Category Archives: Policy Watch

Talk by Prof Geetam Tiwari ‘Pro-poor Urban Transport Policy Towards Green Economy’

Presentation by Prof Geetam Tiwari on Pro-poor and Green (low carbon) Urban Transport at the UMI 2011.

This accompanies the video recording of the talk available in 2 parts at

Part 1

Part 2

Prof Tiwari talks about the nature of urban India which has seen more growth in the number of smaller towns than mega cities; the lack of attention on the transportation needs of the smaller towns; who are the urban poor and their preferred modes of transport; the need to support low carbon transport (non-motorized and public transport); why life cycle costs of infrastructure must be included in cost benefit analysis. Prof Tiwari points out that in the past few years attention has been only on technological inputs and not enough on NMT, PT or land use and shelter policies – that is to say, efforts so far have not been pro-poor.

Inclusive transport requires that attention be paid to non motorized and public transport, which are the preferred moes of transport of the poor. They are captive users becuase they have no other choice. They may shift to carbon intensive modes when they are able to, partly also because of hostile existing NMT and PT. Indian cities are already compact and mixed use, often by violating formal plans, and we should see how this can be formalized. The challenge is how to retain low carbon modes of transport for most of the population (as their choice) and how to effect the shift from high to low carbon modes for the smaller percentage who do use private motorized. Prof Tiwari presents case studies (Delhi, Pune, Patna) to see how modal share might change with improvements in PT, PT and NMT, and NMT alone. Prof Tiwari also presents a brief overview of govt policies on urban transport and orbanization over the last 6 decades and the link between shelter policies, slum rehab and transportation. She ends by saying that the investments in urban transportation infrastructure in the last decade has been neither green nor pro-poor.


McKinsey Report – India’s urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth

The introduction to this document says that MGI conducted a 21 month study to understand India’s urbanization, to identify what was holding back India’s cities and what policy changes could transform the situation on the ground.

The report makes recommendations which it says have the potential to add 1 to 1.5 percent to national annual GDP. For this, it says that 5 dimensions are important – funding, governance, planning, sectoral policies and shape (distribution of urban population).

It suggests that the funds for infrastructure development can come from monetizing land, higher property taxes and user charges, debt and PPP, and formula-based government funding.

Download India’s urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth, April 2010 by McKinsey Global Institute
(234 pages, 3.9 mb pdf)

The McKinsey Global Institute, established in 1990, is McKinsey & Company’s business and economics research arm.

Draft Approach Paper to the XII Plan

The XII Plan period is from 2012 to 2017. The Planning Commission develops an Approach Paper at the beginning of each five-year planning exercise. The overview in ‘An Approach Paper to the 12th Five Year Plan‘ states that

In preparing the Approach Paper, the Planning Commission has consulted much more widely than ever before recognising the fact that citizens are now much better informed and also keen to engage. Over 950 civil society organisations across the country have provided
inputs; business associations, including those representing small enterprises have been consulted; modern electronic and social media are being used to enable citizens to give suggestions. All State Governments, as well as local representative institutions and unions, have been consulted through five regional consultations.

Download ‘Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth: An Approach to the 12th Five Year Plan (Draft)‘ (1.4 mb pdf)


National Urban Transport Policy

The National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) was launched in 2006 by the Government of India Ministry of Urban Development.

Download NUTP (243 kb pdf)

Input on Urban Transport for XII Five Year Plan

The Planning Commission had constituted a working group under the Chairmanship of Dr. E. Sreedharan, MD/DMRC to make recommendations on urban transport for the 12th FYP.

