Empowered people, integrated growth improve urban governance, says former CS A Ravindra

Last Updated : 14 June 2024, 23:30 IST

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Bengaluru: The importance of enabling urban citizens to demand better governance formed the central theme of discussions around the release of Governing Urban India: Policy and Practice, the new book by former chief secretary A Ravindra, here on Friday.

In an interactive session that followed the release of the book, at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), the author, along with economist Vijay Kelkar and IIHS founding director Aromar Ravi, discussed the challenges in realising decentralisation of power and true autonomy for India’s urban local bodies.

Ravindra noted that the emerging, multi-sectoral nature of urbanisation called for an integrated approach to governance that factored in linkages between cities and their largely ignored peripheries.

“We’ve been treating these two as separate compartments. In practice, this is an agglomeration, where the rural comes into the urban fold. This situation requires an integrated development process,” he said.

Poor political representation and the absence of true champions for urban development have consistently slowed down efforts to bring in reforms to India’s cities. The lack of accountability at the administrative level is central to the “conundrum of urban governance,” Ravindra said.

Kelkar underlined the potential of getting the private sector, with its resources and access to power, to demand better governance in cities.

In the book, priced Rs 1,000, Ravindra explores the challenges posed by India’s urbanisation on governance and policy. It traces evolving patterns of urban governance in the country since the 1960s and addresses issues including land management, housing, and environmental sustainability.

Published 14 June 2024, 23:30 IST

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