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

Review of Urban AffairsSubscribe to Review of Urban Affairs

Intentions, Design and Outcomes

This paper examines the implementation of the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme in the smaller cities of Maharashtra. It discusses the reasons behind the poor quantitative and qualitative performance of the IHSDP in the state and examines why the programme has not been a success, either in terms of the completion rate or beneficiary satisfaction.

Planning as Practice?

Solapur is a town in Maharashtra with a vibrant industrial legacy, yet fraught with spatial and socio-economic divisions in the contemporary moment. It shows a pattern of largely informal development and the gradual emergence of a new industry and politics centred on land. This paper which throws light on the evolution and dynamics of urbanisation arising in Solapur, brings out the disconnects that cut across its industrial, spatial, political and social landscapes and reveals a town functioning at low levels of industrial dynamism and physical and social infrastructure, characterised by high levels of poverty.

Changing Structure of Governance in Non-Metropolitan Cities

Globalisation has brought forward new modes of governance and technological options to urban local bodies in India in the last two decades. New governance mechanisms inspired by neo-liberal thinking make claims about making cities function better, substantially improving basic infrastructure and public services, and increasing local democratic participation. But a study conducted in two non-metropolitan cities in Andhra Pradesh indicates that the state has promoted public-private partnerships, outsourcing and contracting out in a way that serves private interests rather than social interests. The disparities between poor residents and non-poor residents have increased and caste plays an increased role in decision-making bodies, though through a so-called inclusive participatory approach.

The Regularising State

This article discusses a form of informality widely prevalent in small and medium cities in Maharashtra, called gunthewari. It is an examination of the practice of regularisation of these gunthewaris, and its relationship to other domains of urban governance. It argues that regularisation is an attempt to create a constant state of exception. Regularisation enables the abdication of state responsibility for public housing and planning, while engaging in tokenistic exercises of welfare.

On the Charts, Off the Tracks

This paper on Ambur town of Tamil Nadu, an important hub for leather goods production, catering primarily to an international market, explores how the town's proximity to a metropolis can be a source of underdevelopment rather than a spur to steady and rapid urbanisation. It puts the spotlight back on a class of small industrial towns, where the dirty work of production, particularly of recycling industrial cast-offs, assembling secondary products and catering to low-end domestic markets is not moved out of urban spaces. Instead it is kept hemmed into unplanned and unserviced town spaces, while large formal manufacturing firms colonise rural hinterlands. It also highlights how disconnects among sectors, space and place can keep a town at low levels of dynamism and social welfare.

Territorial Legends

Exploring how the policy of protection of indigenous people works on the ground in Pasighat, a town in Arunachal Pradesh, this paper brings out the interlinkages between urban politics and indigeneity as an entitlement regime. Once boundaries are operationalised on the basis of territorial belonging, politics revolves around who is from a particular place and who is not. This has created opportunities for accumulation for the indigenous people through rents. The state simultaneously installs and destabilises this politics of indigeneity. The paper shows how the state and capital are implicated in the structures of enfranchisement that have historically shaped the town.

Moving around in Indian Cities

Seven years after the National Urban Transport Policy was announced by the central government, the problems identified in it remain the same, or have worsened. Land use planning has not enabled the lower-income groups to live closer to work, road use is more dominated by private vehicles, and there is little money to improve facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. This paper notes that though much of the basic data on urban transport in India is unreliable, there is enough to show that the challenge is to keep the share of non-personal transport at 70% as incomes increase in our cities. For this, walking and bicycling have to be made safer and public transport more attractive by making it readily available.

Review of Twelfth Plan Proposals for Urban Transport

The Twelfth Five-Year Plan aims to foster more inclusive and sustainable growth. Urban transport finds mention in its chapters on sustainable development, environment, and urban development, which focus not only on aspects of public transport, but also urban planning and governance. Identifying the three main themes that emerge from the Plan's recommendations, this paper takes a critical look at them. It comments on what appears to be a significant divergence from the policy recommendations in the Plan and the Plan outlays, both in the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and what is proposed in the second phase, before going on to make specific recommendations on how matters could be improved.

Analysing the Urban Public Transport Policy Regime in India

The existence of the right policy regime is a precondition to any organisation achieving its objectives, and this is more so in the case of public transport systems. The central government announced the National Urban Transport Policy in 2006, a policy which aims to provide the appropriate framework for addressing transport-related challenges in India's cities. This paper examines the policy document and compares it with the policy regime now prevailing. Observing that the new policy has almost as many weaknesses as strengths, it points to the huge gap between the NUTP and the reality on the country's urban roads. It also suggests what could be done on the policy front to streamline urban public transport systems.

Ahmedabad's BRT System

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and the National Urban Transport Policy have given a boost to bus rapid transit systems in many Indian cities and Ahmedabad's Janmarg is the largest such network now in operation. This paper shows that while catering to latent transport demand, Janmarg has not promoted inclusivity or encouraged a shift away from private motorised transport. It has also given short shrift to non-motorised transport systems, which are important for inclusivity and for reducing the city's carbon footprint. The study raises the pertinent question of whether public transport ought to be viewed as a technological fix or as part of a wider solution of urban or social issues.

Car Sewa

Knowing full well that the private motor car is more a bane than a boon in terms of the various costs it entails, the time for policymakers in India to encourage greater use of public transport and non-motorised modes is past. Illustrating the politics of privileging car users over the vast majority that uses public transport like buses, this paper points to the vicissitudes the bus rapid transit system in Delhi has gone through from its introduction in 2005 to the present. Given that there is already little space and energy for more cars in India's cities, and the social and political problems they engender, the vicious cycle within which the system is trapped has to be broken. But that is easier said than done.

Accidents and Road Safety

Among all countries, India has the highest number of deaths due to road traffic-related accidents. Road accidents are the sixth leading cause of death in the country, and there were nearly 1,40,000 deaths from road accidents in 2012. Despite being a major public health issue that affects the most vulnerable and also the most productive sections of society, road safety has not received the attention it deserves. This paper discusses how the government has not recognised road safety as a key mobility, health, and equity issue, and has been slow in enacting legislation to establish the institutional mechanisms to promote it.

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