An Overview of Urbanization & Urban Governance in India

Session Report
Mansi Garg

Urban Policy & City Planning is an online one-month online immersive certificate training course organized by Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies at Impact and Policy Research Institute, IMPRI, New Delhi in the month of July 2023. An informative and panel discussion on the topic “An Overview of Urbanization & Urban Governance in India” was held on July 04, 2023, by Prof Chetan Vaidya an Independent Urban Advisor; Former Director, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), New Delhi.

The session was opened by Dr Rumi Aijaz, Senior Fellow and Head, Urban Policy Research Initiative, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), who draws a brief but well-articulate introduction about the scale of urbanization in terms of the population that is growing in urban areas and the changing characteristics of those urban areas and also about the quality of governance in the country.

In conclusion, the speaker was graciously invited to share their insightful and thought-provoking ideas with the participants on the traditional practices that are being followed by the governing institutions in urban areas and what are the innovations that are being used to make those practices work in a better manner.

An Overview of Urbanization & Urban Governance in India

The first speaker, Prof Chetan Vaidya, An Independent Urban Advisor; Former Director, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), New Delhi. To start with, what urban is in the Indian context, about the urban trends and the projections, share of urban GDP, urban governance, 74th CAA and three case studies.

He talked about the large urban India which is very large compared to many countries. The approaches used for managing the urban sector should vary and it is very diversified. He quoted “One size fit for all” will not work. He explains about the need to improve our urban infrastructure and governance to achieve economic objectives including providing jobs for young population.

Next up, he explained about the importance of 74th Constitutional Amendment in order to understand the urban governance. 74th CAA which caused a major change in governing urban sector which provided the constitutional status to Municipalities and other local bodies and encouraged several other provisions for the betterment of the society. Different city adopted this model differently and the delivery for war supply, sanitation, roads, etc varies. The speaker provided various examples for the “Institutional framework for services” for different cities like Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Agra, etc.

To explain more about the statistical data, and the qualitative data, the speaker had covered different case studies. First up is that of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and its Institutional structure showing their ways to manage urban systems. Secondly, about the governance in Kerala, how 74th CAA empowered the local government and ULBs and set an example of being successful in urban decentralization.

Third case study taken up was of Indore Municipal Corporation and what are their city development strategies. Focus was on improving the resource mobilization, urban system and most importantly to communicate with the citizens. Certain reform efforts undertaken were explained by the speaker and how the IMC improved their own revenue system. Fourth case study was of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and its reforms and bonds.

He concluded by the highlights of the lesson learnt from different case studies and their model of adoption of the 74th CAA.

Mansi Garg is a Research Intern at IMPRI.

See picture gallery from the session on Instagram: IMPRI (@impriindia) • Instagram photos and videos

Read more session reports for Urban Policy & City Planning:

An overview of Urban planning in India
Mobility and Urban Transport in India