Tag Archives: JNNURM

Ahmedabad, the joyless city

By Raksha Sharda

Very recently, President Pranab Mukherjee awarded Ahmedabad the glory of being one of the best cities under the Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) and Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor (ISHUP). But does the city deserve this award? Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat and the seventh largest city in India. The total population of the city is around 5.5 million, of which about nine lakh reside in the slums with 710 in the city. In order to bring about a holistic approach for improving and upgrading the infrastructure facilities of slum settlements a flagship scheme — Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) — was initiated by the Government of India in 2005 identified cities, including Ahmedabad.

The physical progress of the JNNURM has been good with 33,824 dwelling units (DUs) being approved, of which 33,074 DUs have been completed and 21,611 DUs have been occupied. But has the situation of slum dwellers with regard to the availability of basic civic amenities improved?

It is the physical environment, in terms of housing conditions and availability of basic services that determines the productivity and quality of life in urban areas. Though the first half of the last century witnessed a peaceful, inclusive development of the city, with the dawn of the new century, the city turned out to be the place of conflict and exclusion as the urban poor were being displaced from their informal shelters and livelihood, all in the name of “development”.

A United Nations expert group has created an operational definition of a slum: “An area that combines to various extents the following characteristics: inadequate access to safe water; inadequate access to sanitation and other infrastructure; poor structural quality of housing; overcrowding; and insecure residential status”. Quality of life, health, productivity of slum residents can be enhanced only with the provision of better living conditions. This would also help them in breaking the vicious circle of poverty with positive spill-over effects on the economy as a whole. Of the slum dwellers, children are most affected. Life in the absences of basic civic amenities like proper sanitation facilities, safe drinking water, adequate housing, electricity, street lights is not only detrimental to health but also the safety and dignity of the community. With lower degree of immunisation children are worst affected and are prone to falling sick, which increases the medical expenditure of slum dwellers forcing them deeper into poverty and indebtedness. Lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation leads to a range of diseases.

Initially, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had declared 1976 as the cut-off date for recognising a demolished slum dweller as ‘eligible’, which means a Project Affected Person (PAP) entitling the concerned person for rehabilitation. But in March 2010, an additional layer of eligibility was introduced by the state government through the promulgation of Regulations for the Rehabilitation and Redevelopment of the Slums, 2010. A slum dweller to be eligible for rehabilitation is one who is “not a foreign national and is the occupant of hutment for a period of minimum 10 years and has a domicile of Gujarat for 25 years or his descendant”. For proof of occupancy, any two of the following documents are required: copy of ration card, copy of electricity bills or proof of being included in the electoral rolls or any other proof as decided by the prescribed authority. This criterion is going to exclude large number of present slum dwellers from any chance of alternate housing in case of their displacement. Many slum dwellers have not been allotted houses under BSUP because they do not have proof of being in the city in 1976, leaving a large number of slum dwellers with no choice.

As per a report by the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), on account of various development projects like Kankaria Lake Development (KLD) project, including some of the JNNURM projects many slum dwellers have been displaced from various sites and have been dumped in the remote area of Ganeshnagar, near the Pirana waste treatment plant, on the outskirts of the city. This shift cannot be termed as redevelopment as the slum dwellers were compelled to shift to an underdeveloped site. There is no water, drainage, street lights etc. There is no school for children and no dispensary. This displacement has affected the livelihood and earning of the slum dwellers and has also increased their cost of commuting to the city for work. This displacement took place after Ahmedabad was declared a megacity in 2005. Such displacements have a greater impact on the lives of children and on their livelihood. So are we really heading towards inclusive development?

