Future Perspectives of AMDA
Emerging Urban Perspectives
The liberalization of the economy and the ongoing globalization process have made significant impact on cities touching, interalia, housing and land markets including participation of private sector in infrastructure investments and provisions with likely impetus on urban growth. This is likely to exacerbate many of the problems of our cities stressing further inability to provide efficient and equitable services and sustain a good quality of life. There is need, therefore, to draw up a road map that would deal effectively with the multifaceted issues and requirements of towns and cities in terms of Planning, Management and Governance.
To deal with this scenario, the Government took two significant initiatives as indicated below:-
- Enacted the 74th Constitution Amendment Act (CAA) as an important landmark in the process which advocates decentralization aiming at conferring a Constitutional status to the urban local bodies as the third-tier of the government with the objective of further empowering municipalities as units of local self-government. The Amendment provides a broad structure for organizing urban governance with an accountable and decentralized system.
- Launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in December 2005, with the aim of encouraging cities to initiate steps to bring improvement in the existing service levels in a sustainable manner. It envisages that in order to make cities work efficiently and equitably, it is essential to create incentives and support urban reforms at State and City levels, develop appropriate enabling and regulatory frameworks, enhance the credit worthiness of municipalities, and integrate the poor with the service delivery systems.
In the context of the above imperatives and within the framework of a long term vision, AMDA proposes to broadbase its activities further with thrust on the following areas:
Database on Municipal Governance
AMDA will develop a database system on municipal governance with a view to get grass-root feedback followed by an analytical research study about the decentralization process, to evaluate whether the 74th Constitution Amendment Act (CAA) has led to increased local autonomy, accountability, participation, transparency and effective service delivery. AMDA, by virtue of being an association of municipalities and development authorities, is amply suited to prepare a dynamic database on municipal governance, based on implementation of the 74th CAA by the States.
Information on Best Practices
Information on ‘Best Practices’ on local self-government deserves dissemination. AMDA would gather such information from secondary sources apart from its own initiative to invite entries on best practices from Municipalities and Development Authorities in the country.
There are many urban networks. Some are global, such as the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA). There are a few management networks, such as the CITYNET, and the International Centre for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI). Their usual functions include the promotion of local autonomy, holding of conferences on matters of common interest which have become important platforms for promoting international exchanges and sharing experiences. AMDA has not yet joined any of the international networks. Joining the network will benefit its member organizations to strengthen their capacity-building and will become an important component of cooperation mechanism and network for member organizations in the country.
Study of State Municipal Laws in India
There is no comprehensive compilation of State Municipal Laws in the country available highlighting the commonalities and variations in their provisions. Some organizations such as National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), All India Institute of Local Self- Government (AIILSG), Administrative Staff College (ASC), Hyderabad and Regional Centers for Urban Environmental Studies (RCUES) have taken an initiative of listing a set of commonalities and variations in various municipal legislation’s of some States, but none have done it on an all-India basis. Such a compilation of State Municipal Laws is essential in the context of monitoring the implementation of mandatory reforms, as envisaged in Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The study will compile State Municipal Laws in 30 States in the country, capturing variations among the States (excluding five States where urban local bodies do not exist) with regard to structure, composition, duration, functions and financial domain.
Capacity-Building and Training
Upgrading the skills of the officials of Municipalities and Development Authorities involved in various processes of urban and regional planning development, urban service delivery and infrastructure, urban transport, poverty alleviation and urban environment to equip them with the latest development on the subject.
Within the ambit of its thrust areas, some of the tasks envisaged are as follows:
Some of the areas of researches in the current context relate to:
- Studies undertaken for some States where urban corridors are emerging as the new geography of urbanization for assessment of the issues, stakeholders, conflicts and their resolution
- Researches for an approach for managing multi-municipal urban agglomerations
- How best to secure participatory governance and the organizational arrangements and process to secure the same
- Researches on Decentralization process achieved under Municipalities focusing on the implementation of the 74th Constitution Amendment and provisions under JNNURM as well as conformity laws of the State and Central Government time to time.
The Urban Advisory Group, besides its assigned role should act as a think-tank at a national level in AMDA to provide an interdisciplinary platform for exchange of ideas between planning and policy-making to abridge the gap between research and practices in the Development Authorities and Municipalities as envisaged in the Memorandum of Association.
The tasks relating to Database to be taken up by the Resource Centre include:
- Expanding its documentation capacity and develop it as a self-contained unit of technical wing which can assist in chain of operations from information generation to dissemination.
- Enhancing the effectiveness of information delivery channels and to enable the maximum use of indigenously generated operation in development activities.
- Developing the database on municipal governance containing comparative information on composition, structure and form of representations of municipal and development authorities, which can be accessed and utilized by officials, elected representatives, researchers, and NGOs.
- Developing the database touching (1) Municipal Authorities and Committees (2) Functional Domain of Municipalities – extent of decentralization (3) District Planning Committees and Metropolitan Planning Committees (4) NGO and citizen participation in urban governance.
- Setting up of a collaborative arrangement with different institutions e.g., RCUES, Institute of Social Sciences etc. for collection of relevant data.
- Evolving an organizational structure for the AMDA resource centre as an effective institution interacting closely with like-minded organizations.
The task will mainly focus on:
- Institutional development – legal and regulatory changes
- Organizational development – changes of processes and practices
- Human resource development – upgrading skills
- Institutional development encompasses the legal and regulatory changes that have to be made in order to enable organizations at various levels to enhance their capacities. It embraces such issues as regulations, capacity of government agencies and municipal authorities, legislative controls, the ability of local governments to form partnerships with private enterprises and community organizations etc.
Organizational development requiring changes in processes and practices needed across government, local authority departments, private sector enterprises, NGOs and Community groups. It focuses on management practices and procedures, rules and regulations.
Human resource development entails the generation of awareness of “quality of life” and of opportunities and possibilities for individual development and achievement. It includes motivating people and providing opportunities for individual creativity, advancement and development.
A compilation of case studies of development initiatives will be undertaken that have successfully achieved their intended goals and made a significant contribution to improvement in governance and implementation practices. AMDA aims to highlight such initiatives, facilitate inter-temporal and inter-state comparisons and encourage their replication in other parts of the country. AMDA proposes to share these experiences through discussions, publications or direct participation that facilitate such exchange of ideas.
The idea of building up a Corpus Fund with contributions from interested institutions has already been approved by AMDA General Body.
The organizational structure envisaging three broad areas of professional activities encompassing knowledge management, urban resource center and capacity-building, and training need to be ope-rationalized.
This has since been approved as per the rules already notified. Efforts will be made to set up State level Chapters to pursue the aims and objectives of AMDA
Will be vigorously pursued for increasing the membership of AMDA comprising Municipalities and Development Authorities having due regard to the number of Municipalities and Development Authorities in the country.