Kasturirangan Committee Executive Summary

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A copy of the Report of the Expert Committee on GOVERNANCE IN THE BANGALORE METROPOLITAN REGION AND BRUHAT BANGALORE MAHANAGARA PALIKE, aka Dr. Kasturirangana Committee report is now available online. You can download the entire document from the KUIDFC website(pdf 1.87 MB), or alternately from here. (optimized pdf 1.35 MB). Posted here is the executive summary.


C H A P T E R - 1 Executive Summary 1.1 The Expert Committee on Governance in the Bangalore Metropolitan Region (BMR) and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) also known as the Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation recognizes the need for a paradigm shift from the previous policy focus on city level urban local government to a metropolitan level institution to enable better strategic planning and co-ordination, and to address Bangalore’s multiple challenges.

Metropolitan Governance (Chapter – 4) 1.2 The failure to set up a Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) is a continuing breach of the requirements of the 74th Constitution Amendment Act, 1993 (74th CAA). With a view to enable comprehensive planning for a contiguous region which faces similar growth pressures, the State Government must first set up the MPC for the Bangalore Metropolitan Area (BMA). The MPC must include the territorial area presently covered by the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) (about 8000 sq. kms) and this area must be declared as the BMA. This area will include the three revenue districts of Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, and the recently formed district of Ramanagaram. 1.3 Further, in order to give adequate representation to regional interests and the various elected local bodies in this vast territorial area, the MPC should have 63 members. 42 out of the 63 members shall be elected while the remaining 21 shall be nominated. 31 members will be elected from the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and 11 will be elected from rural local bodies. These members shall be elected from 3 electoral segments comprising (1) Corporators of BBMP, (2) Councillors of the other urban municipalities and (3) the Chairpersons of the 314 Gram Panchayats, 12 Taluk Panchayats and 3 Zilla Panchayats. As the MPC is a Committee envisaged under the 74th CAA, the election to the Committee should be conducted by the State Election Commission, Karnataka. The term of office of an elected member may be co-terminus with his holding of the elected office. 1.4 Out of the 21 seats for nominated members, 10 may be provided for MLAs, MLCs and MPs. In order to facilitate the alignment of political momentum between the state and city government towards metropolitan governance, the Committee recommends that the Chief Minister of Karnataka should be the Chairperson of the MPC and that the Mayor of the BBMP should be the Vice Chairperson. The remaining 9 nominations may be made from categories listed below:

  1. A representative from the manufacturing industry;
  2. A representative from the service industry including IT;
  3. A representative from Trade and Commerce;
  4. A representative from the Real Estate Industry;
  5. An individual with recognized expertise in Environmental affairs;
  6. An individual with expertise in education / health;
  7. An individual of high professional recognition in urban planning including fields such as Architects and Town Planners;
  8. An individual with Legal Expertise;
  9. The Metropolitan Commissioner, who will also be the Member-Secretary of the MPC, who will be a person not below the rank of Principal Secretary to Government of Karnataka.

1.5 Any individual nominated by the State Government vide categories 1 to 4 should be first proposed by the appropriate recognized state or national associations and their tenure on the MPC should not exceed three years. Members nominated vide categories 5, 6, 7 and 8 above shall have a term of three years. The tenure of the MLAs, MLCs and MPs shall be coterminus with their term of office and shall not exceed three years. 1.6 The entire MPC shall meet at least twice a year while a core Executive Committee and various subject committees may carry out the work of the MPC through the year. The MPC may have subject committees on areas such as water and sanitation, environment, transport and social sector issues. The Executive Committee should meet frequently to review progress on all fronts and give its report on proposals to be examined and endorsed by the MPC. Relevant governmental organizations may be drafted into the appropriate sub-committee of the MPC to ensure coordination. 1.7 The BMRDA Commissioner shall be the Member–Secretary of the MPC and the BMRDA shall be the permanent secretariat to the MPC. The BMRDA should function as the technical and administrative arm of the MPC, which will be the metropolitan level political institution. The BMRDA’s role as a metropolitan level regulator and planner must be strengthened and it should no longer be directly involved with project implementation.

