Monday, September 28, 2009

State’s municipal reforms lauded

State’s municipal reforms lauded
State’s municipal reforms lauded
Bangalore:

Seeking to address the lack of capacity in the third tier of government, exasperated by unprecedented population growth and migration to urban areas, the Union Ministry of Urban Development has set up a Centre of Excellence in Urban Management here.

This new facility will be based at the Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Inaugurating the Centre here on Saturday, Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development (MuD) Dr M Ramachandran said the ministry had also launched the ‘Capacity Building for Urban Local Bodies’ in November 2008, with an aim to strengthen urban local governments for better governance and financial management as articulated in the 11th Five Year Plan.

Ramachandran rued the tremendous gap in capacity in urban sectors, despite considerable amount of funds invested in urban infrastructure by Central, State and local governments.

“The state of urban services is little to write home about, be it water supply, sewerage, urban transport or common services, rendered to citizens such as registration of births and deaths, building plan approvals, completion certificates etc, he added.”

Migration to be contained

He said this was a reflection of the lack of capacity in the third tier of government, which is responsible to deliver most of these functions, be it financial capacity or other constraints. Unprecedented growth of population, rural to urban migration has only aggravated the situation, he noted.

Rs 25,000 cr sought

However, he lauded Karnataka for being extremely progressive in the area of municipal reform. The Secretary also informed that the MuD is seeking a grant of Rs 25,000 crore from the Planning Commission to fund projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Chairperson of the Centre for Public Policy, Gopal Naik said an urban governance study group has been set up to undertake research studies over a period of 18 months.

“A series of studies in three key areas of urban governance, viz institutional reforms, urban financial management and information systems will be undertaken. The study will initially focus on Bangalore and later be extended to tier-two cities like Tumkur and Mysore,” he said.

The programe also saw heads of various civic agencies make presentations on infrastructure projects being undertaken in the City.

Established with a grant of Rs 3.2 crore from the MuD, the Center of Excellence is one of 13 such centres, recognised by the ministry across the country. Nine such centres will work orfocus in various aspects related to urban development, while four will be for research on urban transport.


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