10 goals have been identified for the 12th FYP, as follows:

  1. To create an effective institutional and Implementation framework that will manage the huge investments envisaged (average of about Rs 1 lac Crores per year) in the urban transport sector – today there is no single agency in the State or the city to manage the multi-component urban transport sector in an integrated and coordinated fashion;
  2. To build capacity of State and city officials and other stakeholders including civil society and media –today hardly any state or city has an urban transport professional on its rolls;
  3. To create facilities for walking and cycling in all 2 lac+ cities and State capitals – these are non-polluting modes that do not use fossil fuels and provide social equity;
  4. To develop an upgraded cycle rickshaw as an integral part of the city wide public transport network to provide the last mile connectivity – this is a non-polluting mode that does not use fuel and provides employment;
  5. To augment public transport (population figures as per 2011 Census):
    1. Introduce organized city Bus service as per Urban bus specifications issued by MOUD in all 2 lac+ cities and State capitals;
    2. Add BRTS @ 20 km/1 Million population in 51 cities with population> 1 Million;\
    3. Add rail transit at 10 km/ Million. population, start planning rail transit projects in Cities with population in excess of 2 Million, start construction in cities with population in excess of 3 Million. The estimated financial progress during the 12thplan period is envisaged at 25% of total cost;
    4. Expand rail transit In existing mega cities, @ 10 km per/yr. i.e 50 km/yr in 12th FYP;
    5. Provide Suburban rail services in urban agglomerations with population > 4 Million;
    6. Improve and upgrade Intermediate public transport vehicles.

6. To improve accessibility and mobility in cities through:

    1. Developing hierarchical road network in newly developing areas
    2.  To complete 25% of major road network in all 2 lac* + cities with missing links including opening up of dead end roads for better utilization.
    3. To improve and maintain road surface to the highest standards with good drainage. To regulate and coordinate Work of utility agencies. Today utility agencies do not hesitate in cutting up the road for their work as and when they like and leave it unrepaired or badly repaired.

7.  To provide grade separated entries and bye-passes for through traffic;

8. To improve road Safety and security against vandalism, crime and terrorism – introduce a system of safety audit;

9. To use technology for multimodal integration, enforcement and traffic management;

10. To promote innovation, research and development in guided transport; and to support pilot projects with 100% funding from Government of India.

Download the Report /input of the Working Group on Urban Transport (2.5 mb, pdf)

Urban Infrastructure and Services – Report of the High Powered Expert Committee

The High Powered Expert Committee on Indian Urban Infrastructure and Services, chaired by Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia, was set by the Ministry of Urban Development in May 2008 for estimating the investment requirements for urban infrastructure services.

The central message of the report is that urbanization is an inevitable outcome of the faster rates of growth to which the economy has now transited.  Urbanization is seen as a process that will support growth.

The Committee has made recommendations on how to deal with the challenges of urbanization.The Committee has projected very large investment requirements for providing public services to specified norms and also supporting the growth process.

The HPEC posits that the challenge of financing these investments is inextricably linked with the challenge of governing the cities and towns of India. The Committee has proposed a framework for governance and financing which will enable the municipal corporations, municipalities and nagar panchayats.

At the workshop on 29 Sept 2011, organized to discuss the findings of the HPEC, Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja while appreciating the report stressed the need for further capacity building in city governments and also expressed the need for supporting the informal sector, which is the major driving force behind the economic growth of a city.

The HPEC has asked for feedback from States and Cities on the report. The HPEC report and the deliberations on it are expected to pave the way for planning the next phase of JnNURM, or what is called the New Improved JnNURM (NIJnNURM) in the HPEC presentation.

Minutes of deliberations at Vigyan Bhawan, 29 Sept 2011

Urban Transport Parameters proposed under National Mission on Sustainable Habitat

Under the National Action Plan for Climate Change, the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat has been launched to cover various aspects which include better urban planning and modal shift to public transport.

Regarding Urban Transport, the objectives of the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat (NMSH) are

“To address the issue of mitigating climate  change by taking  appropriate action with  respect to the transport sector such as evolving integrated land use and transportation plans,  achieving a modal shift from private to public mode of transportation, encouraging the use of non-motorised transport, improving fuel efficiency, and encouraging use of alternate fuels, etc. To evolve strategies for adaptation in terms of realignment and relocation, design standards and planning for roads, rail and other infrastructure to cope with warming and climate change”.

