UNDERstanding Indian Urban Governance REFORM: A comparative analysis of the Smart City Mission reforms and their impact on sustainable urban mobility

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Institute for Transport Studies

Abstract

This research has two primary aims. The first is to develop cutting edge, theoretically informed, insights into the nature of mobility governance reform and the potential to generate more sustainable urban mobility in India. The combined pressures of a growing urban population, increasing urban sprawl, and rapidly rising income, coupled with inadequate public transport, lack of coordinated infrastructure, and increased motorisation have placed huge and unequal burdens on India's urban areas. This has resulted in highly congested roads, poor air quality, high pedestrian casualty rates and poor accessibility and quality of life particularly for the urban poor. In this context, redesigning urban mobility governance has been identified as a critical element of progress in delivering more inclusive and economically, environmentally and socially sustainable cities in India (MoUD, 2006, MoUD, 2015 and NITI Aayog, 2017).

Efforts to reform urban transport governance, primarily through the bolstering of local level capacity, have been underway in India since 2006 but with limited affect due to lack of meaningful delegation of authority and financial power. However, in 2015 the Indian national government launched the Smart Cities Mission, aimed at going beyond what has been achieved before at the local level. The focus of the initiative is to promote 'cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens' through the application of 'Smart' Solutions (MoUD, 2015, p5). Within this context then, this research uses the Smart Cities Mission as a major opportunity to understand the aims and processes of transport governance reform and the extent to which these reforms are capable of achieving a significant improvement in the mobility system. To this end, the research will undertake a qualitative comparative analysis of previous and planned reforms in four of India's designated smart cities; Jaipur, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar and Bangalore. The research will characterise governance arrangements and governance reforms across each of the four cities, and in using the multi-level governance framework to guide empirical analysis, will be innovative in developing this framework within a non-Western context. The research will also trace the impacts of governance reforms through to impacts on the economic prosperity and quality of life of citizens through analysing changing processes and outcomes. This is essential if we are to move beyond identifying problems to understanding how to overcome them.

The second aim of the research is to bring together, develop and inspire a community of researchers and practitioners to advance the study and understanding of mobility governance across India and between the UK and India. The research will be bottom-up in its approach; working with WRI India, the project will engage practitioners in the four cities from the outset to ensure the findings are as meaningful as possible. The interview protocol will be co-created with stakeholders and the data collection informed by the key challenges of urban mobility governance identified by stakeholders through exploratory workshops at the start of the project. A study visit to three UK cities that have experienced different levels of transport governance reform will be held for stakeholders from each of the four 'smart cities' to learn lessons from the UK experience and draw on practitioner expertise. A special session of the World Conference on Transport Research in Mumbai will also be convened to bring practitioners into dialogue with scholars at the forefront of research on transport governance in India and beyond. The project will also convene a 'summer school' in India for researchers to develop their research methods, theoretical perspectives and networks in relation to transport governance and reform. These activities will build both professional and research capacity to address future transport governance challenges.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit and how?
At a national level in India, the key beneficiaries will be the Ministry of Urban Development, which has oversight of the Smart Cities Mission, Niti Ayog (Planning Commission), the Ministry of Information Technology and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Of particular importance will be understanding what the key barriers to governance reform are on the ground, what aspects of the reform are making a positive difference and why and which are not.

At a state and local level, the agencies of local government in our case study cities that are grappling with implementation will benefit from the creation of a forum for exchange between cities, direct input into barrier identification, participation in a study visit to sites of governance reform in the UK (with Indian national level actors) and through the process of developing practical guidance for future governance reform. Our aim is to develop capacity amongst the participating cities. We will also share the most important insights with other cities undergoing reforms but not part of the project through the networks already developed by WRI. These stakeholders include urban land transport directorates, urban metropolitan transport authorities, town planning departments, development authorities, municipal corporations and transport departments. Other governmental institutions such as the traffic police may also be important.

In the UK the key beneficiaries will be industry and consultancy groups working across the UK and India. Industry would be engaged through the Future Cities Catapult (where joint trade missions have already been facilitated) and the profile of participation raised through a joint meeting of the Indo-British and Smart Cities All Party Parliamentary Groups. A better understanding of barriers and opportunities and clearer cross-cultural understanding of the transferability of governance reforms (both ways) should ensure better advice is given and that proposals for joint working are established which better meet the needs of India.

How will they benefit?
Our strategy for engagement is based on developing and delivering a truly participatory research process on live reforms (Smart Cities Mission) that really matter. This will ensure the development of a credible and significant basis from which findings and recommendations emerge. Participants in the research will engage in regional workshops in month 1 (mapping governance structures and key issues - WP1), a combined workshop in month 3 (feedback on mapping and identifying key questions for interviews - WP1 to WP2), interviews (WP2), a study visit to the UK in month 11 (WP4) and a report back and interim findings workshop (WP4) in month 13 (WCTRS) and then a workshop to debate findings and draft recommendations (WP4) in month 21. Participation is, at each stage, designed to inform how the study is conducted, what is examined and asked and how it is interpreted. It is genuine co-creation and is designed to help overcome a known barrier of limited capacity to deal with institutional reforms.

