Tuesday, April 30, 2013

'privatising' urban policymaking?

While b.pac, is formed only few months ago in run up to KLA elections 2013, the links between some members of these groups go back over a decade to the 1999 - Bangalore agenda task force (batf). e.g., at least 2 members of b.pac were in batf.

Many individuals from non-profit groups being from corporate sector, they are likely to have links with industry associations such as assocham, ficci, cii, nasscom, fkcci etc.

This is an important and long standing affiliation for most of them and in many cases they are office bearers and /or representatives of these industry chambers at various forums.  

Similar industry associations with foreign countries like USIBC, prince of wales business leaders forum etc., also exist and have similar objectives.

But we need to examine in detail these groups / committees :- batf, janagraha, bcct, abide. Why is there such a need? because many of them are closely involved in preparing plans, policies, primers, legislation, guidelines and the identification and implementation of contracts and projects.They are also funded by private corporate sector and / or their foundations.

This seems to be part of an unstated strategy. This funding has been used to lobby and influence specific outcomes, profitable to sectors such as urban housing, urban roads, urban infrastructure, urban sector policy, regional urban planning, urban land titling etc.,

A change in the policy making process has occurred with politicians and bureaucrats recognising that the private (corporate) sector can have increased role in policy and planning with the influence of world bank, adb, dfid, usaid etc. The use of consultants such as pwc, kpmg, e and y, ipe, etc was facilitated by them through many policy, legislation and projects and now local consultants are also part of the same.

These non-profits now operate through a consensus in which they have aligned their objectives for a city's growth, the sectors which should grow and the 'stakeholders' who should profit from this growth at the city level. Similarly the future investment destinations, and new locations of manufacturing and services are also planned by the corporate investment interests with support from govt and the chambers.

Individuals in these also have common link with corporate funded non-profit sector. Some of these are bcct (f), iusf, janaagraha, b.pac, abide etc. Some of these seem to work in tandem.

They are also represented on various Union or state govt committees, such as infrastructure, investment, ppp, urban governance, affordable-housing, micro-banking, transport etc.

They are also ably supported by favourable media conglomerates who occasionally become their mouthpieces.

Why has this process, privileged and advantaged corporate local plans over the constitutional processes such as district planning committee, metropolitan planning committee and ward committees etc?

If the local and regional planning paradigm is to be framed by multilateral banks, bilateral funders and now corporate funded non-profits, it is almost as if the plans should be adopted by the MPC's / DPC's without proper deliberation, debate or discussion!

Why shd the constitutional framework be disregarded except for making them into rubber stamp authorities for plan approval?

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