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DYSFUNCTIONAL

CITY-SYSTEMS THE CHALLENGE

for Urban India

Urban India is at various stages of malfunction and disrepair. An estimated 30% of India’s 1.3 billion people currently reside in cities. The rate of urbanization is a rapid 2.4% per year, thereby making it imperative that cities are equipped to handle the steadily growing influx of people. Currently, however, cities in India are found lacking in terms of adequate planning, infrastructure, public services and sustainable development. Most of urban India is overburdened and grappling with the consistent growth in population. There can, therefore, be no disagreement that our cities need urgent attention – roads, traffic, garbage, power, water-supply, environment, crime, safety and the whole gamut of Quality of Life aspects that frustrate us daily as city-residents. But these are only the symptoms. They are visible elements of a systemic failure in the governance and management of our cities. Any number of band-aids cannot prevent the malaise from spreading, unless the underlying structural deficiencies are treated. Figuring out a way by which the challenges of cities can be distilled into a frame of reference, will align action towards coherent change.

We call this our City-Systems framework and view the challenges of our cities through the lens of its four defining aspects. These four interrelated aspects are the building blocks for transforming our cities and creating a more sustainable future for growth. 1) 2) 3) 4)

Well-structured Urban Planning and Design High levels of Urban Capacities and Resources Empowered and Legitimate Political Representatives Transparent, Accountable, and Participatory Cities

Quality of life is a direct result of the City-Systems that underlie each of the four themes – invisible, complex and interrelated elements of laws, policies, institutional frameworks, and processes. To fix the quality of life in our cities and towns, we need to therefore fix our City-Systems.


A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CURRENT SCENARIO IN URBAN INDIA

A health check against the City-Systems Framework

Now let’s take a closer look and the dysfunctionality of India’s City-Systems from the perspective of the City-Systems Framework. URBAN PLANNING AND DESIGN

URBAN CAPACITIES AND RESOURCES

Indian cities today are perched precariously on the precipice of rigidly regulated master plans on the one hand, and completely uncoordinated free-for-all market determined growth on the other. The result is visible in the chaotic expansion of our cities and in the discordant, makeshift nature of public infrastructure being built.

Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are the ‘last mile’ connection between government and citizens. They are responsible for providing the infrastructure and services that affect our daily quality of life as city residents. Yet, this crucial final arm of government is failing due to a lack of capacities and resources.

This atrophied approach to spatial planning results in master plans that play no meaningful part in shaping the form and future of our cities, relegating them to regulatory references that merely dictate, ‘what can you use this piece of land for, and how much can you build’.

There is a critical shortage of manpower in ULBs especially at the senior management level. This is compounded by the fact the Urban Management is yet to emerge as a specialised professional domain in India. Municipal Corporations in India therefore do not have a compre- hensive, standardized and well-defined set of roles and job descriptions across urban services and functions, which would ensure that they are right-staffed. Further, a pool of appropriately and adequately skilled and trained manpower is not available for urban services and Urban Capacities functions due to the same reason (E.g. personnel specifically trained in and Resources municipal financial management, in municipal solid waste management, in municipal revenue mobilisation etc. are not available in the Indian job market).

Similarly, the current development pace has promoted haphazard infrastructure which has not taken into account social science or aesthetics. Ownership and neighbourhood community is built on a sense of place and identity. Investment in the details of urban design is an investment in nurturing ownership and building communities. We believe that most existing Indian cities require large-scale investment in rejuvenation of public spaces and up-gradation of neighbourhoods and key centres of activity.

Urban Planning and Design

Most importantly, we need to realise that the whole spectrum of robust macro spatial planning and detailed local design must be the bedrock of the world-class cities we want.

Only by addressing these twin challenges of sufficient specialization and adequate staffing, will UBLs be able to deliver a better quality of life and service delivery for our cities and towns.

TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND PARTICIPATION

EMPOWERED AND LEGITIMATE POLITICAL REPRESENTATION

Transparency and Accountability are the founding stones of any good government, and citizen participation is key to a strong, representative democracy. Unfortunately, the current situation in India’s cities and towns does not Transparency, reflect this. There remains a wall of opacity between the Government and Accountability the citizen, with average city residents unaware of the workings inside and Participation the ‘black box’ of the administration. Most tax payers do not know where their money is spent, nor what, if anything, the government plans to do to improve their quality of life. Often, the government itself is unaware of citizens’ chief pain points, or even the true state of its own finances and service provision, due to a lack of rigorous data. The compounding lack of pre-agreed service delivery benchmarks, and mandatory performance disclosures, also make it hard for government and citizen to identify which reform efforts are needed most pressingly. From the safety of this opacity, corrupt practices, leakages, pilfering, preferential contracting and cronyism are able to flourish, to the detriment of us all.

The edifice of a democratic society is built on having elected representatives that are both empowered and legitimate. Today in urban India there remain institutional impediments that prevent the realisation of this democratic ideal.

Due to the above, urban citizens are often relegated to passive bystanders rather than engaged stakeholders. They are unable to voice their concerns, take ownership over their neighbourhoods, and work together with government for a better quality of life. This directly translates a poor quality of life and along with it, the commonly misunderstood sense of ‘urban apathy’ witnesses in India’s cities. With this current reality, how can we expect our cities to be the world-class habitats in which we all wish to live?

Empowered and Legitimate Political Representation

‘urban apathy’.

Predominant challenges include: inadequate power of elected representatives in the city council despite efforts to decentralise power nationally through the 74th Constitutional amendment; the persistent influence of crime and money in electoral politics; the lack of institutionalised engagement between elected representatives and citizens, which leads to a sense of disenfranchisement on the part of citizens, and places serious doubts over the representative legitimacy of elected officials; the lack of an objective reporting system for performance of elected representatives in assemblies and parliamentary sessions; and persistent low voter turnout in urban areas due to apparent

Other less obvious impediments also remain, such as the inaccuracy of voter lists – which even have the power to influence election results in closely fought constituencies. With urban migration causing transience rates of 20% per annum, the Election Commission finds itself unable to keep electoral rolls up to date (especially as the maintenance system it uses was built around the needs of low-mobility, rural communities). Because of this, many citizens find themselves unable to vote on election day even if they want to. How can we build realise the democratic ideals we deserve with urban electoral turnout at just 40%?


POSSIBLE INTERVENTIONS UNDER THE

City Systems Framework

URBAN PLANNING AND DESIGN •

Laying the foundation for sustainable urban development through robust planning and design

URBAN CAPACITIES AND RESOURCES •

policies that respond to contemporary demands and aspirations, respecting federal structures and democratic principles. •

Building spatial plans that anchor the long-term political, social, economic and environmental

vision for a city and its region / guide all public agencies towards delivering on that vision. •

Fixing India’s urban roads networks – life blood of the city and chief pain point for citizens.

Research and training in the field of transport engineering. (Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable

Training better Bureaucrats/Administrators to strengthen the ‘steel frame’ of India, while ensuring Urban Local Governments are adequately resources to meet the demands of India’s Urbanisation. Selecting, training and supporting talented individuals who wish to transform their city by contesting municipal corporation elections. Equipping candidates with skills in public policy analysis, municipal administration, political landscape and election campaign dynamics. (BPAC Civic Leadership Incubator Program (B.CLIP)).

Transportations and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) at Indian Institute of Science (IISc)).

Focusing more deeply on urban mobility solutions including pollution reduction through public transport. (EMBARQ India).

What interventions are needed to fix India’s City-Systems?

Addressing the lack of secure land titles in India– one of the biggest gaps impacting planned and equitable growth of our cities and towns.

What interventions Janaagraha and Jana Urban Space (JanaUSP) Foundation undertake, and why.

Equitable, sustainable and efficient transformation of Indian settlements through national education institutions focused on research and innovation. (The Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)).

Under the four dimensions of the City-Systems Framework there are a vast number of interventions needed to improve the quality of life in India’s cities and towns. We outline a number of these here. Many are already being undertaken by various stakeholders in the non-government and government spheres – some to great effect, some less effective, many still critically under-implemented.

