Press ESC to close


Former Deputy Mayor of Shimla and Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI

J&K, Property Tax & Levying Power

The union territory administration of Jammu and Kashmir notified rules for levying property tax in towns and cities in the region. The Lieutenant Governor and the officers of urban development are leaving no stone unturned in convincing the people that this is a ‘progressive tax’, and the values are abysmally low and hence there will be hardly any burden on the people.

Water Distress and Indian Cities

Splintering urbanism is a reality that has roots in the neo-liberal paradigm of urbanisation, which started nearly three decades back in India. Cities have suffered from the fragmentation of access, control, and pricing of network infrastructure, including water supply. The fragmentation is due to political-economic processes-neoliberalism-that have changed the ways cities are governed and services provided. 

Development Course in the Himalayas

The Himalayas are the youngest range of mountains in the world and are still in the formative stage. The plate movements between the Indian and Eurasian plates continue to keep the entire region from Kashmir to North East in seismic zone IV and V. This means that the entire Himalayas are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquakes and landslides.

Budget 2023-24: Impact on Urban India & Local Governance

This year’s budget is a bag of misplaced government spending priorities and misses some crucial challenges facing urban development.

The last full Union budget of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government continues to be plagued with the idea that “the private capital will ameliorate some of the basic problems of India and that large capital-intensive technologies will usher in development, including inclusive development.”

How fallacious is this argument? We have seen this in the past three decades. The structural difference brought in by Manmohan Singh’s budget in 1991 was to “shift India’s economy away from the hands of the government to the hands of private enterprise, and embraced free trade.

Cities and ‘Triple Engine’ Sarkaar

For cities to develop it is essential that decision-making power is given to the local administration — holistic and sustainable city-specific development cannot happen in a top-down approach where the Centre or state decides.

A prerequisite for development is uniformity in the governance structures from top to bottom. This is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while inaugurating a metro project in Mumbai on January 19. He called upon the people of Mumbai to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the municipal corporation elections, which are long overdue. He exhorted that the ‘triple engine’ governance model — the Centre, the state, and the Mumbai corporation — should be run directly or in partnership with the BJP for the development in the metro city.