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.
‘Another important aspect of urban infrastructure is linked to urban governance, which is in a shambles in most parts of the country.’ A report by the World Bank, released in November last year, on financing India’s urban infrastructure needs, focuses on private investments ameliorating urban problems. The push to attract private capital, since the 1990s, followed by the urban reforms under the United Progressive Alliance I regime, the Smart City mission, and now this report, continues to plague India’s policy paradigm in the urban sector.
The Haldwani case presents a classic case of answerability to the poor by various development authorities who have designed and planned cities in the past.
Four young men died from an overdose of the psychotropic drug Chitta—three different synthetic, adulterated forms of heroin-diacetylmorphine—in two localities in Shimla in 10 days between the end of November to the beginning of December this year. All four were less than 25 years of age.
After being elected as Shimla's deputy mayor, I first removed the red and green lights outside the office. This ensured no-hindrance access to the office for the town's people to the office. Thus, promoting a culture of high accessibility that has existed in the state of Himachal Pradesh right since its formative days. Even the earlier chief ministers would meet the people directly, ensuring a better dialogue with them.
Parastatal bodies will continue to manage the affairs of cities even if there is a change in the government.