As a first step towards implementation of theMission, MoUD has constituted a sub-committee for formulation of draft National Sustainable Habitat parameters on urban transport under the chairmanship Shri S.K Lohia, OSD (UT) and E.O. JS, MoUD. The terms of reference of this sub-committee are to propose National Sustainable Habitat parameters for urban transport that specially address the following:

  1. Development of Norms integrating measures related to Taxation, Parking and Congestion Charges, Public Carriage specifications and Service
  2. Norms to encourage public transportation
  3. Development of norms for Pedestrianization /Cycling
  4. Development of model regulations pertaining to registration of diesel propelled personal vehicles as per NSMH
  5. Model Regulations for  integrating Transport Planning (CMP) with  Master Plans
  6. Adoption of model regulations /norms by various States/UTs

The following Principles have been proposed for urban transport:

  1. Walk: Develop neighbourhoods that promote walking
  2. Cycle: Prioritize cycle networks
  3. Connect: Create dense networks of streets and paths
  4. Transit: Support high quality transit
  5. Density, Diversity and Compactness
  6. Shift: Shift to sustainable modes by using technology, regulating road use, parking and fiscal measures
  7. Urban Transport Fund
  8. Transport Impact Assessment

Parameters have been identified for each of these principles and as methods of implementation suggested.

Download Parameters for the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat – Report of the Sub-Committee on Urban Transport

Whither Plan C?

A recent op-ed by Planning Commission member Arun Maira in the Indian Express makes encouraging reading. But, is the work on the XII Plan actually following this third paradigm?
What are the ground level strategies to apply the principles of ‘localization, lateralization, learning and listening’ that Mr Maira talks about?


Some quotes from ‘It is time for Plan C‘ by Arun Maira in the Indian Express, 27 oct 2011

The consensus of all states in the recent meeting of the National Development Council was that we want growth and, even more, we want more inclusion in growth. It was also clear that we need a process to make the states and the Centre work together to solve common problems.
So far, we have considered two plans (or paradigms) for our progress. Plan A is a strong government above that lays down the rules. And makes sure everyone follows them. This is governance based on a power hierarchy. This paradigm is expressed in a strong Central government of a country, even in a strong CEO of a corporation. The problem is that the powers above often get it very wrong. Plan B is to leave it to the market — in which the interacting atoms (or individuals) will figure it out somehow. This too is not satisfactory. Because, in reality, some atoms know more than others and are stronger than others. They set the rules, and manage the system to serve their ends.

There is a third way however. This is Plan C for governance.

It is high time that pro-government types, and pro-market types came together to explore Plan C. Because Plan C is better suited to learning and adapting to complex phenomena that experts cannot fully understand and a world in which problems do not know state and national boundaries.

Many people consider a “Planning Commission” in the 21st century an anachronism. Therefore, India’s Planning Commission is considering processes required to plan and govern in a 21st century world in which many things are interconnected and people want a greater say in the way they are governed. Four principles of Plan C provide the architecture. These are the Four Ls: localisation, lateralisation, learning and listening.

The principle of localisation is founded on the realisation that “one size does not fit all.” And that, whereas there could be universal principles, there is not likely to be a single package of these principles with universal applicability. The packaging must be done by local communities.

The principle of lateralisation requires that lateral links be deliberately designed across boundaries. So that people coordinate laterally, rather than expecting a power above them to compel them to coordinate. Ostrom’s research describes ways to achieve lateral coordination without an overbearing coordinator above. Such lateral coordination is obtained by communities of shared interests and processes for collaborative decisionmaking.

The third principle is learning based on “systems thinking”. Systems thinking is an orientation that has been killed by overspecialisation. Experts live in “conceptually gated communities”. They know a lot about a little. And understand little about the whole. Processes for understanding systems must be applied to enable us to solve global problems that have been created by our fragmented views of reality.

The fourth principle is listening. Experts must listen to each other. But most of all, experts must listen to the real people. They must understand the language of real people.

This is India’s 21st century challenge. Mindsets and institutions are not easy to change, even after their “use by” dates. But change we must to realise our aspirations for a more inclusive society. New processes must be invented. Sixty years ago, our far-seeing Constitution created political democracy. Now there is a growing recognition of human rights that go beyond the political right to vote, to economic and social rights too — to livelihoods, education, health and dignity.


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