Efforts have been made to provide durable housing facilities to the slum dwellers as the construction of houses has been done through Mascon Aluminum Foam Work technology an earthquake resistant technology which requires least maintenance cost. Other than Ahmedabad, only Mumbai and Chandigarh have used this technology for urban housing schemes. Under the Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor (ISHUP), the rate of interest for home loan is five per cent, but the effective rate of interest for home loan is subsidised and will be around three per cent in Ahmedabad. For the very first time such a measure has been taken by the Central Bank of India which will provide housing loans for a period of 15-20 years, with a maximum limit of `60,000 to urban poor. Despite such positive efforts, the living condition of slum dwellers remains unchanged.

Availability of basic amenities is a right of every citizen, including slum dwellers. However, as per the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation survey, only 6469 households in slums have private water connections out of total 176754 slum households in the city. To add to this plight, there are 254 households per public standpost, which distributes water from one or more taps to many users and 506 households per public toilet. Only, one-fifth of the slum population have private toilets, 45.41 percentage of slums have drainage facility, 61 per cent of the households have electricity connection and only one-fifth of the population has access to primary medical facilities. What about the remaining per cent of households or slum dwellers? Who is answerable for the inadequate provisions of such basic facilities? It is not that the slum dwellers have got used to living in such ramshackle conditions but just that they do not have any other option.

Raksha Sharda is the policy and advocacy officer of the National Campaign Humara Bachpan

Hoping against hope- BSUP/JNNURM a failed promise!

On TerraUrban (Kya Hua Tera Wada, Pro-poor governing climate ) you read about the only ‘in-situ’ slum upgradation project initiated by Raipur Municipal Corporation which still hasn’t resulted in any provision of housing for the displaced.

Read the recent article by Jyotindra Prasad traces the plight of 5000 residents of Telibandha locality in Raipur who have been uprooted from their homes about 20 months ago. These residents were promised a temporary abode till the up gradation work was to be initiated in their locality. Only 800 of these residents who originally inhabit the area around the Telibandha pond where temporarily settled in Boriakala which is 16km away from Raipur with an assurance that they will be back to the original place in a year. However construction work at Telibandha has not even began!

The situation for the 800 who were resettled is as traumatic as those who were left in lurch! RMC has stopped the services of buses, doctors, anganbadi school from this resettled area. Electricity is being charged for which the slum dwellers are unable to pay for therefore that shall also be soon cut. The slum dwellers are complaining that they have found that their names have now been excluded from the voters list and were not even counted in 2011 census.

For all this RMC quickly puts the blame on procedural issues of tenders and contractors! This is the plight of our poor under a pioneering centrally sponsored scheme of JNNURM!! What hope do we have now from the second phase of JNNURM or the complete slum eradication under Rajiv Awas Yojana

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Capacity building of ULBs and Community – A need!

Equipping our cities to cope with urbanisation and related issues, many developmental schemes with support from the Centre and State have been floated in the recent past. The onus of the development work that is supported by the ‘funds’ by the centre is on the urban local bodies. Though decentralisation of urban governance has been in place since many years, dissolution and capacity of the urban local bodies is still debatable. The result has been two fold – one most of these schemes are lacking behind with a very poor understanding by the urban local bodies on how to proceed towards the larger objective of these schemes. The result is even though there is surplus of funds available to the urban local bodies, the ULBs are unable to adequately utilise the same. The second associated issue is community participation in these schemes. The development schemes continue to be top down irrespective of directives of community participation. One of the common complaints is lack of awareness seen in the community of various schemes and development rights of the community.

Read the news item below which clearly states the scenario in the Nagar Panchayat of Bodhgaya, Bihar wherein the total funding of 222.10 crore allocated under JNNURM scheme fails to be utilized  It is clear from this situation that immediate attention needs to be given to capacity building of the ULBs.

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Society for Participatory Research in Asia, under its project of strengthening civil society voices on urban poverty, is working in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jaipur extensively along with other small and medium cities in various states towards generating awareness among the community and civil society about various urban development schemes. One such awareness and capacity building exercise for the civil society are the Slum Improvement Committee initiated in cities of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jaipur.

