Comparing two recent national urban missions, Swachh Bharat and Smart Cities, it becomes evident that local governments that enjoy full devolution of power, in terms of funds, functions and functionaries, can achieve objectives most efficiently. Time to call that into focus, as the nation faces a grave public health challenge and containment zones within cities become key to controlling spread.
The current narrative around COVID in India has established the Centre and states as the main actors battling the pandemic. However, cities have been the epicenters of action and local governments play a pivotal role in mitigating the crisis. And of course, the choices made by citizens are going to determine the outcomes we see in the coming weeks.
The report submitted by the XV Finance Commission for 2020-21 recommends a substantial increase of close to 30% in grants available to ULBs, but to avail these, they must notify minimum rates of property tax, show improvement in revenue and submit audited accounts. Take a look at the detailed recommendations.