Reviving the long-standing debate on the city’s governance, civic commissioner Subodh Kumar admitted on Sunday that a directly elected mayor or a chief executive officer (CEO) would be good for the city.
Speaking on urbanisation and Mumbai at the India Economic Summit, Kumar said it was not too late for the city to look at an empowered mayor or a CEO at its helm. This, he believed, could help the city overcome its governance deficit.
Industrialist and managing director of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) Ajit Gulabchand triggered the debate during the discussion on challenges facing the city. He pointed to the various bottlenecks in getting clearances for a project and said the slow pace of the city’s development was because it was not directly under a mayor.
He said all Indian cities should, ideally, be led by a mayor.
“Mumbai has elected representatives but power lies in the hands of the commissioner, who is answerable to the state government,” Gulabchand said.
He said lack of direct governance and the vast number of agencies responsible for the city’s infrastructure development were hampering the city’s progress.
Kumar said he agreed with Gulabchand. He, however, pointed out that the Shiv Sena had tried out a mayor in the council in 1999, but it had proved to be unsuccessful and had to be withdrawn.