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Rapid City Assessments in Support of the City Challenge Fund (Ludhiana and Rajkot)

Publication date

Jan, 2005

Details

Report submitted to the World Bank

Authors

O. P. Mathur, Navroz K. Dubash, Kala S. Sridhar

Abstract

The rapid city assessments of Ludhiana and Rajkot address the need for urban reform, potential bottlenecks, triggers for reform, and the reform agenda. Several measures such as the growth of population and land area, service delivery, and current finances including debt, suggest a need for financial as well as institutional reform in Ludhiana. The major bottlenecks to reform in Ludhiana and Rajkot are seen to be institutional, and pertain to existing arrangements for water, sewerage and land use. Major triggers that could make the reform happen in Ludhiana pertain to changes in institutional arrangements for service delivery (privatisation in service delivery and public participation, and finances less of a trigger). It is found that the reform agenda in Ludhiana should focus on getting the institutional arrangements clear for the provision of water, sewerage services and land use. Further, management of finances is crucial once octroi is formally abolished.

In Rajkot, the study finds that the statutory and institutional structures were created on the principle of separate, distinct functional and spatial jurisdictions, with little recognition that there are important interdependencies, both functional and spatial. Furthermore, there is a need to revisit the statutory provisions. The finances of Rajkot Municipal Corporation are in an unsatisfactory state, despite surplus on revenue account and its ability to finance a part of capital expenditure out of its own resources. There is some long term thinking about the significant prospect of octroi abolition, and the related problem of ineffective property tax collection. Water accounts are most vulnerable and water pricing do not reflect the scarcity value of water, i.e., the economic cost.

Overall, it is observed that Ludhiana and Rajkot, as with other Indian cities, while growing, present potential for a number of changes in their urban management.

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