1. For India to make urbanisation sustainable, it must first tackle the problems of multiplicity of jurisdictions, weak revenue base and human resource capacity deficit that impact most of its cities. Analyse
According to HabitatIIINationalreport2016 India’s urban population is bound to increase from 428 million to 606 million from 2015 to 2030 which calls for India’s Urbanisation not only to be transformative , sustained but also inclusive .
In India urbanisation is seen as a natural process and has so far followed a hands off approach which has resulted in problems like multiple jurisdiction, poor financial resources and inadequate human capital amongst others
India’s urban landscape is characterised by myriad of organisations like municipal corporations, development authorities, line departments like water supply and sewerage departments which divide city into various overlapping zones and others like security (police) another set of zones which create a maze of boundaries as seen in Delhi (MCD, DDA, NDMC, Delhi Jal board, Delhi traffic police and Delhi Cantonment) similarly Mumbai (BMC, MMRDA,MIDC,CIDCM,MHADA) which had made development haphazard and deters good governance.
The recent move of setting up Special Purpose vehicles (SPV) to develop smart cities also will severely undermine the jurisdictional powers of ULBs.
A single authority as suggested by 2ndARC like NationalcommissionofUrbanisation should be mooted. Similarly zoning in the SingaporeModel and development of local spatial development plans with integrated zoning should be developed.
WEAK RESOURCE BASE:
Just like planning and jurisdiction the financial devolution to the urban centres is top down and clamped by severe resource shortage and poor prioritisation.
The Janagrahasurvey2016 mentions that there is there is a gap between taxation powers and resource mobilisation. Property tax remains highly unexploited Economic survey mentions Jaipur and Bangalore collect only 5-20% of their potential and lack of own earnings has deterred development.
Use of Satellite imagery (GIS) systems to evaluate and augment tax resource base
Collection of User fees, issuance of municipal bonds based on JudgeIsherAhluwalia recommendations and need for rule based devolution of funds from State governments is necessary. The recent issue of municipal bonds like Pune and Gurgaon is a good example. The MoH&UD also issued investment based ratings to increase competition between cities.
HUMAN RESOURCE CONSTRAINTS:
The number of urban planners according to McKinsey report is 38/100000 in Britain but it is 0.23 in India which highlights the severity of the problem. Most of the planning schools are under staffed and dominated by Engineering bureaucracy and lack long term strategic vision.
Eg: The planning of capital city of AP (Amravathi) has been entrusted to Malaysian firm due to lack of world class talent pool in India
Similarly most of the workers in many municipalities are contractual which hampers proper decentralisation of responsibility as seen in Garbage collection crisis in Bangalore city.
The position of Mayors in most cities has turned ceremonial, many experts feel there is a need for directelection of mayor like London city for public to have direct line of communication and increase answerability to the public.
There is an urgent need for human capital augmentation in cities and need for planning schools in line of Business schools, need for regular reskilling and proper responsibility entrustment so as to increase human capital base which will be a long term reform
The world bank has rightly termed Cities as engines of growth in order to drive urbanisation further organically these reforms are need of the hour is to make them not only liveable but also sustainable.
BEST ANSWER: MEIJI
Urbanization in India is ‘messy and hidden’ according to World Bank report, which comes from the fact that growth in Urban centres is happening outside their administrative jurisdictions and our cities are home for nearly 10 crore population living in slums. The problems of urbanization in India arise from many issues –
1. Multiplicity of Jurisdictions – The city Mayor is more like a ceremonial post and the City commissioner occupies the CEO’s position. The police are under the state govt.
NCR Delhi jurisdiction comes under several governments – Haryana, Delhi, UP and the Central Govt. Over this comes the Municipal Boards of the NCT and the DDA. With no clear division of responsibility there is only blame game for any incidents that occur.
In Kolkata, a flyover collapsed and killed nearly 26 people and after a year the trial hasn’t begun yet. The blame game of responsibility shifts from KMDA, PWD of the state govt..
2. Weak Resource Base – though the 74th CAA delegates’ power to the Urban Local Bodies, the allocation of funds and delegation of tax collection is left to the State Finance Commission, whose mercy is at the state govt. Devolution of funds doesn’t happen on time, no proper collection mechanism in some areas, jurisdiction not extended to new areas, etc.
3. The Smart Cities Missions (SCM) required cities to submit their Smart City Plan for selection and allocation of funds. But, some cities didn’t even have the expertise to draw up a plan and device policies. There is severe human resource capacity deficit at the local urban level.
1. A single planning authority was suggested in cities like Mumbai, where multiplicity of authorities exist – BMC, MIDC, Mumbai Metro RDA, Maharashtra Housing, etc.
2. The AMRUT scheme, state to transfer the resources allocated to ULBs within a period of 7 days and a delay would attract penalty. No diversion of funds is allowed.
