October 2018

In this edition of Policy Scan, we bring to you some policy decisions that are worth emulating across Indian cities. We share articles on Bengaluru's new advertisement policy and importance of empowered city leadership, along with op-ed pieces on gaps in climate change mitigation plans in Indian cities, and the poor state of State Finance Commissions.

India's Cities Without Ownership.

The 74th Constitution Amendment Act envisaged urban local bodies as “institutions of self-government” with empowered mayors; however, this is scarcely followed. The lack of a single point of authority with clear ownership is derailing our cities as this institutional arrangement does not allow for a single point of accountability. V R Vachana, Senior Associate - Advocacy & Reforms, Janaagraha writes for EPW on the challenges around and the way forward for creating empowered and legitimate city leaders in India. Read the full article here 

Should There be a Ban on Hoardings?

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has passed new advertising policy to prohibit all commercial hoardings and banners within the BBMP jurisdiction. The only allowance on public roads is for signage that communicates on-premise use and activity. This policy marks a welcome move to promote advertisements only serving 'public purpose'. Swati Ramanathan, Chairperson of Jana Urban Space Foundation and Co-founder of Janaagraha writes that Bengaluru’s zero-hoarding policy will hopefully trigger advertising reform in other cities as well. Read the full article here.

Why Most Indian Cities Don't Have a Climate Change Plan in Place?

India has been ranked as the sixth most climate change-vulnerable country by the Climate Risk Index 2018. Dealing with current vulnerabilities and projected climate change impacts needs innovative thinking and participatory planning and action. This article cites Janaagraha's ASICS 2017 report to explain how gaps in governance are inhibiting the ability of cities to mitigate climate change. Read the full article here.

The Missing Case of Financial Devolution.

Many states have not been setting up their State Finance Commissions (SFC) every five years as Constitutionally mandated after the 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts of 1992. There are cases where the recommendations of an SFC have neither been formally accepted by the State government, nor was the SFC report laid before the State legislature. Hence, there is a case for the Fifteenth Finance Commission to institutionalize the devolution process to PRIs and ULBs. Read more here

We look forward to your comments and suggestions. Please write to us at asics@janaagraha.org

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