Planning for the Bangalore Metropolitan Region (Chapter – 5) 1.8 The MPC should be invested with both planning and co-ordinating functions. To be an effective co-ordinator, the MPC should be vested with the necessary executive powers by law and regulation to perform this role. The MPC should be given the statutory power to review and suggest changes and in certain cases, overrule plans of the ULBs on issues which have a regional significance. 1.9 To enable the MPC to carry out a co-ordinating and integrating role, we need to put in place a clear hierarchy of planning institutions and plans where the Metropolitan Development Plan (MDP) under the MPC should override all other plans developed by other state functionaries and local bodies in the metropolitan region. This institutional hierarchy whereby the MPC is conferred with the overall decision making power must be established in the statutes to be drafted for creation of the MPC in Karnataka. Related statutes such as the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961 (KTCP Act) and the Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority Act, 1985 (BMRDA Act) should also be amended to accommodate the primacy of the MPC. 1.10 Further, it is necessary that the MPC has a review function in regard to the plans prepared by the BBMP, other ULBs, and BMRDA and sectoral plans prepared by other statutory bodies. Such a power is already available with the BMRDA. The Committee recommends that this particular power should be suitably amplified and vested in the MPC rather than the BMRDA. The Committee further recommends that since the MPC is a politically representative body where the State Government is represented, it is not necessary for the regionally coordinated spatial plan for the BMA (Master Plan) to be referred to the State Government, for formal approval. 1.11 For this co-ordinated planning to take place, land use planning should be integrated with economic, social and environmental planning. Further, the democratically elected urban local government should be given overall control over the use of land within their territorial jurisdiction subject to the guidelines of the MPC and MDP. For land use planning to be successful and effective, the MPC must be vested with the power to control land use. To enable the MPC to determine overall land use in the metropolitan region, section 95 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 (KLR Act) needs to be amended to divest the State Government Revenue Department functionaries of this power, and vest it with the metropolitan level government. 1.12 In the rural areas, the powers of the Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) to grant development permissions must be restricted to the Gram Thana areas after a survey is conducted by the BMRDA to demarcate such areas. Further, in these areas as well as other rural areas, the powers of the RLBs to grant development permissions should be regulated and restricted by the BMRDA. Relevant laws such as the KTCP Act, the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961, KLR Act and the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, 1993 should be amended to provide for the same. The BMRDA should establish a network of local planning offices in the various regions of the BMR. 1.13 The power to create a Master Plan, within their respective jurisdictions, under the KTCP Act should be conferred on the BBMP and the other ULBs in the BMR. For the areas in the BMR which are governed by rural local bodies, this power may be conferred on the BMRDA which will be accountable to the MPC. This would mean that no further Local Planning Authorities are necessary in the BMR. Further, Sections 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the KTCP Act should be amended to confer enforcement powers on the ULB and the BMRDA for their respective jurisdictions. 1.14 Two institutions in the BMR viz; the ULBs and the DPC may be given overall responsibility for economic and social planning under the guidance of the MPC. The ULBs in the BMR should prepare City Level Development Plans (CDPs). The CDPs may be given a statutory basis and all parastatals operating in ULB jurisdiction would have to comply with these plans. Planning for social and economic advancement in other areas of the BMR which is not under the jurisdiction of the ULBs insofar as it is falls within the purview of the district sector, should be done by the concerned District Planning authorities under District Planning guidelines; however, these plans need to get integrated into the overall MDP to be prepared by the MPC. Further, sectoral planning, cutting across the BMR, having regional implications will have to be carried out by the parastatal organizations and departments of government and overseen by the sectoral divisions within the BMRDA and approved by the MPC. 1.15 The introduction of capital investment planning and budgeting is absolutely essential to establish a rational system to mobilize institutional resources on the one hand, and ensuring that capital creation matches income necessary to operate and maintain the investments, on the other. The capital budgets of these institutions must be approved by the MPC. By empowering the MPC with the statutory authority to periodically monitor and enforce these plans, we will provide an institutional framework to streamline financial planning in the BMR. 1.16 Finally, it is critical that district jurisdictions and ULB and RLB jurisdictions be streamlined so as to ensure a coherent planning framework. A new district of Ramanagaram was created in August 2007 by splitting the southern part of the erstwhile Bangalore Rural District. The Bangalore Urban District, for the most part, includes the BBMP, apart from Anekal TMC and some adjoining rural areas. The Committee feels that Bangalore Urban District, in order to reflect its urban character may be confined exclusively to the BBMP area. Therefore, Anekal TMC and the other rural local bodies in Bangalore Urban district may be merged in Bangalore Rural or Ramanagaram district in an appropriate manner. The Committee on Taluk Reorganization, set up by the State Government may look into this suitably. Moreover, the Zilla Panchayats (ZP) in the BMR can then be reduced to two districts i.e., Bangalore Rural and Ramanagaram and the planning functions can be integrated to the MPC.

