Seminar explores challenges of India’s emerging megacities

Participants from all orders of government in India, as well non-governmental organizations, compare case-studies on how to manage megacities in India.

A two-day seminar on India’s megacities was held in Bangalore recently by the Forum of Federations, the International Academy for Creative Teaching, and India’s Inter-State Council Secretariat in support of the work of India’s Commission on Centre State Relations.

More than one fourth of the Indian population lives in cities, out of which nearly one fifth resides in four megacities.

Key questions were posed by the seminar’s participants. How is the emergence of these large urban agglomerations affecting India’s federal arrangements? Are existing institutional mechanisms effective? How are these megacities financed? Finally, what role can non-governmental actors play in facilitating governance and contributing to public policy co-ordination?

Responses to these questions by experts and participants resulted in everyone leaving with a better understanding of how federal arrangements in India help or hinder the process of megacity governance.

Although definitions of "megacity” vary, general use defines it as a metropolitan area with a population greater than 10 million. India has three undeniable megacities (i.e., Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata), with other urban corridors or agglomerations in the running (e.g., Lucknow-Kanpur, Bangalore-Mysore, and Hyderabad-Secunderabad).

The seminar brought together over 40 people representing all orders of government, the non-governmental organization (NGO) community, and academics from across India. Practitioners included representatives from several urban areas and all orders of government. Ravi Dhingra, Secretary of the Inter-State Council Secretariat, S.D. Sharma, Adviser to the Commission on Centre-State Relations, and A.Ravindra, former Chief Secretary of Karnataka and Chairman, Bangalore Development Authority were among those in attendance.

The overall objective of the project is to provide a comparative analysis of the management of megacities in India through case studies. Case studies provide insight by revealing existing inadequacies and options for institutional reform with respect not only to service delivery, but also the redesign of existing institutions. The findings of the seminar will be published as an edited volume in mid-2009; it will be edited by Sandeep Shastri and Rupak Chattopadhyay.

The seminar was held in Bangalore on Oct. 20-21, 2008.

Back to Events