Challenges

The city is in a mess. Changing it is a Herculean task. Wishing the problems away will not improve the situation but can certainly worsen it. In spite of sweating blood to earn a decent income our quality of life degenerates.  The water tax you pay gives you water unfit for human consumption, a water filter has become a necessity. That filter is an additional tax. Maintaining it, servicing it, it all adds up as a tax to you. If clean air, good roads, pure water and other basic amenities were provided to you, imagine how much additional cost you could save.

The BMC is supposed to perform three primary functions- planning, regulation and service. It has failed on all three accounts. Most of Mumbai is unplanned, with the growing population and influx of people remedial action is urgently required. The regulatory role of the BMC is almost as unsuccessful. Footpath encroachments, illegal land use etc are common cries in the city. Even in the service function the BMC is in disarray.

As the population grows, so does the pressure on the system. With so many needs and such few skilled resources how can we expect it to perform? Let us look at the urban realities that challenge Mumbai. It will also give us an idea as to why it is not possible for the BMC to perform at status quo.

Enormous Day-to-Day Challenges
Solid waste management – thousands of tons/day produced.
Water supply – quality and quantity.
Sanitation systems and treatment plants – very old.
Multiplicity of agencies
Ad-hoc measures of the past (MMRDA/MAHADA etc.) have created confusion of accountability.
There is a genuine technical skills issue with the BMC.
New ideas need new skills
PPPs/ Outsourcing/JV Agreements use complex contracts.
Creation and monitoring of Service-Level Agreements is difficult for the BMC.
Rapid economic activity
Urban growth is running faster than solutions can catch up.
Very little reliable data is being generated to track this.
Urban poverty issues
Multiple factors: land rights/ permanent and seasonal migration/ beneficiary identification.
Multiple institutional jurisdictions (example: basic services with local government; public distribution system/housing/education is with state departments).
Weak administrative systems
Weak human resources with minimal training.
Poorly designed Cadre and Recruitment Rules.
Dysfunctional internal systems – finance, land records, personnel etc.
Massive financial requirements
Rs 28,000 crores/annum for the next 10 years for urban infrastructure.
Minimal support from centre/states.
Rural-urban issues
Urban growth is primarily at fringes.
Complex Governance and equity challenges.

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