Friday, November 27, 2015

More on empowered elected Mayors for Indian cities

I have made the case for empowered and directly elected Mayors for India's largest cities here and here. The graphic captures the priorities of even the most well-intentioned and smartest non-political Municipal Commissioners of Indian cities. The priorities are clearly skewed towards the short-term and very little thinking and effort goes into the city's long-term growth. 
Ironically, it is the politics surrounding an empowered Mayor (how powerful that individual would be against the local legislators and members of Parliament, even the Chief Minister in the case of the metropolitan cities) that comes in the way of such a reform. This may prove insurmountable.

A compromise would be to have directly elected Mayors to head metropolitan development authorities, with a few critical responsibilities which involve co-ordination among many local governments and departments. They could include affordable housing, economic growth and job creation, and transportation planning. 

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