Read the news item below which covers the important aspects of how the Slum improvement committee institutionalized with help of PRIA are one step forward towards creating awareness about slum developmental schemes such as Rajiv Awas Yojna and JNNURM.

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Tangles of undelivered JNNURM housing – Shimla

Shared by Anshuman Carol, PRIA

Municipal Corporations under JNNURM are to provide for social housing for the poor, but most often than not we are seeing examples of incapability of the local governments to provide for the same. Reasons are many such as not enough financial capability, not enough technical know-how, not enough hand holding provided by the central government to ULBs to undertake these projects, inefficient and non-participatory methods adopted by ULBs etc.

Municipal Corporation of Shimla is in a similar situation wherein it is being unable to provide the promised number of housing units to the urban poor. Due to cost escalation over the years the corporation no longer has the financial capability to build all the units. The options left for the Corporation is either to obtain the escalated amount from the beneficiaries or reduce the number of units. Either of the two options result in the urban poor being much more ‘victimised’ than they already are. The third option that Corporation might explore is taking support from State or Central Government.

Punjab Kesari of 3.11.2012 covered this news: 

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Ignorance is not bliss! –how JNNURM failed in Small and Medium Cities

By Nidhi S. Batra, PRIA

Pan-India ONE solution for Urban Poverty is failing. We have seen it in JNNURM and shall see it again in Rajiv Awas Yojana. Small and Medium cities are facing the brunt. These cities are one not equipped with know-hows and appropriate capacity and nor do they have enough focus of centrally sponsored schemes to solve the urban poverty issues in these cities.

Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), launched in 2005 was directed towards development of our cities and for the first time managed to have some bit of spotlight on even the urban poor. Within JNNURM there were/are on ground actual proposals and reforms at governance level that were to help ‘include’ the urban poor in the development context.

The scheme has two sub-missions: the sub-mission for Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) administered by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and the Sub-Mission for Basic Service to the Urban Poor (BSUP) administered by the Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA). The latter sub-mission focuses on integrated provision of basic services including shelter and security of tenure to slum dwellers. In non-mission cities covered by MoHUPA, these activities are carried out under Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program (IHSDP)

JNNURM Funding has been provided making with conditions of governance level reform. Some of these reforms are mandatory while other are optional level reforms that have to be taken up by the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).( In this context , it is important to recall how urban planning has now become a mandate of urban local bodies with the 74th Amendment and ULBs are now to take charge of undertaking ‘development’ for the poor).

Two mandatory reforms at the ULB level those are necessary for the ULBs to undertake in context to the urban poor are:

1)      Provision of basic services to the Urban Poor, including security of tenure at affordable prices

2)      Internal earmarking within local bodies budgets for basic services to the urban poor

Optional reform at ULB level in context to urban poverty is:

1)      Earmarking at least 20-25% of developed land in all housing projects

And other related mandatory reform of municipal accounting which makes it mandatory for the ULBs to shift to the double entry accounting system which should reflect the separate municipal fund for services to the poor and recording of the targeted revenue expenditure of delivery of services to the urban poor per annum.

These reforms and projects have been prescribed in great spirits, attempting for the first time to dissolve all issues regarding the uncertainty that had been created due to institutional arrangement for slum improvement programs between different agencies – slum boards, housing boards, development authority, municipal body etc. that had led to problems in implementation and also the failure to provide for the poor in the urban planning process.

But, have these proposals really been working for Small and Medium Cities?

Small and Medium Cities are where there is at present a sudden boom of ‘Urbanisation’. These are the cities that are being hit by urban poverty at a rate that is not even conceivable. And at the same time it is here, in these Small and Medium Cities that a ‘preventive addressal of urban poverty’ can be taken up rather than finding ‘futile cures’ in the million plus cities. From the graph below it is visible how the share of urban poverty and slum population has been increasing in small and medium cities. It is interesting to note that about 50% of urban population are living in slums; the city is seeing unprecedented growth rate after it became the capital of the new state of Chhattisgarh.

