Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Promise of Regularisation

By Subhadra Banda and Shahana Sheikh

There is little transparency in the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi.

 Earlier this week, acting on behalf of the Delhi government, the Chief Minister wrote a letter to the President asking for a probe against the former Chief Minister, reportedly for “alleged irregularities in the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi”. This follows the Delhi Lokayukta’s finding in November 2013 that the “issuance of the PRC [provisional regularisation certificates] on the eve of the elections [in 2008] was a populist measure intended to woo voters”. It also found that some unauthorised colonies (UACs) received the PRC despite having submitted incomplete applications.

                     UACs, which are estimated to house 30 per cent of Delhi’s population, were promised regularisation in 2008, and again in the manifestos of the Aam Aadmi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Congress, prior to the Delhi elections of 2013. In his first address to the newly-elected Delhi Assembly this year, the Lieutenant Governor announced that an “action plan for regularising unauthorised colonies within a year is being drawn up and this plan shall be implemented rigorously in a time-bound manner”. To understand this issue, it is important to understand how this problem arose.


Glaring Loopholes: Delhi Government’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation / Resettlement of Slum-Dwellers

If the Aam Aadmi Party government wants to keep its promise to the slum-dwellers to resettle and rehabilitate them with dignity and humaneness, then it must act quickly to plug in the various loopholes and iron out the ambiguities present in the resettlement guidelines which were issued by the previous Delhi government in 2013.

                While addressing the Delhi legislative assembly on 2 January 2014, preceding the trust vote, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal put forward a seventeen-point agenda for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. The rehabilitation and resettlement of people living in unauthorised colonies and jhuggis was one of the issues mentioned by him. He said that unless the newly elected assembly finds a solution for them, their jhuggis will not be demolished. Just like the other political parties, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has promised in-situ resettlement, i.e., residents of jhuggi jhopri clusters (JJCs) will be given plots or flats at the same site where they are currently residing. The residents would be relocated to transitory accommodation, flats would be constructed on the cleared land, and “eligible” residents would then take possession of flats allotted to them. Only if this process was not feasible, would permanent relocation be undertaken.


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Case of Kathputli Colony: Mapping Delhi's First In-situ Slum Rehabilitation Project

Subhadra Banda, Yashas Vaidya and David Adler

Delhi Master Plan 2021 introduced the "In-situ rehabilitation" approach to slum redevelopment, in which residents of Jhuggi Jhopdi Clusters transition to temporary housing while the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) reconstructs the settlment, and then shifts the slum-dwellers back onto the original plot and into improved housing.  Kathputli Colony, located in West Delhi's Shadipur region, has been selected by the DDA as the site of Delhi's first in-situ slum rehabilitation.  This paper lays out the trajectory of the Kathputli project thus far, examining the formal, legalistic framework and its relationship to the actual events documented in our research in the colony.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

State-making through decentralization in Kolkata

Manka Bajaj

Key analyses of decentralization in India have evaluated it from the democracy prism and concluded that it has failed to enable participation. Many argue that provincial state governments have been reluctant to devolve adequate powers to the local level. However this argument, while partially correct, can be misleading for two reasons: a) an expectation from decentralization to deliver democracy has focused attention on failures and weak capacity of local governments and b) an easy categorization of the state and local on a dichotomous scale has limited the analysis of their relationship as antagonistic as if power-sharing between the two is a zero-sum game.

This essay focuses on the relationship between the state government of West Bengal and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to argue that the prevailing analysis does not capture the ways in which the two collude to create an external set of losers. When it comes to projects of the state such as urban renewal for example, the municipality can be rather effective in freeing up land by evicting street vendors or acquiring prime land from rich lessees. A failure to distinguish when the local has the capacity and when it does not hides the invisible ways the state is operating through the KMC.

Thus the paper tries to show how even if municipal governments are not autonomous entities, they are not entirely incapacitated; and hence, matter, for urban governance. Taking the local-state relationship as the starting point allows us to move beyond what local governments are not doing (enhancing participation) to look at what they are doing (state-making). Decentralization in this paper is presented as a form of state-making, irrespective of whether this outcome is intended or not.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

mHS-BSFL, BASIX-Baliga Low Cost Housing Repair and Reconstruction Pilot Project in Delhi: a Case Study

Shahana Sheikh

Shahana Sheikh looks at the mHS-BSFL, BASIX-Baliga Low Cost Housing Repair and Reconstruction Pilot Project in Delhi to understand the house building practices, the target client, micro housing loan approval process and the financial terms. The author also interviewed various stakeholders in the project to understand their issues and perceptions on the above issues.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bangalore: The Coming of Post-Industrial Society?

Manka Bajaj

In the 1970s scholars like Daniel Bell predicted a shift from “industrial” to “post-industrial” society; and as most prophecies in social theory are destined for, became a subject of controversy. This essay uses David Harvey’s idea of continuity (rather than rupture) to frame the theoretical argument. The aim is to explain how the industrial city model, in which the city is structured by the industry, still remains relevant to explain urbanization in Bangalore.

The idea that Bangalore is still a predominantly industrial city is not new. Scholars like James Heitzman and Smriti Srinivas have demonstrated that the industrial legacy of the city is not yet past and remains vibrant. While the author is in full agreement with this argument, this paper takes a different approach to establish the industrial character of the city i.e. through the high-tech IT industry. This appears a more relevant approach to engage with current theoretical debates that emphasize the transition from goods to service production and consequently, knowledge production as the new driver of urban development.