Reorganization of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation) (Chapter – 6) 1.17 The 74th CAA 1993 mandates that there shall be an independent third tier of local government for urban areas but does not specify the institutional character of this level of government. Hence, State Governments have some liberty in choosing an appropriate institutional form depending on local conditions. 1.18 It is felt that the challenge of governance in a complex metropolis like Bangalore requires a new leadership paradigm which guarantees political and administrative dynamism and stability. The Committee is of the view that a directly elected Mayor will fulfill this requirement and recommends that the BBMP should have a Mayor who is directly elected by the people with a fixed term of 5 years. The term of 5 years for the Mayor will allow him/her to emerge as a politically accountable leader at local government level with a democratic mandate comparable to political leaders at other levels of government. It is also recommended that the Mayor should be vested with executive powers of the Municipal Government 1.19 The Mayor should be assisted by a Mayoral Committee not exceeding 8 members (excluding the Mayor), chosen by the Mayor, from among elected and nominated councillors. These members may be given delegated subjects such as Finance, Projects, Municipal and Social Services, Administration, Planning etc., by the Mayor. Further, the Mayoral Committee must be recognized as an authority under the Act with requisite powers. Important decisions taken by the Mayor would have to be ratified by the Committee. The tenure of the members of this Committee shall be co-terminus with that of the Mayor. 1.20 The Corporation Council must retain a strong deliberative and scrutiny function but should no longer be vested with the executive powers of the municipal government as these should be vested with the Mayor. The number of wards and Councillors must be increased, in keeping with the increased jurisdiction as determined by the delimitation process and this should be provided for in a new BBMP legislation. The number of nominees may be fixed at 10% of the total number of elected members and the nominations may be from ‘persons having special knowledge and experience in municipal administration or matters relating to health, town planning or education’ as presently set out in Section 7(b)(i) of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 (KMC Act). Further, the provision to nominate ‘social workers’ in Section 7(b)(ii) of this act should be deleted. 1.21 In order to maintain the status of the Municipality as a self-governing institution, it is critical to ensure that only Councillors get to vote on decisions affecting the Corporation. Hence, the Committee recommends that the provisions of Section 9 of the KMC Act should be suitably amended to provide for this. With a directly elected Mayor, the role and the number of Standing Committees needs to be redefined. BBMP Committees must hereafter play the role similar to Legislative House Committees viz; to evaluate the functioning of departments and provide policy guidance. As the Mayor will no longer be eligible to participate in the Corporation Council, the Corporation shall elect a Chairman of the Council who will act as the presiding officer of the Corporation. The term of the Chairman shall be co-terminus with that of the Corporation. 1.22 The Commissioner of BBMP should be selected by a high powered Search Committee set up by the State Government in consultation with the Mayor. The Search Committee may advertise for the position by specifying the qualifications and experience necessary for the job and invite applications from as wide a spectrum as possible. The Mayor may appoint any one of the candidates short listed by the Search Committee, after due process. The Commissioner’s role should be redefined in the new, proposed legislation for BBMP, so has to make him responsible and accountable to the Mayor and the Corporation. The power of the State Government to direct the Commissioner or the Corporation to provide records or take particular actions (as currently existing in the KMC Act) does not appear to be necessary and needs to be deleted. However, the State Government should have the power to give directions or dissolve the Corporation in times of emergency. The Commissioner shall have a tenure of three years. 1.23 The creation of the enlarged BBMP must be accompanied by effective and meaningful decentralization of decision making and municipal service delivery. A comprehensive activity mapping exercise should be carried out to define the functions to be performed at each level of the BBMP: Ward, Zone and Head Quarters. Therefore, the BBMP legislation should be revised to accommodate these activities and give suitable functions to the Committees formed at each level. 1.24 Furthermore, at the Zonal and Ward levels, political authorities should be created which complement the administrative structures already created in order to facilitate appropriate decision making and implementation. The BBMP area may be divided into 8-10 zones each comprising about 20 Wards. A Zonal Committee which consists of the Councillors from each ward in the Zone must supervise service delivery and project implementation in the Zone and should be given the power to issue directions to the Zonal Office of the BBMP. Also, Ward Committees must be reconstituted in an effective manner. Each of these Committees should be constituted in every ward by elections as well as through nominations, by a wide range of stake holders including educational institutions and neighbourhood organizations. 1.25 Finally, Government must set up Appellate Tribunals to resolve municipal taxation and service disputes, and a Municipal Services Commission to recruit municipal employees for all the ULBs in the State. Suitable provision must be made to this effect in the new BBMP legislation and amendments carried out in the KMC and KM Acts.