Share of Urban Poor in large and small and medium cities

Source: data on poverty from Lanjouw and Morgain 2011 based on NSS data

But, has JNNURM really considered these aspects?

75% of the assistance has been committed to 65 mission cities under UIG and BSUP under JNNURM; 25% is for the rest 640 small and medium towns under IHSDP and UIDSSMT. On an average, bigger cities have had a higher per capita investment. Also, the percentage of urban population covered under these two schemes decreases with the size and class of towns.

Committed Central Assistance by Scheme

Source: IIHS Analysis based on data from JNNURM website

Population covered under UIG and UIDSSMT by City-Size

Source: IIHS Analysis based on data from JNNURM website

How has JNNURM then through its mechanism attempted to ‘serve’ small and medium towns differently?

For certain, slums are a problem in larger cities but in smaller towns the question of poverty alleviation is more pressing but has seen much lesser focus, funding and appropriate approach. These small and medium towns are struggling to provide for housing for the urban poor and are also unable to undertake the governance level reforms.

Most of these towns have not even shifted to a double accounting system; there is no separate entry for services being catered to urban poor. Nagar Panchayat such as Sanawad in Madhya Pradesh, and many others in their books state that 25% of the total revenue is utilised on services for the urban poor, but at present there is no mechanism to check this expenditure. Other municipalities directly have put the central sponsored allocations under this and show complete expenditure as required. Small and medium towns at present do not even have their books digitized and require far greater hand holding than larger cities.

Also, wrongly so, most ULBs believe that optional reforms are actually optional! Therefore optional reforms such as earmarking 25% of land in all new housing projects for Economically Weaker Sections and Low Income Groups do not see the light of the day. The fact is under JNNURM, optional reforms are not optional- just that they are not the most priority reform that should be taken up by ULB; however, the phasing of these reforms would be at the choice of the ULB/ state. Two reforms need to be carried out every year over the mission period.

Other municipalities and corporations find it difficult to implement this reservation reform. Infact most of the corporations such as Indore complain of how they saw loss in housing investment over last few years when the shelter fund was stopped and it was mandatory for private housing projects to designate the land/ houses for urban poor in their schemes. They clearly stated how ‘Shelter Fund’ mechanism wherein the Private builder had the obligation to contribute a portion of the land developed by them or CASH proportionate to the land value towards Ashraya Nidhi (Shelter Fund) for pro-poor housing. Most builders obviously offered to give CASH! Of course this model doesn’t allow an equitable city with no apartheid class divided zones to be created within the city and has also created a shortage of land for the corporation to even undertake pro-poor housing!

Other criticisms of JNNURM that has been articulated in the public domain is:

Mission is said to suffer from the lack of an integrated approach; related issues like land, health, education and employment are being handled by separate Ministries at the central level and no strategy towards convergence of the same has been formulated.

Complete failure in respect to ‘community participation’. Overnight slums have been removed and housed in ‘flats’ that have already been created, even the slums that were not even in the ‘listing’ under the BSUP housing in cities like Raipur. In the same city, no example of in-situ slum rehabilitation has been successful. The only model the corporation attempted was the case of Telibhanda, where in the community was deceived and shifted to far off transit homes and even after 3 years still do not have their in-situ houses back in the land that belonged to them! Also, JNNURM even lacks an articulated clear resettlement policy. There is great ambiguity in the air, which and why slums are being removed overnight, are market forces acting up?!

Cities have also chosen not to invest in BSUP extensively; thrust of JNNURM has been on infrastructural and buses instead! Options of micro-financing and role of PPP for housing urban poor has not been explored.

ULBs of small and medium towns also faced a peculiar situation wherein the State Local Nodal Agency (SLNA) did not provide the necessary ‘capacity’ to the ULB in time. Small Nagar Panchayats and Municipalities are not equipped with qualified staff or know-how of how to include the cause of urban poor within their new mandate after 74th Amendment.