CITY-SYSTEMS FRAMEWORK

TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND PARTICIPATION •

Citizen participation and engagement on the functioning of government, especially around key

EMPOWERED AND LEGITIMATE POLITICAL REPRESENTATION •

areas of Budgeting, Planning, and Service Delivery. •

Greater transparency and accountability of government expenditure and outcomes, especially at

details. (Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)). •

the ‘last mile’ municipal level, where opacity still remains the accepted norm. •

Building tomorrow’s active citizens through local level civic education.

Improving the safety of our neighbourhoods and bridging the gap between citizens and police through citizen participation.

Using the voice of citizens to tackle ‘retail’ corruption in government services

Fostering the urban ‘civic community’ - Allowing citizens to connect with one another, and with

elected representatives. •

Campaigns to provide citizens with information regarding candidates and encourage voter turnout. (Smartvote, Jaago Re).

Info-banks that help citizens keep track of MPs, MLAs and elected representatives via a database of profiles, interviews and manifestos. (Mumbai votes).

Objective reporting on the performance of parliaments and State Assemblies as well as performance of elected representatives in assemblies and parliamentary session. (PRS Legislative

Strengthening the Right to Information (RTI) framework as well other grievance redress meas-

Research).

tional Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI)).

Publishing citizen-facing objective evaluations of MLA/Councillor performance, allowing participation, engagement, especially through online tools. (Praja).

Empowering urban voters through clean voter lists, with higher turnout leading to higher quality

their civic agencies / local governments. ures for citizens, including creating safeguards such as the Whistle-Blowers Protection Bill. (Na•

Investigating criminal background of election candidates and enforcing disclosure of financial

Gender budgeting – (National Mission for Empowerment of Women, Ministry of Women and Child Development, GoI).

At Janaagraha and JanaUSP we cannot hope to run all the interventions needed to improve India’s City-Systems. Rather we undertake a subset of targeted interventions, which we believe: • • • •

Are most critical Are under-represented or not being addressed by other stakeholders Are something for which we have a corecompetency Represent the most ‘bang-for-buck’, in terms of scalability, replicability, and impact – based on our strategy of running interventions that have lasting impact and create permanent solutions.

The targeted interventions we have chosen to undertake are plotted against the four dimensions of the City-Systems framework on the following page, along with their Statement of Purpose (SoP).


TARGETING

OUR INTERVENTIONS THE CITY-SYSTEMS FRAMEWORK

URBAN PLANNING & DESIGN POLICY

URBAN CAPACITY BUILDING (UCB)

Fostering sustainable urban development through robust planning and design policies that respond to contemporary demands and respect federal structures / democratic principles.

Training better Bureaucrats/Administrators to strengthen the ‘steel frame’ of India, while ensuring Urban Local Governments are adequately resources to meet the demands of India’s Urbanisation.

URBAN PLANNING PRACTICE

Building spatial plans that anchor the long-term political, social, economic and environmental vision for a city and its region / guide all public agencies towards delivering on that vision.

URBAN DESIGN PRACTICE

Fixing India’s urban roads networks – life blood of the city and chief pain point for citizens.

As a Roadmap Urban Capacities and Resources

Urban Planning and Design

At the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, we have been working relentlessly over the past decade to improve the ‘Quality of Life’ in Indian cities and towns.

CITY-SYSTEMS FRAMEWORK BALA JANAAGRAHA

We believe that cities cannot deliver sustainable improvements in Quality of Life unless they have robust City-Systems with the following 4 components: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Well-structured Urban Planning and Design High levels of Urban Capacities and Resources Empowered and also Legitimate Political Representatives Transparent, Accountable and Participatory Cities

These themes are interdependent components and underpinning each of them is a detailed set of institutions, laws, policies and processes.

Given that fixing all the problems that plague urban India is a herculean task and we have limited resources, our strategic aim is to build scalable programs that create a significant multiplier effect. Our approach involves working with our primary stakeholders, Government and Citizens, to devise solutions that are easily to scale and replicate via 3Ps .

JAAGTE RAHO!

Building tomorrow’s active citizens through local level civic education.

