Today, just over half of the world’s population lives in urbanized areas. India is urbanising at a rapid pace with urban population rising at a much faster rate than its total population. The level of urbanisation has increased from 17 per cent in 1951 to 31 per cent in 2011. The urban population in India, which was nearly 377 million in 2011, is poised to grow to 600 million by 2031. Urban areas contribute 62-63 per cent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is estimated to reach 75 per cent by 2030.
Such a rise in urban population implies increased demand for goods and services and efficient urban planning, management, and governance systems. Therefore, addressing urban development and transformation, urban inequalities and bringing in suitable reformation within the urban governance system to address these changes is undoubtedly India’s most important political and intellectual challenge
Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Rajasthan are also heavily dependent on funds from the state and central government.
These local bodies also have limited capacity to raise resources through their own sources of revenue and taxes and are all working under severe financial constraints. Every year during budget presentation, the state government announce several schemes and policies for the upliftment and development of infrastructures in the urban sector. But often the Audit report shows that most of these schemes are stuck midway due to lack of adequate funding. (Refer CAG Report No.3 of 2020 – State Finances, Government of Rajasthan) The inability of ULBs to raise resources has limited the growth of municipal income.
Strengthening urban local governments through capacity building and better financial management and enlightening the officials of instruments like municipal bonds that can come to their aid to raise resources for financing long term projects such as infrastructure development is a must. Besides supporting them with training workshops and conferences related to urban issues like effective management of water supply, solid waste management, public transportation systems, and marginalized social and economic groups are very much vital.
CUTS is working towards improving urban governance in Rajasthan through its various interventions and also has a MoU with Department of Local Self-Government, Rajasthan for capacity building of elected representatives and officials of ULBs since 2016.
In this series of initiatives, CUTS is implementing a project ‘Improving City Governance through Enhancing Knowledge of Urban Local Bodies in Rajasthan’ with the support of Australian High Commission, New Delhi. Under the project, capacity building workshops will be conducted in selected four municipal corporations on various topics in consultation with relevant departments.
- The directional objective of the project is to “foster knowledge, information and capacity building about issues like solid waste management, urban public transportation system, water supply and financial instruments like municipal bonds within ULBs in Rajasthan”.
- The development objective is to “enhance a knowledge about vital topics related to urban governance in selected cities within the project State and to ensure effective functioning of these bodies”.
- Experts demand to set up municipal regulatory authority in Rajasthan
Voice of Jaipur, June 01, 2022