3. The central govt. plan of Smart Cities and AMRUT will see investments to the tune of 2 lakh crore.
4. Credit rating provided to cities, will help them in raising resources through bonds and new avenues like Value Capture Financing for Metro projects, etc.
5. Drawing of expertise from other countries – Japan to cooperate on developing Varanasi as a smart heritage city on lines of Kyoto. MoU between Singapore Govt. and Amaravathi City.
6. Institutes like National Institute of Urban Affairs, involving public, NGOs and private firms in policy design and public service delivery.
The time is ripe for a new generation urban reforms that has to transform the urbanization in India. It depends on the Central and State Govt.’s, how they strengthen and delegate power and resources to the ULBs.
2. Given the high level of economic inequality in the country intensified by successive droughts in recent years, a rethink of the human-environment relationship is required wherein Indian Cities adopt nature-based solutions to revive themselves. Elucidate.
Already there exists economic inequality due to huge income disparity; this has been increased in recent times added by successive droughts. This is due to disturbances to environment caused by Human exploitations for which nature based solutions are needed.
Nature based solution which Indian cities can adopt:
Wetland Management: Growth of city was fueled by destruction of wetlands. They act as first preventive measure for floods.
Rain water harvesting: Water is very precious, every household should implement them like olden days kunds, tankas etc.
Urban forestry: Developing forests on wastelands and city outers to carbon sequestration. Safeguarding sacred groves
Urban agriculture: Kitchen farming, terrace farming using hydroponics etc.
Bore wells: Ban on new bore wells to help recharge ground water tables.
Water treatment plant: Waste water treatment and recycling of water at block levels.
Fresh water: Usage of fresh water for drinking purpose and for others recycled water like in Singapore, Sea water is used for washing and toilet purpose.
Green Buildings: Construction involving fewer disturbances to environment.
Renewable energy: Roof top solar panels for lighting and heating purpose.
Government of India is also coming up with various schemes like Green India, Smart Cities, and wasteland management schemes etc. to encourage nature based solution to issues arising due to various years of exploitation. Every person should take active part in making it a success.
3. Andhra Pradesh’s new capital city will require enormous amounts of energy and resources to build and to run, while destroying precious natural environments and local livelihoods. Do you agree? Examine.
Amaravati – India’s fifth planned state capital city – was conceived after the splitting up of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014 into two smaller states, Telangana and (a smaller) Andhra Pradesh. Amravati will be built between Guntur and Vijayawada and will be developed on the Singapore model.
Loss of livelihood:
Under land-pooling scheme around 33,000 acres of farm land have already been acquired since December, 2014. More than 80 percent of the capital area is rich fertile agricultural land. The loss of livelihood of thousands of farmers whose fertile lands have been grabbed is a cause of concern.
The 33K acres of arable land which has the capability to give 3 crops a year has been chosen for the capital. The new city is being located in the ‘food bowl’ of the southern Krishna floodplains, one of the most fertile agrarian strips in the country. This would in long term lead to food insecurity leading to further loss of livelihoods.
Huge amount of investment has to be made to build the city. This will mean decreased government expenditure in providing social services to the people.
The new capital city is being developed encroaching upon the river floodplains, wetlands
81 percent of the area is flood-prone. The proposed capital city is planned on the banks of the river Krishna which meets the Bay of Bengal 100 km downstream. The area has been declared a flood-prone area and floods are a regular phenomenon in this region.
Geological constraints makes the place unsuitable for development of large infrastructure. The report pointed out that the water table in this region is high and soil type is vulnerable. The earmarked area is black cotton soil which is not suitable for 70-80 storied skyscrapers.
The entire region comes under Seismic Zone category-III and is therefore not fit for a capital
The Disaster Management Plan of Vijayawada, 2011 noted a high probability of the city being affected by cyclonic storms.
However adequate steps are being taken to allay above mentioned concerns:
Amaravati is being designed to have 51% of green spaces and 10% of water bodies.
Land pooling scheme has by and large been implemented to provide adequate compensation to farmers.
While the investment being made is huge, in long-term it will create a multiplier effect and then would lead to growth in adjoining areas as well.
Andhra Pradesh government can focus on long-term development through building a larger landscape of cities and towns, rather than building a single ‘super-city as recommended by Sivaramakrishna committee.
Effective implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment and Social Impact assessment before any project is started.
Skilling of farmers so as to make them suitable for jobs the infrastucture in the new city would create.
Amravati will surely require enormous amount to energy and resources to be built. However, if the city is planned in a sustainable and smart manner, it would lead to overall growth of the region.
4. The devastations caused by floods in Bihar and adjoining states bears testimony to our lack of preparedness to tackle floods. Comment. Also suggest measures to improve India’s disaster response.
India annually receives 100cm of rainfall on an average distributed unevenly over the entire country. Most of the rainfall occurs in 3-4 period of time, which is one of the main reasons for flooding. Flooding causes enormous hardships in the loss of valuable life, destruction of infrastructure, inundation of agricultural fields.
