H C Singh

Reforms in India to Meet increase in Urban Population in Governance in India

It is well known that urban population is increasing very fast, not so in European countries and America where there is lot of urbanization but in Asia and Africa, particularly in India. For example during last 50 years Delhi’s population before independence was hardly 5 lakhs. In 1947 due to partition of India about 4,70,000 refugees came from Pakistan and settled in Delhi. Since then Delhi’s population had been increasing in percentage more than any other city of India and perhaps anywhere in the world. It is estimated to be now more than 1 crore. In 50 years Delhi’s population has grown ten fold. Similarly India’s population after independence was only 35 crores but in 2010 it is estimated to be more than 105 crores, 300 percent increase.

Inevitably problems of housing, infrastructure, health, education and transport have increased manifold though India’s GDP has been rising, particularly since India abandoned Nehru’s socialist pattern of society with rationing and controls and virtually ban in private enterprise in industry, GDP since Narsimha Rao became PM and appointed Dr. Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister, private enterprises boomed exceptionally and slowly and steadily. GDP also increased from 1% to 8 to 10 percent per annum. Thus, as was inevitable urban population increased tremendously because laborers from villages moved to cities for well paid jobs. Education, too, spread all around and more and more workers got trained for better jobs in industry and even agriculture because of Green Revolution. Thus increase in urbanization gives more opportunities and also demands more facilities by the government and municipal administrators.

Government of India in 1992 passed 74th Constitutional Bill amendments restructuring Indian federal system thus empowering rural and urban local bodies. This led to decentralization of authority and power to be used according to requirement of urban highly populated cities like Delhi Bombay, Calcutta to frame their own local and regional laws to meet the needs of time and specific requirement of each city and village or Panchayat requirements. These amendments are historic and ever lasting. Because of these constitutional amendments Delhi state could do its best, without further constitutional amendment, to use resources to the requirement of Common Wealth Games because unprecedented rains, water logging and corruption to complete the required infrastructure, stadium and housing requirements of the visitors to important event in Delhi and India, success of which would be India’s honour. Success of CWG despite many bottlenecks, natural and man-made, will make India shine.

Decentralization under 74th constitutional amendment of 1992 meant that central Government of India and state governments were to devolve powers and functions to about 3000 urban local bodies in the country. It became mandatory for state governments to pass legislations to empower local bodies in the state. In compliance with 1992 constitutional amendment Municipal Corporation of Delhi(MCD) is one of the largest in the world as it provides civic amenities to about one crore forty lakh, i.e. 14 million people living in union territory of Delhi or Delhi State. In 1992, an elected government for National Territory of Delhi was constituted with 70 legislative council Members with a Chief Minister of Delhi. It came into operation to deal with complex problems of national capital, cantonment, old Delhi and rural areas of the union territory.

Maharashtra government passed Nagarpalka Act in April 1994, entrusting, Municipal powers, functions and responsibilities to urban Local Bodies and wards committee.

Similar provisions, suiting each state have been made in all states. There are also provisions, for urban Environmental management. Management and disposal of waste products. Provisions for squaterers settlements, particularly in Delhi’s Jhuggi Jhampri clusters.

West Bengal Government in compliance with 47th CCA of 1992 set up a Metrolian Planning Committee which covers three Municipal Corporations, 38 municipalities and 133 panchayats.

Tamilnadu government in pursuance of 74th constitutional amendment of 1992, focused it intention on Chennai Metropolitan area inhabited by about 5 million people consisting of Chennai corporation area, eight municipalities and many town panchayats surrounding it. In the municipalities sate appointed commissioners and elected local governments have the responsibility to see the development from all aspects.

To sum it up, 74th constitutional Amendment of 1992 was a landmark in the development of all the major cities of the country. Every state, as some examples have been given above, set up requisite committees, urban councils, panchayats and other institutions required and recommended by the 74th amendment. There is no doubt that there is allround improvement in the urban development all over the country particularly the overpopulated cities of Delhi the national capital, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

September 9, 2010 Posted by | India, Political Commentary | Leave a comment