Skip to main content

India's "smart city" managers have little or no experience in urban affairs, lack technical competencies: Report

Mumbai
By Our Representative
Coming down heavily on the way Indian cities are managed, a new report has said that not only are they bogged with a huge staff vacancy – on an average 35% in the 23 metropolitan centres surveyed – what is worse, those who are responsible for running them, such as municipal commissioners, have little or no experience in urban management.
Pointing out that the “highest vacancy” found in Guwahati, the report, prepared by a Bengaluru-based high-profile NGO, Janaagraha, regrets, “None of the cities has cadre and recruitment rules that contain modern job descriptions covering both technical skills and managerial competencies for each role or position in the municipality.”
Called “The Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) 2017: Shaping India’s urban agenda”, the report, around the time when the Government of India is seeking to push the implementation of its Smart City projects,  states, “Commissioners of cities do not possess adequate domain experience in urban management constraining their ability to deliver strongly”, adding, “On average, commissioners only have 2.7 years of experience in urban management.”
Bengaluru
Worse, the report says, “Medium-sized cities have commissioners with 1.2 years of urban management experience, whereas large and mega cities have commissioners with 2.9 and 4.1 years respectively”, adding, “Commissioners in Ludhiana, Guwahati, Dehradun, Kanpur, Ranchi, Thiruvananthapuram and Chandigarh have less than a year’s experience in urban management.”
According to the report, “While it is true that 15 out of the 23 cities have access to a municipal cadre, the underlying rules are quite weak.” As against “robust and modern HR policies, municipalities lack normative standards for job roles, and clearly defined job descriptions covering both technical skills and managerial competencies.
Pointing out that mayors and councils in India’s cities are “toothless”. The report states, “They don’t have full decision-making authority over critical functions and services such as planning, housing, water, environment, fire and emergency services etc.”
Chennai
“Mayors and councils also cannot hire and fire their own management teams, severely constraining their ability to exact accountability for performance from city officials. They have limited say when it comes to investing or borrowing monies or finalising budgets”, the report says.
The report underlines, “Only four cities assessed can borrow without the sanction of state governments (with a debt-limitation policy), of which one is a medium sized city and three are large cities. Only seven cities can invest without prior state government approval, of which three are large cities and four are mega cities.”
“Only 11 out of 23 have full independence in budget-setting”, the report notes, adding, “Of these 11, one is a medium sized city, six are large cities and four are mega cities. All of the above have resulted in the municipality becoming a glorified service provider, far from a local self-government or a city government.”
The report regrets, “Parastatal agencies like the development authorities (which cover planning), water authorities or boards (that cover water and sewerage), transport corporations (that cover bus transport) report directly to state governments and to different departments/ministers within it.”
Pointing out that lack of transparency is the hallmark of Indian cities, the report says, “We find that 19 of the 23 Indian cities assessed are neither mandated to nor release basic yet important data sets in an open data format.”
Based on its analysis, the report gives Pune highest marks, 5.1 on a scale of 10, followed by Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhubaneswar and Surat. Delhi ranks sixth, followed Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, while Bengaluru is ranked worse (3 out of 10). Even Bhopal, Jaipur and Patna rank higher.
However, according the report, out cities are “improving at a snail’s pace”, and their score between 3.0 and 5.1 is comparable with London and New York, which score 8.8, Johannesburg 7.6.

Comments

Uma said…
Not at all surprising. The babus only collect pay, which is from our money--with few exceptions--and the politicians who know even less, bully the ones who like to do something. A commissioner in Maharashtra might be suspended because he filed a FIR against a MLC for defaulting on loan payment without permission of the government!!!!

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.