The urbanization levels in India today stand at around ~30% and are expected to reach 40% by the year 2021. The last four decades have seen a 350% increase in the Indian urban population, and urban centers now contribute around 60% to India’s GDP. For India to sustain the high economic growth rates, these urban powerhouses cannot be neglected at any cost. Ensuring good city governance is imperative for the sustainable development of these cities.
The 74th amendment of the constitution was a national effort aimed at devolution of appropriate functional responsibilities and the corresponding financial resources to the urban local bodies. Previously, local government bodies were a subject of the state list and were governed under the state statutes. It was expected to make the urban local bodies efficient and vibrant units of self governance with increased participation from people, improved service delivery, increased accountability and transparency.
Even after a decade of the enactment of the act, states still dominate the urban local bodies. Full financial and functional powers have not been granted to the local bodies. Some of the reasons cited for this failure have been
- Lack of political will for decentralization of power
- Bureaucracy's unwillingness to work with the local governments
- Low public awareness
- Inadequate framing of rules and procedures