Draft RMP has no governance reforms on its agenda

Will governance structures of today hold good for governing the city in 2031? The draft Revised Master Plan–2031 has drawn the ire of urban planners and activists it does not draw upon work done on the subject, including the report on BBMP restructuring and multiple drafts of a separate municipal law for Bengaluru region. It offers no alternative strategies either. In fact, the draft plan does not even have a chapter on governance.

The June 2015 BBMP Restructuring Committee Report envisaged a three-tier governance structure: wards; multiple municipal corporations; and Greater Bengaluru Authority at the Bengaluru Metropolitan Area level and Metropolitan Planning Committee at the regional level. V. Ravichandar, member of the restructuring committee, said it was unfortunate that the draft plan does not consider the work done by another arm of the government on governance reforms.

For instance, the draft plan expands the conurbation area (urban sprawl) by 80 sq. km and predicts complete urbanisation of the conurbation area, but has no strategy for municipalisation of these areas.

Many areas on the city’s outskirts still governed by gram panchayats are completely urbanised and are choking with outdated governance structures. However, with no proposal for municipalisation of these areas in the short term, the draft plan, in a single short paragraph, says that by the end of the plan period the entire urban area should be brought under municipal umbrella, without recommending any timeline or strategy for it.

Many are also disappointed over the draft being silent on a separate law for Bengaluru, for which multiple drafts are available — BBMP Restructuring Committee draft, and Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) task force, formed during the BJP regime. Even BBMP Budget for 2017 recommended for a separate municipal law for Bengaluru.

Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar, former convener of ABIDe that drafted a model Bill for Bengaluru’s governance, said the city region desperately needs a law to govern it, and an RMP that does not engage on these needs is useless.

“There is not a single mention of ward committees in the plan, which is mandated by the 74th amendment. There is also no regional imagination of the city region. How will the plan help improve wards which will seamlessly translate into development at the city level and region level, is unclear,” he said. In fact, the BBMP restructuring report has detailed proposals for ward committee constitution, financial autonomy for wards, and ward plans.

A senior urban planner associated with the BDA said the authority was not bound to accept any of the proposals made in these reports or draft Bills. “But it is imperative on the BDA’s part to let the city know of their stand on governance reforms actively being considered by the State government, even if they are opposed to them. Complete silence over the sector is a big lacuna of the plan,” the urban planner said.


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Printable version | May 12, 2021 9:18:45 PM |

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