geography is due as much to ignorance of the issues as to apprehensions about the changing contour of political power it will bring about.

Under-Franchise in Urban Areas-Freeze on Delimitation of Constituencies and Resultant Disparities

Freeze on Delimitation of Constituencies and Resultant Disparities K C Sivaramakrishnan The price paid for the freeze on delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies has been the disproportionately large size of the electorate in several constituencies, particularly in the urban areas. Nor is the disparity limited to urban and non-urban constituencies. In some cases it has occurred among different urban constituencies within the same state. Such disparity is particularly glaring and unacceptable when it occurs in adjoining constituencies.

Urban Housing Challenge and Response

Urban Housing: Challenge and Response K C Sivaramakrishnan Investment in housing has not been recognised in India as a factor in economic growth. Consequently, public expenditure on housing construction has matched that on welfare measures and has been very meagre. And the emphasis has been on house subsidy rather than on house construction.
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