Maharashtra ranks second after Odisha on urban governance index according to Mumbai-based Praja Foundation
Odisha ranked first, and Maharashtra came second in terms of good governance, according to a survey conducted across 28 states and 40 cities in India. Published by Praja Foundation, a Mumbai-based think tank, the report studied urban governance reforms over three years (2017-2020) in 40 cities across 28 states and the national capital region of Delhi. Praja Foundation has been conducting data-driven research on civic issues for the past two decades.
According to Urban Governance Index 2020, which was published on Wednesday, the top five states for urban governance are Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland performed the worst. For its report, Praja mapped the status of urban reforms across four themes — empowered city elected representatives and legislative structure; empowered city administration; empowered citizens; and fiscal empowerment. None of the top five states scored more than 57%, with Odisha scoring 56.86%.
Milind Mhaske, director of Praja Foundation said, “All the cities we surveyed in are not adequately empowered to provide citizens with the quality of life that they can benefit from. That was the main reason why we started mapping across the country for this index.”
Praja Foundation’s report ranked Mumbai, with a score of 55.15%, first for fiscal empowerment of a municipal corporation and second for empowered citizens, and empowered city administration. The city came in at the 10th spot for empowered city elected representatives.
Maharashtra is the only state where councillors are given allowances and dedicated staff for their office, and the only state where the city’s government has constituted all the committees mentioned in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act (1888). Also, these committees meet at least once a month. Mumbai specifically has adequate fiscal empowerment since its civic body has independent authority to introduce new taxes, change tax rates, and approve its budget. However, 33% of posts in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) lie vacant.
Regarding fiscal empowerment of BMC, Mumbai has the highest percentage of its sources of revenue at 81%. The city has eight employees per 1,000 people in the city, which is the second-highest in the country after Panjim in Goa.
Despite many urban governance schemes, no state has devolved all municipal functions, which means municipal bodies remain dependent on the state for its funds and decisions in many areas. To improve the levels of empowerment of city governments, Praja Foundation’s report suggested Maharashtra ensure that the mayor’s term is co-terminus with that of the city government (five years). The mayor should also hold executive authority over the municipal commissioner along with the authority to appoint a chairperson of the standing committee that makes financial decisions for a city, said the report.