JNNURM in its vision is essential, it has attempted to focus on issues that are crucial for Indian Cities, but it has failed in its approach. One size fits all solution does not work in a country like India wherein the level of urbanisation differs exponentially across the nation.

There is a need for far greater bottom up planning, far greater capacity building and far greater hand holding in small and medium towns, than what is at present being offered. The future of a sustainable urbanization is in these towns and the only way to address it is to ‘take care of the excluded – and work towards an inclusive society”. Ignorance is not a bliss for these cities – we need to empower them!

A boy in slum of Raipur,   photograph by Nidhi Batra

“Poor Living” for the Urban Poor- tracing JNNURM housing projects

“Poor Living” for the Urban Poor- tracing JNNURM housing projects

Government promised in its JNNURM scheme that poor people would be provided with basic services (through Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) and Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP))- how successful has this scheme been in catering to the urban poor is the real question, especially at a time when another centrally sponsored scheme of Rajiv Awas Yojana has been initiated in most States and Cities.

Jeetesh Rai of PRIA, began to find the success quotient of JNNURM with following questions:

  • What has been the impact of JnNURM policies on the livelihood and identity of urban poor (here identity means there PATTA, ration card and other facilities including employment opportunities which they were availing before this)
  • What has been the response of the state on this?
  • How and in what manner their housing, Water, sanitation, health and education has been affected so far in this displacement and rehabilitation process and after that?
  • What was the situation of slum dwellers before there displacement and what is the situation of slum dwellers after that?
  • Is state able to provide the basic services under its stated objectives of JNNURM i.e. house, water, sanitation, health, education?
  • What are the opinions of people for whom this project has been implemented?
  • Are they really included in this urban planning process as stated in the objectives of JNNURM?
  • What process have State adopted to displace these poor slums dwellers, was that participatory?

Through case example of Banjara Basti, Kotara Sultanabad, Bhopal, some answers to the above questions are highlighted

The Banjara basti is situated in Kotara Sultanabad, near Nehru Nagar, where the slum dwellers of Babu Nagar, Shabari Nagar and Banjara Basti have been relocated/rehabilitate between 2009 and 2011. The people of Sabari Nagar and Banjara basti who had been living here have been rehabilitate into multi-storeyed flats at the same place, and are joined by the displaced slum dwellers of  Babu nagar which was 3 km away. In Babu Nagar the slum dwellers were residing since last 25 years and had Patta, ration card, Identity card, and some of them had employment card. Slum dwellers of Babu Nagar prior to displacement also availed nearby facilities of government middle school, angan wadi, hospital about 8km away and ration facility about 0.5km away from their place of stay.

Process of displacement:

As informed, the resettled slum dwellers of Babu Nagar Basti had not shifted on their own will, rather were displaced forcefully. They were threatened by the Bhopal Municiapl Corporation and the slum dwellers were forced to move. The dwellers were promised to be provided flats in Banjara Basti in multi-storeyed flats for which they had to pay atleast Rs 32,000. Residents of Babu Nagar basti and the Sabari Nagar Basti who were given temporary housing in this location were promised to get school, parks, roads, clean drinking water, SWM facility, Marriage-Community hall, angandwadi etc.

Unfortunately, only those slum dwellers which enjoyed a tenure right- patta were offered housing in the JNNURM project, resulting in only 400 families of Babu Nagar to be rehabilitated against the total of 600 families in that location. While in Sabari Nagar, where about 40 houses were demolished, only 10-15 were offered house in the multi-storeyed flat, even though none of the 40 houses had any patta.

Pity of the situation is that none of the slum dwellers have any receipt or official communication records between them and the BMC. They informed that during the house distribution, administration authorities have taken the requisite patta record, ration card, bank passbook, voter identity card and stamp paper but never provided any kind of receipt. People told that they had been given a stamp paper, however have not been provided with the promised housing facilities.

