With a vision to facilitate a bottom-up approach to urban planning, the 74th Constitutional Amendment in 1992 heralded the devolution of select rights and responsibilities to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). While the 74th amendment has been partly successful in creating a system of decentralized governance, the pace of devolution is observed to be slow and inadequate. The slow pace of reforms coupled with the rising demands of service provision, owing to rapid urbanization, has had an adverse impact on the quality and reliability of key municipal functions such as delivery of reliable and affordable drinking water supply and management of solid waste.
In order to overcome this, several initiatives have been undertaken in recent times by state and local governments and innovative models have been developed in the last decade to improve the conditions of service delivery in these sectors. Some of these include – community led models in urban areas such as SWACH in Pune, Nidan in Patna and Vellore in Tamil Nadu, among others; government led initiatives in Suryapet, Namakkal; initiatives implemented through public private partnerships as in Guwahati and Delhi, among others. Despite these initiatives, inadequate sources of municipal finance, over-centralization of key public functions, and lack of adequate technical & managerial capacities within ULBs have prevented municipalities and city corporations from fully leveraging the benefits of devolution.
As a response to this, there is renewed emphasis among policy makers on the need for building the requisite managerial, institutional and scientific capacities within ULBs. This involves creating capacities among municipal representatives to design and implement projects; manage and generate finances through innovative instruments such as Municipal Debt, Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and Land Monetization, among others.
Given the above context, Athena Infonomics in collaboration with the British High Commission is organizing a one day workshop, with a focus on creating awareness on the various elements that are critical to improve service delivery in the Municipal Solid Waste Management sector. Titled ‘Strengthening Participatory Approaches in Municipal Solid Waste Management in Madhya Pradesh’, the workshop intends to present recent developments in the sector, and hold detailed discussions with various municipal representatives on the key issues plaguing ULBs in MSWM and help mobilize consensus among the participants (municipal commissioners, engineers, academics, civil society members and media personnel) on the way forward.