ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Too Little, in the Wrong Places-Mega City Programme and Efficiency and Equity in Indian Urbanisation

Mega City Programme and Efficiency and Equity in Indian Urbanisation Sanjoy Chakravorty The first major urban policy initiative announced after the government of India began the economic liberalisation process was the Mega City programme, directed by the ministry of urban affairs and employment. It is an attempt to shore up infrastructure in five of the six largest metropolitan regions in India (Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Hyderabad and Bangalore), using innovative financing mechanisms, and emphasising cost recovery. After detailing the political- economic background, the programme and its implementation, three critical questions are considered: one, is the amount of money being invested too little, and has it come too late to turn the situation around? Two, is the programme being targeted to the wrong cities? And, three, will the elite continue to remain beneficiaries, and the urban poor neglected? The answers to these questions raise doubts about the Mega City programme. Since the reforms will have to succeed in the cities (if they are to be durable), urban development policies must be considered with a view to sustaining efficient and, specially, equitable urbanisation patterns.

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