staff who left soon after. This consultancy route to local governance has not yielded the desired results.
Consultative Process: While there was an in-built provision for public consultations, they were done in a hasty and haphazard manner. The focus at all times was on quick drawal of funds for getting projects off the ground, rather than looking seriously at the processes involved. Most consultations were done merely as a procedural requirement rather than with any serious purpose or commitment.
Relegation of the City Master Plan: Comprehensive city planning is the hallmark of a master plan. The JnNURM ignored the strengthening of the master plan, a vital task, and embarked on solutions that apparently came out of public consultations, not necessarily from master plans. One often doubts the ability of the common citizen to comprehend or recommend technical solutions to complex city problems. In the name of public consultations, vested interest groups have also found their way in.
Inertia for Reform: Provision of finances for projects were used as a lever to tactically make states undertake reforms. The reforms mandated were: implementation of decentralised measures as envisaged in the 74th Amendment Act, repeal of urban land ceiling laws, reform of rent control laws, rationalisation of stamp duties bringing it down to 5 per cent, enactment of public disclosure law and community participation law, and assigning the town planning function to urban local bodies.
In reality, many reforms either did not happen or took place only on paper. States carried out reforms only because they got funds, not that they had any serious commitment towards implementing them. Even these reforms are not complete. A review commissioned by the Central government is quite revealing on several of these counts.
Vacant Houses: Under the Basic Services for Urban Poor component of the mission, thousands of housing units for the poor have been built. However, most are lying unoccupied. The reasons are quite easy to comprehend. These houses being on the outskirts of the cities, have no access to schools and no proper connectivity to the parent city. As a result, people would opt to stay