In another highlighted case, in similar scheme at  Jamburi maidan, and people were provided with the housing allotment letters but the families who were not present in the ground have not given any kind of paper or houses.

Condition of the JNNURM housing at Banjara Basti:

Slum dwellers of Sabari nagar, Babu nagar and Banjara nagar basti have been rehabilitated in 16 blocks with 32 houses in each in a plot at Banjara Nagar. As informed by the present residents, the condition of these flats during the time of shifting in 2011 was highly poor. Also the slum dwellers were offered no financial help or subsidy which made it highly difficult for them to relocate into these flats. Residents of Sabari nagar informed that they had been provided with two meals only on the day of displacement and thereafter no help was offered to the slum dwellers.

  • Size of each dwelling: 27.67 square meter
  • Number of Units: 512, in 16 towers with 32 houses in each
  • Promised layout: housing plan which was shown to the slum dwellers had a two room set with separate kitchen and latrine/bathroom
  • Provided layout: only one room, one multipurpose hall-cum kitchen and only one toilet and one latrine
  • Construction quality: Very poor, water percolation is already seen; settling of lower ground is seen already. Houses are still incomplete with some of the houses not even provided with window glass as of now. Quality of material used for construction is poor as reported by the slum dwellers.
  • Sewage and drainage: No sewage facility has been planned according to slum dwellers, no covered drains, often the sewage water comes back in to the houses.
  • Water Supply: Overhead tanks with no provision of access to the same or no components of maintenance of the same. As a result people often climb up to the terrace with a ladder and has resulted in mishaps and accidents. Also the connection has only been provided in the bathroom and not in the kitchen. As a result most houses through pipes are taking water directly from the overhead tanks. Each house had paid Rs 150 for the water connection with a monthly charge of Rs. 60.
  • Electricity: Supply has been provided with a charge of Rs 550 of which no official receipt has been provided
  • School: primary school is 5 km away, middle school is 10 km away and high school for boys is 2 km but for girl’s high school is 10 km from away
  • Hospital: nearest hospital Government Katzu hospital 7 km away
  • Employment: Babu Nagar residents complained of increased expense due to additional travel required for going to their work places

The residents also expressed the need for the following:

  • Single story houses
  • The quality of material should be better than that had been used in their house construction
  • The size of houses should be bigger than what has been given to them right now, such that at least one whole family can live in one house.
  • There should be  supply of water in the kitchen too
  • Senior citizens should be allotted houses on the ground floor
  • The contribution towards the cost of the house should be fixed prior and any increased cost due to inflation or any other reason,  should be borne by the government itself.
  • In the new housing area, the facility of Anganwadi, school and administration and other basic facilities should be provided.

Way forward:

There are various lessons to learn from this rehabilitation project. One of which is the need of a transparent and participatory urban planning and development process. The slum dwellers should be involved from the time of design, to construction and implementation and as well as maintenance. At one hand the State has lagged behind in the quality of houses that have been provided, the process adopted for rehabilitation and at the same time slum dwellers take no ownership of the houses that have been allotted to them.

“How Feasible and Effective would Mohalla Samitis be in Urban Madhya Pradesh”?

By Shyam Singh – Samarthan- Center for Development Support

Article published by the Mainstream Weekly magazine

In the wake of the unprecedented growth in the urban population, the existing system of citizen participation has been found ineffective in providing equal opportunities to all people to participate in the process of urban governance. Unlike rural areas, urban areas have two-tier system of local self-governance, that is, munici-pality and wards. The representation ratio (population per elected representative) in urban areas is very high. In Bhopal city, according to Census 2011, a Councillor of a ward, on average, represents 25,652 citizens. In this case, interactions of elected representatives with citizens become rare and difficult. Similarly, possibilities of citizens’ participation in public governance also get lower. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) has proposed a solution of this problem by suggesting the enactment of a Community Participation Law (CPL) in all those states which are taking benefits of the JNNURM. The CPL proposes division of a ward into smaller units with lesser segments of population, so that citizens can be involved effectively in planning and governance activities in their localities. To abide with this provision, the Madhya Pradesh Government has passed the Madhya Pradesh Nagar Palika Mohalla Samiti Act in June 2009. This Act provisions the constitution of Mohalla Samiti (MS) as the lowest unit of local self-governance in the urban areas. But questions regarding the ability of this Act in addressing the concerns that are central to the participatory urban governance remain unanswered.