Restructuring Parastatals (Chapter – 7) 1.26 The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is a pre-eminent statutory authority which has a significant impact in the BMA. It is recommended that the developmental mandate of the BDA should be enlarged so that it may function beyond its present jurisdiction and take on the role of a metropolitan level infrastructure development agency. Further, Section 2C of the BDA Act must be amended to give the BDA jurisdiction over the entire BMR. This re-oriented BDA, with its focused developmental mandate with enlarged jurisdiction, may be reconstituted as a Company under the Companies Act. Wherever ULBs develop plans and projects to be funded by them, the BDA may execute projects on a contractual and commercial basis or execute some projects on a preferred agency basis as is presently the case with BWSSB. The BDA must be divested of its planning and regulatory functions which will be transferred to the BBMP / BMRDA. 1.27 Additionally, the planning and policy orientation of the BMRDA should be re-emphasised. The BMRDA should be given overall regulatory authority over land use and suitable amendments to Section 9 of the BMRDA Act need to be made, so that BMRDA’s authority to develop spatial plans overrides existing legislations like the Karnataka Land Revenue Act and the KTCP Act. In order to facilitate this, the BMRDA should develop a new model of staffing so that a significant proportion of its employees are experts drawn from outside government on a contractual basis in order to attract the best available talent. 1.28 The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s (BWSSB) jurisdiction should be enlarged to cover the whole metropolitan region. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) should then be established under the joint ownership of the BWSSB and the BBMP to manage the retail distribution of water supply in the BBMP area while maintaining BWSSB’s present mandate on water source augmentation, sewerage and waste water management. Later, operations and maintenance of sewerage (UGD) can also be handed over to the SPV. 1.29 In order to develop an adequate response to the serious transport issues facing the BMR, it is essential that the newly created Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) be strengthened by giving it a statutory basis. Further, the BMLTA must operate as a wing of the MPC/BMRDA and be accountable to it. The MPC should review its functioning periodically and endorse the plans prepared for comprehensive infrastructure and integrated urban and peri-urban transport systems. The BMTC’s jurisdiction should be extended to cover the BMR. It is critical for BMLTA to also undertake short term measures that alleviate the serious traffic problems confronting the city today.

Financial Issues (Chapter – 8) 1.30 The MPC should prepare a Metropolitan Budget which reflects the capital expenditure of key infrastructure components and also sources of revenue. Such a Budget will be based on the plans and budgets of the various agencies and the MDP to be prepared by the MPC. The Budget can be prepared by BMRDA and approved by the MPC and placed on the floor of the State Legislative Assembly. The Urban Development department of the State Government should present the case of Bangalore before the State Finance Commission (SFC) to secure additional sources of revenue so as to make the BBMP a fiscally strong institution. 1.31 The Committee recommends that the financial powers of BBMP must be reviewed comprehensively to provide for maximum autonomy. The present requirement of referring proposals to the State Government to incur expenditure above a certain threshold is cumbersome and unnecessary. The proposed new legislation on BBMP must provide for adequate financial autonomy in line with ULBs of similar size / stature, across the country.