The first section traces the roots of the IT sector in Bangalore's high-tech industry to argue that the city is not yet in a post-industrial stage but rather in an advanced industrial stage. After establishing that the city is still industrializing, the second section explores how this industry is changing the scale of urbanization. The third section establishes a dialogue with Harvey’s ideas on the three circuits of capital to discuss how the IT industry is steering capital investments and policy decisions. The paper concludes with an assessment of the application of the industrial city model to Bangalore.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brief: Inflation in urban and rural sectors

Yamini Singh

Yamini Singh, an intern at the Centre for Policy Research, compares the trend and level of inflation rates in urabn and rural sectors. Further, she compares inflation rates across urban centres of various population sizes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Unacknowledged Urbanisation: The New Census Towns of India

Kanhu Charan Pradhan

The unexpected increase in the number of census towns (CTs) in the last census has thrust them into the spotlight. Using a hitherto unexploited dataset, it is found that many of the new CTs satisfied the requisite criteria in 2001 itself; mitigating concerns of inflated urbanisation. The new CTs account for almost 30% of the urban growth in last decade, with large inter-state variations. They are responsible for almost the entire growth in urbanisation in Kerala and almost none in Chhattisgarh. Consequently, the estimated contribution of migration is similar to that in previous intercensal periods. Further, while some new CTs are concentrated around million-plus cities, more than four-fifths are situated outside the proximity of such cities, with a large majority not even near Class I towns,  though they form part of local agglomerations. This indicates a dispersed pattern of in-situ urbanisation. A growing share of urban population in these CTs is thus being governed under the rural administrative framework, despite very different demographic and economic characteristics, which may affect their future growth.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lessons from Shimla: Direct Election of Mayor in India

Bhanu Joshi

The outcome of elections held in one of India’s oldest Municipal Corporation, the Shimla Municipal Corporation had some important lessons for other Indian cities. The Mayor of the hill town was to be directly elected by the residents of the city after an amendment was made to the Municipal Corporation Act in 2010. The Congress which had dominated the Corporation since 1986 was stunned out of majority. The BJP which had hoped to use to its advantage the new law it passed for direct elections to the posts of Mayors and Deputy Mayors had to be content with 12 of the 25 seats in the Corporation Council. The CPI(M) Mayoral candidate Sanjay Chauhan won by 7868 more votes than his BJP counterpart; this when of Shimla’s estimated electorate of about 84,000, 64% turned up and 40% voted for Sanjay Chauhan and Tikender Panwar  of the CPI(M) for Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s post. Even though the corporation is not dominated by the BJP & Congress, electors opting for different candidates for the Mayor’s post beckon analysis.The Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act 2010 provided for direct election of Mayor to the corporations in Himachal Pradesh and removed the no confidence motion clause, which is different from Rajasthan which adopted for direct election last year but the directly elected mayor can be removed by bringing a motion of no confidence after one year of his election. Even though the functions & powers of the Mayor weren’t ‘enhanced’ in the Himachal Pradesh Amendment, the newspaper reports are full of Sanjay Chauhan’s enthusiasm and his declared objective of making the Corporation “Mayor-centric” rather than “Commissioner-centric” and thus rendering the position politically accountable.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brief: A Note on Community Participation in India

Shiny Saha

This paper discusses the situation of communityparticipation in India, the various programmes initiated to facilitate it andthe roles of various interest groups towards the same. The paper is dividedbroadly into three sections. The first section - National Context: Facilitating Community Participation via Decentralization - discusses the provisions undertaken by the government tofacilitate community participation. The second section - Local Expressions of Community Participation - discusses acts of community participation that have evolved independent of governmentinterventions. The third section - Participation: A critical analysis - critically analyzes participationand the role of civil society in the same.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brief: Do slum dwellers have the required documentation?

S. Chandrasekhar & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay

It is a cause for concern that overall at least 51.3 percent of households in notified slums and 52.3 percent of households in non-notified slums do not have a voter ID card. This implies that 19,83,830 households in notified slums and 10,16,407 households in non-notified slums are possibly disenfranchised.

Brief: The out of school population - motivation and analysis

Aditi Gandhi & Kanhu Charan Pradhan

This note reviews the reasons due to which the currently out of school population did not enrol or discontinued education for both genders in rural and urban India. The analysis seeks to determine the importance of financial constraints, parental preferences and gender specific influences in causing a student to not enrol or drop out of school. It is also observed that the urban-rural disparity in education completion rates progressively widens from Elementary to Secondary to higher levels of education. This trend is also explored.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Brief: Gains in education attainment

Shiny Saha, Kanhu Charan Pradhan & Aditi Gandhi

In this note we review the participation in elementary and higher education over time to identify the changing pattern in education enrolment and attainment, in both rural and urban India. We find that significant gains have been made in attainment of education over the past fifty years. However, the levels in attainment of secondary education are still perceptibly low. Further, while in urban areas the gender disparity has closed, in rural areas, it still persists. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: The City

Shiny Saha

The City by Max Weber

The City is divided into five chapters however, broadly, the book can be divided into two sections. The first section comprising of the first chapter discusses the nature of the city. Here, Weber argues that mostly a city is understood in terms of its size and density, which are not sufficient to define a city. Therefore, he characterizes the city in terms of economy, political-administrative and fortress or garrison. Economically, for Weber, the city is a settlement in which the citizens live off versatile trades and commerce, rather than agriculture, and satisfy the substantial part of their daily needs through the market. Politico-administratively Weber defines the city in terms of its unique land relations in which land ownership is not accessory to house ownership. In terms of the last characteristic he argues that in the past the city, although not universally, was a fortress. He adds that this characteristic of the city has been lost in the present but the fusion of the fortress and the market was important for the composition of the city in the past: the consumption power and protection of the fortress attracted merchants and at the same time the lord was interested in attracting them to earn revenue through taxation or investment.