India’s Urban Planning – Chaos theory

Creative Commons License photo credit: bernardoh

For the past three years, I have been participating as well as watching the circus of urban planning in Mumbai and have been periodically amused, angered and staggered by the brainlessness of the process and the people. Some observations (broad strokes)

1. The entire governance is totally centralized. The Britishers had a master-slave relationship and obviously, they kept all decision making in the hands of a few. Today, in an independent India not only have we maintained the centralization, but with our innate suspicion, added labrynths and labrynths of layers of permissions and rules and sub-rules.A school teacher’s appointment in a small village around 500 kms from Mumbai would be ratified and initiated by Mantralaya.

2. The Urban Planning process is initiated and arbitrated by Civil Servants. Now, an IAS officer whose main subject in the exam may have been Mathematics or Sociology or similar will pass one UPSC exam and become an expert in all topics of nation running and building. He would one day be the chief of Railways or of Human Resource or Mining and be expected to run the future of millions of people depending on the same. And he would be transferred to various departments and without any pre training expected to become nation’s greatest expert in that subject. So, the Urban Planning of Mumbai will be decided by this / these EXPERTS.

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About the Author

Mayank Gandhi Mayank Gandhi serves as the Secretary for the Remaking of Mumbai Federation (RoMF). Mayank has worked with various NGOs such as Agni (a governance NGO in Mumbai) and Shri Anna Hazare of Bhrashtachar Virodhi Andolan. He has been instrumental in the development of several laws and movements in India, such as: the Right to Information Bill of Maharashtra, the law of transfers of government servants, the Nagara Raj Bill (an urban parallel of the Panchayati Raj) and drafting an amendment in the housing and urban policy of Maharashtra.