From garbage woes to water problems, Bengaluru faces myriad problems of urbanisation each day. And a new survey now says that the garden city is bottom of the pile when it comes to systematic governance affecting public service delivery.
The city ranks 16 in a list of 21 cities which were surveyed by Janaagraha, as part of their Annual Survey of Indiaâ€™s City Systems.
In fact, in the span of a year, Bengaluru has dropped 4 places from 12 in 2015 to 16 in 2016. Even though the overall score for the city in terms of urban planning, resources, transparency and legitimate political representation did not change, other cities like Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Raipur and Ranchi have caught up, leading to Bengaluruâ€™s drop in ranking.
This does not mean that other cities in India are equipped to manage urbanisation. The survey, which is based on 83 different parameters like Municipal acts, laws and policies, government reports on the public domain and budget documents, states that Indian cities score between 2.1 and 4.4 out of 10.
Essentially, the survey states that Bengaluru scored low in a list of cities ill-equipped to handle urbanisation.
â€śThe major issue plaguing Bengaluru is the absence of spatial development plans that actively include citizensâ€™ inputs. Although the BDAâ€™s master plan caters to regional and municipal-level policies, ward-level policies are absent, which makes implementation of the master plan difficult,â€ť said VR Vachana, Associate for Advocacies and Reforms at Janaagraha.
Another problem faced by Bengaluru is that it lacks competent personnel to implement developmental policies and more importantly, the absence of policies to check violation of existing policies, the survey states.
â€śBengaluruâ€™s major source of revenue is property tax and only 1/10th of the property taxes are collected. The city does not have alternative revenue streams like stamp duty collection, professional tax and entertainment tax unlike other cities, and only 47% of the revenue is actually collected,â€ť Vachana said.
Bengaluru's civic administration heads keep changing and in the last five years, the BBMP has had seven different Commissioners. In addition, a weak mayoral system, where the mayor is appointed indirectly with a term of one year is also a reason for inadequacies in urban development, the survey states.
â€śCities like Bhopal, Dehradun, Kanpur, Lucknow, Raipur and Ranchi elect their mayors directly for a term of five years. If a municipal head changes every year, by the time the official gets a hang of the cityâ€™s condition and starts implementing policies, another new mayor is appointed. This is one of the reasons why Bengaluru is systemically ill-equipped to manage urban development,â€ť she added.