The recent floods in Bihar (341),Gujarat (220) and Assam (123) has claimed many lives, nearly 1.5crore people in Bihar got affected by the floods, the administration comes to a standstill, infrastructure gets disrupted – North and South Bengal got cutoff by road, railway tracks displaced, Manipur cutoff from rest of the country and many more.
A life cycle analysis of flood management will help to analyze the problems.
Mitigation and preparation Phase
Dismally poor capability to handle catastrophic weather events
Shrinking wetlands and increasing urbanization
Lack of preparedness: Even after having continuous history of floods the preparedness is minimal
Faulty data stations of IMD affecting the forecasting
No regulation of settlements in flood plain zone
Institutional problems like interoperability of data received, lack of fund and functionary
Phase of response
Lack of co-ordination among institutions and experts
Serious attention is not given to setting up of relief camps, crisis proof infrastructure, stock piling of dry rations etc.
Lack of medical attention resulting in increasing infections and absence o medical care for vulnerable sections
Phase of recovery and reconstruction
Techniques used are obsolete. Rather than using modern technology like satellite imagery, GIS etc. field level survey and anecdotal information is preferred
Measures to improve India’s disaster response
Flood governance through resilience building could bring about sustainable change in this situation. This could be an outcome of three broad sets of action: Reducing vulnerability, increasing access to services, and maximizing productivity through optimal use of available resources.
The dominant narrative of flood protection includes measures such as embankments, dredging rivers and bank strengthening.
Community-based advance flood warning systems, for example, have been successfully piloted in parts of Assam.
Providing adequate number of boats — the most important, yet scarce resource in the villages — will enhance access to developmental activities during floods and also facilitate safe commute for schoolchildren.
Usual toilets are of limited use in flood-prone areas. Elevated toilets, ecosanitation units — promoted in the flood-prone areas of North Bihar — and elevated dugwells or tubewells with iron filter need to be installed in the Northeast.
If elevated toilets are promoted on a large-scale, they will reduce the public health challenges in the flood-prone areas.
Strategic environment assessment of development activities, a practice followed in several countries needs to be undertaken in flood prone areas like the Brahmaputra basin.
Strengthening planning authorities like the Brahmaputra Board and flood control departments by staffing them with scientists from a wide range of disciplines is essential.
Focus should shift from relief measures to building resilience in flood-prone areas.
A community involvement and awareness generation is necessary for sustainable disaster risk reduction.
Scientific fish farming on the water bodies and the inundated land can ensure that inundation, when it cannot be avoided, is put to optimal use
A holistic and proactive approach is necessary in order to mitigate natural disasters like floods.
Development of GIS (Geographical Information System) based National Database for disaster management. GIS is an effective tool for emergency responders to access information in terms of crucial parameters for the disaster affected areas.
In any disaster management system the warning system plays a very crucial role along with technology
Disaster risk reduction has a pivotal role in supporting adaption to climate change as well as sustainable development. Therefore, flood-prone regions of the country require a focused approach from the Centre and state governments.
5. Railways is considered to be the lifeline of our country but the frequency of fatal accidents have only increased in the recent past. What does it tell about Indian Railway’s ecosystem? Critically analyse.
In 2014-15, the number of accidents was 135 which decreased to 107 in 2015-16 and further to 104 in 2016-17.
Fatal Rail accidents cause havoc and disturbs the operations Railway accidents happen due to several reasons as:
An incorrect signal, a mistake or an act of negligence by one of its staff according to NITI ayog report 6/10 accidents happen due to staff negligence
bulk of the accidents take place at unmanned level crossings and railways currently has over 4,000 such crossings across the country
deficiency in tracks as most of them are very old, and slow upgradation of present coaches, which are nearly 5-7 years old.
A rash act by one of the millions of road users and wanderinf off of cattle and wild animals on to the tracks
an irresponsible act by a passenger who carries inflammable goods
Damage of tracks by terrorists, Naxalites and other militant groups.
Steps taken by the government to prevent accidents:
Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (fund) (RRSK) was created in the 2017-18 budget for financing critical safety-related works. The fund was set up with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore over a period of five years.
In the Railway Budget, 2016-17, the Mission Zero Accident was also announced. It comprises two sub-missions — The elimination of unmanned level crossings (UMLC) along broad gauge tacks in the next three-four years and the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).
There are 27,181 level crossings in India of which 19,480 are manned and 7,701 are unmanned. Planning has been made to eliminate unmanned level crossings along broad gauge tracks by 2020.
Government has launched Setu Bharatam programmewhich aims to make all National Highways free of railway level crossings by 2019. Under this 208 Railway Over Bridges (ROB)/Railway Under Bridges (RUB) will be built at the level crossings at a cost of Rs. 20,800 crore as part of the programme.
Government is taking active steps to implement suggestions of Anil Kakodkar committee on railway safety