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

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What Urbanisation Reforms Owe K C Sivaramakrishnan

K C Sivaramakrishnan’s key contribution on metropolitan governance is the articulation of specific recommendations for reforming the current system. He stressed taking a holistic view and having systemic change with democratic decentralisation at the core. He recommended building the governance system anew by creating a metropolitan council at the regional level.

We would like to thank Bhanu Joshi, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Shirish Patel, Abhay Pethe and Vidhyadhar Phatak for their comments. Needless to say, all errors remain our own.

K C Sivaramakrishnan was the rare Indian bureaucrat who championed urbanisation and decentralisation. At a time when cities were regarded at best with suspicion and at worst with open hostility, Sivaramakrishnan recognised their importance. More importantly, he recognised their inevitability and the pressing need to tend to cities for improving governance and accountability of city leadership to the citizens. In his last book, Governance of Megacities: Fractured Thinking, Fragmented Setup, he wrote: For us in India, there is no escape from urbanization. It is a demographic, economic, and social reality. India has to come to terms with it (Sivaramakrishnan 2015: xxiv).

Sivaramakrishnan joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1958 and was posted in 1959 as an assistant magistrate on training in Midnapore (currently known as Medinipur). His interest and contribution to the scholarship and policy reform on urbanisation in India was the result of being involved in urban governance first as an officer engaging with the Asansol Planning Organisation and Durgapur Development Authority (196771) and later, as the chief executive at the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (197175). He moved to Delhi in 1985 in the Ministry of Environment. In 1988, he became secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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