Akhilesh K Prasad
The responsibility of urban development is shared between various public agencies, inclusive of quasi-governmental and parastatal organizations. The various agencies involved in urban development and their basic roles are as follows:
Urban Development Authority
The Urban Development Authority is responsible for infrastructure development, commercial projects, residential schemes, and amenities, rehabilitation of slums, preparation and implementation of master plans, eco-friendly schemes and transport systems.
Municipal Corporation or Municipality
The main role of Municipal Corporation or Municipality is that of maintenance and execution of plans and programs in coordination with the state government. It has jurisdiction over water supplies, construction and maintenance of public streets and its lighting, maintenance of the sewerage system and cleanliness and other such works.
Town and Country Planning Organisation (TPCO)
TPCO is an apex organization in the field of urban and regional planning and development. It provides knowledge, support and technical advice and assistance to various state governments, Ministry of Urban Development, development authorities, ULBs and other agencies. It also provides training, capacity building, appraisal and monitoring of central sector projects.
State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation
The responsibility of the State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation is mainly site selection and land acquisition, financial assistance to small, medium and large-scale projects, technical consultancy for projects, facilitation of government clearances etc.
Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd. (HUDCO)
HUDCO basically provides long-term finance for construction of houses or for undertaking housing and urban development programmes such as the development of new or satellite towns. The organization also manages government grants, venture capital and mutual funds with respect to the same. It promotes, establishes, assists, collaborates and provides consultancy services for such projects.
While the basic roles of these bodies are defined, there remain some issues that are an impediment to the objective of development. Some of these are as follows:
- The area of work of the aforesaid bodies is often overlapping. Consequently, there is a tendency to shift onus and shirk responsibility that in turn leads to haphazard and delayed implementation, and wastage of resources.
- The Coordination of all the agencies involved in a particular development initiative is an onerous task for the systemic lack of an efficient and effective inter-organization communication channel. Decision making at times becomes difficult and the planning may turn out to be contradictory.
- In the changing environment of urban development that promotes public-private partnership models, local bodies and other public agencies need to be updated to play the role of catalysts in the process of development.
- In many Indian cities, the development authorities also don the mantle of the planner. In a bid to meet physical development targets, planning concerns are often neglected.
In conclusion, the need of the hour is an efficient apex body that exercises financial control, co-ordinates the various urban development authorities and monitors the progress of development work carried out by such authorities, thereby minimizing conflict of plans.