Social Service Delivery (Chapter – 9) 1.32 The MPC and the BBMP should reorient their organizational focus and policy to undertake comprehensive poverty alleviation programmes, with special emphasis on the plight of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SCs/STs) and other marginalized sections within the city. They should also streamline service delivery in the fields of education, health and housing. These institutions should develop an ‘Urban Indicators Database’ so that the deficits in service delivery may be bridged by effectively targeted programmes. 1.33 The education policy with respect to State Government schools within the BBMP area requires review. The State Government should accept and implement the recommendations made by the Administrative Reforms Commission and the BBMP should accept the same. All primary, secondary and high schools presently administered by the State Government within the BBMP jurisdiction should be transferred to the BBMP. Further, the funds allocated for the capital and revenue costs for running these schools must be transferred to the BBMP. Additionally, the BBMP should explore a participative model of administering schools so that parents and neighbourhood communities emerge as key stakeholders in the administration of the municipal school system in Bangalore, analogous to the School Development and Monitoring Committees in operation in other parts of the State. 1.34 To promote public health, the MPC and BBMP must commission a large public health survey to establish baseline indicators on its status in the BMR. Also, the BBMP must evaluate the wide scope of public health activities it presently undertakes and eliminate all such activities which are better done by the State Government such as the running of referral hospitals. Instead, the BBMP must focus on preventive and promotive health strategies that have a significant public health impact. There is an urgent need for the BBMP to appraise the present approach to solid waste management which has become an area of serious and overarching concern and it is recommended that the BBMP set up a separate wing to undertake this task with suitably qualified technical personnel. Further, regular medical doctors should not be diverted from mainstream medical/ public health duties and made responsible for solid waste management activities. 1.35 Despite there being several governmental agencies active in the housing sector, there is no coherent policy and co-ordination between these various actors. Hence, the BBMP must be given overall power and responsibility to provide adequate housing to the urban poor and to upgrade slums as provided under the XII Schedule to the Constitution. Land Use planning and developmental permissions should be aligned to meet these objectives. To facilitate the same, the BBMP must be given the responsibility and the resources to carry out slum redevelopment activities. Any functions performed by the Karnataka Slum Clearance Board in the BMR must be under the overall direction of the BBMP and the MPC. 1.36 The Committee recommends the setting up of an “information infrastructure” unit as a permanent feature of the planning functions of the BMRDA as well as the BBMP. There is a compelling need to ‘connect’ with people on an ongoing basis, especially to explain the complexity of various issues that relate to urban governance. This unit may use effective visual communication to illustrate various development initiatives undertaken in the region. 1.37 The Committee also recommends the widening and deepening of egovernance models within BBMP for better and more efficient service delivery. Given the vast spread of the city and numerous activities, the BBMP would do well to establish a Citizens Service Portal which would be responsive and interactive and effectively address the needs of the citizens. 1.38 The Committee feels that the ULBs should become more responsive to people’s basic needs and be more sensitive to public opinion. All ULBs and other government institutions operating in the BMR should have a system that facilitates voluntary disclosure of information relating to their policies and programmes from time to time. Further, these institutions should establish a public interface to communicate the relevant information and obtain a feed back about their own performance. The Committee recommends that such interface should be promoted through institutional mechanisms rather than ad hoc arrangements which may be perceived as being non – representative or exclusive in nature.

Road Map for Legislation (Chapter – 10) 1.39 The legislative sanction for the creation of the MPC should be brought forth in the BMRDA Act. The BMRDA Act should be re-named as “Bangalore Metropolitan Area Planning Act” (BMAP Act) and the nomenclature “BMR” in the definition section should be replaced by BMA. In view of the extended mandate proposed in this Report for the MPC, it should be designated as the Bangalore Metropolitan Area Planning Council (BMAPC) (Metropolitan Council) and its creation, size and composition should be spelled out in a separate chapter in the proposed BMAP Act, replacing the sections dealing with the composition and membership of the BMRDA. 1.40 The BMAP Act may provide for a separate executive arm of the BMAPC to be called the Bangalore Metropolitan Planning Board (BMPB), which will be headed by the Metropolitan Commissioner and will have technical, administrative and financial divisions which will be manned by suitable personnel with requisite qualifications and experience. The BMPB will be the Secretariat of the BMPC. It will also have branch offices in the BMA for carrying out the enforcement functions. 1.41 The BDA Act should be renamed as the Bangalore Metropolitan Development Authority Act (BMDA Act). Section 2(c) of the BDA Act defining its jurisdiction as the BMA should be amended to provide for the jurisdiction of the BMDA to include the entire revised metropolitan area in the BMAP Act. Therefore, provisions relating to regulatory control (Section 67) should to be deleted from the BDA Act and correspondingly introduced in a proper manner in the new BMAP Act. 1.42 There should be a separate new legislation for the BBMP (to be called the Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation Act) so as to remove it from the purview of the KMC Act. This is necessary to accommodate the far reaching reforms proposed by the Committee and to provide for the vastly expanded jurisdiction of the new BBMP. 1.43 Further, necessary changes should be carried out in the BWSSB Act in accordance with the jurisdiction and responsibilities set out in Chapter VII of the Report. It could be renamed as the Bangalore Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Board (BMWSB) Act. 1.44 Several other state legislations i.e. KTCP Act, KLR Act, Karnataka Land Reforms Act, etc., must be amended to accommodate the streamlined planning hierarchy and development mandates proposed by this Report. 1.45 In view of the substantive and simultaneous legislative changes involved, these amendments must be drafted in a consistent and careful manner, so that they can be taken forward for approval by the Legislature in one go. As the objectives of the proposed amendments have been clearly laid down in the present report, the drafting of necessary amendments could be done in a period of three months, by entrusting the task to a suitable agency.