PUBLIC RECORD OF OPERATIONS AND FINANCE (PROOF) Creating Transparent and Accountable Urban Local Government through reporting and disclosure. Building a growing constituency of citizens who are engaged in their cities’ budgets.

Empowering urban voters through clean voter lists, leading to higher turnout and higher quality elected representatives.

Transparency, Accountability and Participation

COMMUNITY POLICING

Improving the safety of our neighbourhoods and bridging the gap between citizens and police through citizen participation.

ICHANGEMYCITY.COM

Fostering the urban civic ‘community’ - Allowing citizens to connect with one another, and with their civic agencies / local governments.

IPAIDABRIBE.COM

Using the voice of citizens to tackle ‘retail’ corruption in government services.

Empowered and Legitimate Political Representation

Policies Platforms Partnerships While each of the dimensions of the City-Systems framework comprises of a whole gamut of issues and challenges facing Indian cities, our efforts are focused on programmes that we pilot extensively and prove to be sustainable, scalable models for coherent change. Janaagraha’s City-Systems Framework has over 100 specific points of measurement. Each year through our Annual Survey of City-Systems we highlight the enormous and urgent challenges that confront Indian cities, in fixing our upstream institutional and governance processes to solve urban challenges. Our framework can be a universal city-strategy for politicians and bureaucrats to adopt - the ASICS scorecard gives them clear indicators of key gaps in their city’s governance. It also helps in building consensus among stakeholders outside government, catalyzing a unified voice to demand change from decision-makers.


PROGRAMMATIC GOALS

UNDER THE

City Systems Framework Dimensions

All Janaagraha and JanaUSP programmes are guided by a long term vision of scale and impact on the City-Systems dimension under which they work. This page outlines these ‘big picture’ visions that drive our programmes at a macro-level.

URBAN

Planning & Design

Uban Planning and Design Policy Through advocacy based around our policy documents, India achieves ongoing clarity on property rights, heritage protection, spatial planning, and procurement processes for urban roads, etc.

Urban Planning Practice Robust spatial plans developed by JanaUSP across multiple localities in India (based on the three E’s principal – Environment, Equity, and Economy), establishing a tangible ‘proof of concept’ for the NUSPD framework.

Urban Design Practice Tender SURE roads designed and executed in multiple states, pan-India, establishing visible ‘proof of concept’ for the two-volume Tender SURE document. Tender SURE accepted as blueprint for urban road execution by state and union governments going forward.

TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY

& Participation

URBAN

Capacities & Resources

EMPOWERED & LEGITIMATE

Political Representation

Urban Capacity Building All future urban administrators are adequately trained to meet the demands of running India’s Cities. Urban Local Bodies are adequately staffed, resourced, and organised to world’s best practice standards.

Jaagte Raho! Proper Urban Electoral (PURE) Roll Management Process adopted across cities and states. Permanent solution to inaccurate voter lists. Greater voter turnout. Less urban ‘apathy’. Higher quality and more legitimate elected representatives.

Bala Janaagraha A Truly pan-India programme by 2020. Acceptance in State and Union Syllabus of Bala Janaagraha Civic Education Modules. Inform a generation of civically active and engaged urban citizens.

Community Policing Community Policing accepted and instituted pan-India as an effective neighbourhood safety and community integration tool. Institution of community policing within various state Police Acts. Raising the functioning and resourcing of police stations to meet world-class benchmarks.

Public Record of Operations and Finance (PROOF) Urban Local Government made transparent and accountable to citizens through suo moto quarterly disclosures of operations and finance, pan-India. Creation of a robust, enforceable, Performance Reporting Framework at the national policy level. Acceptance and institution of Participatory Budgeting concepts across state governments.

SUPPORT

Programmes

Human Resources and Volunteer Management (HRVM) Janaagraha is established as a world-class institution through recruitment and volunteering. Through harnessing technology platforms it expands and deepens its connection /embededness within society, and attracts / retains engaged staff, volunteers and alumni. Janaagraha has the Human Resources to launch in new cities throughout India.