Ensuring a Legacy
The impact plan is delivered jointly with a trusted partner for cities in the World Resources Institute. The WRI was set up specifically to bridge the gap between research and practice and to do so through capacity building and dissemination of knowledge. As the project is 24 months in duration, working with and through the WRI ensures both an existing pool of connected stakeholders much broader than the project team but also a longer-term legacy in terms of resources, debates and the opportunity for WRI to deliver future research and advice. This will principally be through TheHub (Solutions exchange for urban transformation of India) a free-access online capacity building portal meant to facilitate knowledge sharing, peer learning and collaboration in the field of sustainable urban transport and urban development in India (http://wricitieshub.org/)

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Bengaluru workshop September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The agenda of the workshop was to set a common platform for all stakeholders to discuss issues and concerns in connection to the urban governance reforms undertaken as part of the smart cities mission. A fairly even mix was witnessed with 31 participants from 19 organizations comprising of government agencies, NGOs, urban local bodies, public transport organisations and smart city consultants.

The project was introduced to stakeholders and an overview of the smart cities mission was presented. Detailed discussion on various aspects of governance reforms, and in particular the smart cities mission took place. Since Bengaluru was shortlisted in the smart cities challenge very recently, administrative works are still in the early stages. However, there is a positive outlook among many stakeholders. The stakeholders were curious to know more about the scheme. A stakeholder mapping exercise was conducted during the workshop. This would help in understanding the present governance structure in a more defined manner. Also, the stakeholder map would provide a comparable basis to understand the impact of the expected reforms under the SPV.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://underreform.org/first-stakeholder-workshop-for-bangalore/
 
Description Jaipur workshop September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Taking place on 14 September, this regional workshop aimed to better understand the role of SCM stakeholders and transport-related policy and decision-making. Participating organisations included the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA), the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC), the national Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Road Safety bodies, NGOs and academic institutions. The day raised interesting points of discussion offering themes to be considered as the research project progresses. Thirty-two individuals took part from various organisations. These included the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA), the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC), Jaipur Smart City Ltd (JSCL), the Town Planning Department, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the Government of India (GoI), Rajasthan Road Safety, NGOs, academic institutions and project partners IISc Bangalore.

Open-floor stakeholder contribution was followed by a panel discussion. The major focus of this discussion was transport governance and Jaipur's SCM, the fund's convergence and utilisation, SCM strategies and the organisations involved along with their roles and responsibilities. During this session, participants highlighted issues relevant at different stages of planning, implementation and enforcement.

Under Reform is concerned with how the SCM functions on the ground. For this reason, tensions between organisations, the professionals and politicians involved in setting up the SPV and selecting the SCM focus, and outsiders connected to the SPV will be a key future focus.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://underreform.org/jaipur-stakeholder-workshop/
 
Description Launch of project Twitter account 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Creation of a project Twitter account to disseminate project news and outputs and engage with audiences in related fields, including but not limited to funders, other researches and related projects, and stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://twitter.com/UnderReform
 
Description Launch of project website with blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A website was created and launched where visitors can find out about the project and through which news and project outputs can be disseminated. A project blog is to be housed on the site. Website stats will be monitored using Google Analytics, and a greater understanding of reach and impact will be possible as time progresses. The site will be closely linked with other dissemination avenues such as the project Twitter account.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://underreform.org/
 
Description National Stakeholder workshop, Delhi, September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Over sixty participants from various organisations joined with partners from the Under Reform project for this Smart Cities Mission (SCM) governance workshop in Delhi on the 18 September. The event explored the progress, challenges and transport-sector impact of SCM, with various questions being addressed during the presentations and round-table discussions.

The aim was to deliberate key issues related to India's Smart Cities Mission (SCM) generally and its impact on the transport sector in particular. This one-day event sought to explore: the progress of the SCM; major challenges in the project planning and implementation of smart cities in India; the sustainability of the SCM; the impact of smart cities governance reforms on the transport sector; the extent to which transport-oriented Smart City reforms affect policy trajectories and why; how SCM reforms have managed to deliver a new approach to transport planning and to the funding and organisation of transport delivery; neglected areas in the transport sector needing consideration and the evaluation mechanism of the SCM.

Sixty-one participants attended from organisations including MoHUA, IRSDC, ITPI, TCPO, The World Bank, NITI Aayog, CRRI, DTC and CSE, as well as Under Reform research partners from SPA Delhi, IISc Bangalore, WRI India and the Universities of Leeds and Birmingham.

Presentations on the case cities and the findings from local stakeholder workshops were presented by research partners from SPA Delhi and IISc Bangalore respectively, followed by a presentation on international experience and learnings by Professor Greg Marsden and Dr Louise Reardon. These suggested the necessity of viewing the SCM as part of a trajectory of reforms and understanding its performance within the context of that wider system of change.

An open discussion focused on the SCM governance reform, the roles of different organisations involved in this mission and the role of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). For the project, issues raised during the debate reinforced the importance of understanding the SCM as a case study of governance reform to understand the processes of change. This should provide both theoretical and practical insight for future reforms.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://underreform.org/national-stakeholder-workshop-delhi/