Mohalla’ in this Act is defined as a portion or sub-set of a local body, a colony, an apartment or a hamlet where a minimum of 100 households reside. This definition does not provide a homogeneous structure of the MS and that raises concerns over the uniformity of jurisdiction and the distribution of power and resources to the MS. For instance, a colony can be a larger hamlet while an apartment is a tiny residential settlement. The problem exists as to what pattern or framework should be adopted to assign functions and distribute resources to the MSs so that the sense of equality among the MSs remains unquestioned. A ward in a city, generally, is constituted of 20,000-25,000 population. It means that the number of MSs to be constituted would be higher.

This is good from the point of view that if the MS is smaller in size, access of citizens to functions of the MS would be high and effective. But at the same time, accommodating the demands and aspirations of all MSs could be a herculean task for the authorities. On the other hand, the CPL proposes to form an Area Sabha (AS) in one or more polling booths. A polling booth generally comprises of 1200-1500 population. It means that in a ward there could be 15-20 ASs, while in case of the MS, this number can go up to 50. Therefore, the proposed arrangement of the MS puts a question on the feasibility of the application of the Act.

Another important aspect of urban governance is the devolution of power and financial autonomy to the lowest formation of urban local bodies. The Act does not give power to the MS to prepare annual plans and annual budgets for the Mohalla. Similarly, the MS has not been given control over the financial resources such as house and market taxes. The only ways through which the MS can generate funds by its own are either through contributions made by its members, MLAs and MPs or getting supervision charges for the work carried out on the behalf of the local body. The executive functions and duties assigned to the MS in this Act are not as substantive as provided in the CPL. The functions assigned to the MS in the Madhya Pradesh Act are generally about providing assistance rather ownership of the activities such as sanitation, water, road, drains etc. The Act clearly provisions that the MS has to work as an agency of the local body. But such provisions introduce the MS as an agent or outsourcing agency, instead of an independent and effective stratum of decentralisation. It is to be noted that the number of duties assigned to the MS are more than what has been provided in the CPL, but assigned duties and functions to the MS do not assure an effective implementation of such functions by an effective institutional arran-gement.

Similarly, the CPL gives power to the AS to identify beneficiaries of developmental and welfare schemes in their areas, so that irregularities in the distribution of such benefits can be checked. But, the MS does not have the power to carry out such activities. This has been proved to be a contentious point as experiences reflect that more often, at the ground level, the real beneficiaries remain excluded from the list prepared through national/Statewide surveys. The ASs have also rights to seek information from the municipality and officials who are associated with works being carried out in the Area and the work influence/affect the Area. The MS does not possess this right.

More importantly, the Madhya Pradesh Act does not talk about the structures and functions of the Ward Committees as the CPL does. The Act does not mention whether the MS representatives would be members of the Ward Committee or not. Since no specific channels for interface between the MS and Ward Committee have been proposed in the Act, a doubt prevails on the liasoning between these two layers of the urban local self-governance. The establishment of the MS as the lowest strata of local self-governance in the urban areas can only be effective when it has acquired autonomy in performing the given functions and managing its financial needs an its own. The Madhya Pradesh Nagar Palika Mohalla Samiti Act is still to be enacted. The seven-year tenure of the JNNURM (2005-12) is over now; no Mohalla Samiti has been created in the State so far. Let’s see how feasible and effective it would be in enhancing the real participation of citizens in urban governance.