Planning and Development (P&D) The organisation meets its increasing budget year-on-year, through a consistent and diversified donation stream. The organisation is perceived by its donors and ecosystem as a best-in-class institution. The organisation has strong internal planning and review processes that allow it to grow and flourish.

IPaidaBribe.com

Technology

Citizens themselves reduce corruption related to government services India-wide, by reporting via their computers and mobile devices. A world-wide network of crowd-sourced IPaidaBribe.com websites built, to harness the power of citizen voices and reduce retail corruption globally.

Janaagraha’s online platforms are built on a cutting-edge IT architecture, resulting in maximum utility and userfriendliness for citizens, and an ability to scale within India and beyond as required. Janaagraha’s internal IT infrastructure is first rate – helping the organisation and its staff stay at the forefront of the development field.

IChangeMyCity.com IChangeMyCity.com becomes the ‘one-stop-shop’ for civic networking in Bangalore and beyond. It empowers citizens to engage and make a difference in their local communities – fostering a sense of ownership and civic pride from the grassroots up. ‘Quality of citizenship’ is improved in India, bringing a richer, truer democracy.

Janaagraha Applied Research Programme (J-ARP) Janaagraha is respected as a source of world-class applied research. Through horizontal support for J-ARP, Janaagraha programmes and interventions are well informed, targeted and data-driven.


HUSKUR ROAD ELECTRONIC CITY MUMBAI MILE Projects Commenced

TenderSURE PHASE 01 7 roads under development in central Bangalore with Rs. 68 Cr of Government support.

TenderSURE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION EVENT held with distinguished guests and engaged citizens on TenderSURE Phase 01 project.

COMMUNITY POLICING JANA SURAKSHA SAMITHIS

18

AWARENESS PROGRAMMES

16 STREET PLAYS 3 RALLIES

Q3 2013-14

CITY-SYSTEMS ACHIEVEMENTS

constituted.

for Urban Local Bodies

2 CASE SESSIONS

URBAN CAPACITY BUILDING

Urban Capacities and Resources

Urban Planning and Design

27

on Slum improvement and Tender SURE held at LBSNAA

40000 NEW FORMS

Jaagte Raho! now in all

ASSEMBLY CONSTITUENCIES

BALA JANAAGRAHA

MINI CIVIC FEST rolled out for

in Bangalore.

ORGANISATIONAL CHARTS

UCB ADVISORY GROUP

URBAN DESIGN PRACTICE

175

New thrust into producing

World Class

CITY-SYSTEMS FRAMEWORK

BALA JANAAGRAHA PARTNER SCHOOLS

of Bangalore

JAAGTE RAHO!

8000 AREA VOTER MITRAS

submitted translating to 35,000 new voters come Lok Sabha Elections, 2014

trained and on the ground in preparation for Lok Sabha elections.

held by Community Policing programme in Q3.

IChangeMyCity.com Crossed

3000

REAL LIFE CIVIC ISSUES

resolved on www.ichangemycity.com at a resolution rate of over 50%. Crossed

17000

REGISTERED USERS

IPaidaBribe.com Crossed

4 MILLION USERS 10 PARTNER COUNTRIES

for www.ichangemycity.com at the Google Impact Challenge for India.

Empowered and Legitimate Political Representation

TECHNOLOGY

PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT

Janaagraha Document Management System – Sharepoint

Rs. 30 Lakh donation of Microsoft and Adobe product from

PROOF BUDGET BRIEFS VANARPET CORPORATOR

in appeal to Commissioner for higher allocation.

Migration of

to Microsoft 365 Cloud.

on www.ipaidabribe.com in Q3.

referenced by

GLOBAL IMPACT AWARD

Transparency, Accountability and Participation

APPLIED RESEARCH PROGRAMME Completion of

CROWD-SOURCED RETAIL BRIBERY INDEX (C-RBI).

HRVM 37 VOLUNTEERS engaged in the quarter from over 20 colleges.

Janaagraha TEAM SITE

held to transform our neighbourhood.

NASSCOM BIG TECH FOUNDATION

4

NEW DONOR PARTNERSHIPS formed totalling

Rs. 3.5 Cr.

Improving urban quality of life through the city systems approach  
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