Introduction

Planning and regulatory procedures
are generally required to incorporate control in land use development while conforming
to a master plan (Clarke, 1995). This also constitutes a legal and
administrative framework that regulates planning and development in the
interest of the society at large. In most of the cases, process of planning is
an interrelation of multiple government and privatized public-sector
organizations, which makes planning a pandemonium process of power and
political will. Implementations of planning regulations therefore, benefits
some while affects others.

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With increasing trends of
urbanization and rapid population growth, urban land use planning has become
one of the most important aspect of development control and regulations. The
purpose of an effective and just regulatory system, hence, becomes crucial to
maintain a balance between the public-private dichotomy as well as to execute
in the social and economic interest of the people.

Case of India

With a population of a little over
1.3 billion, India constitutes as one of the world’s densest democracy
comprising of 29 states and 7 union territories (Figure 2). Due to immense
urbanization and population growth in major urban areas, India is currently undergoing
challenges in planning and development regulations.

Evolution of the Indian Administration
System

Indian origin dates back to the Vedic period and the
Indus valley civilization which provides the basis of an organized urban life and
town planning system since the ancient period, as well as the existence of
local administration system wherein, an appointed officer was tasked to execute
various functions of city administration (Aijaz, 2007). Since then the Indian region
has been under the control of various sultanates and empires before the
establishment of the British colonial rule and has undergone multiple
transformations in its administration system as well as various shifts in the
distribution of power at the national and local levels.

The major change in the Indian
administration system was seen during the British rule wherein, the entire Indian
region was divided into various princely states that were each under the
supervision of a local ruler appointed by the British authorities who over-viewed
the administrative and legislative functions of their assigned region. The
system followed a centralized approach, in which the final authoritarian and
decision-making power was held by the British officials. However, this created
a number of issues in the inefficiency of managing all state and local level
functions which led to a shift in reforming the authority and change in the
power structure, thus, leading to the beginning of a decentralized planning
system. After gaining independence from the British rule in 1947 and the
formation of a federal Constitution of India, the administrative system
continued with the town planning system framed by the British while adapting to
a three-tier system of legislation with decentralization of power, authority,
functions and funds (Aijaz, 2007) at the Union, State and Local levels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every State thus, has its own
municipal act, empowered by the Central Government, that decides the functions,
structure and powers associated with the local governments (Aijaz, 2007) specified
within the system of the Five-Year Plans. Due to the varying character and
nature of difference between the urban and rural areas, the administrative
system at the local level is further divided into Urban and Rural legislations,
also called the Municipality and Panchayat, respectively (Figure 3). Under the
legislation of the Urban Municipality, three systems of legislation and
planning, i.e., District Council, Municipal Corporation and Municipal Council are
established which perform the administrative functions at the sectors of district,
city and town, respectively. At the urban level, the city area is further
divided into wards with respective ruling body appointed by the local
government to further regulate roles and responsibilities. Furthermore, the
Rural Panchayat embodies a three-tier system of administration, with the
Panchayat as the main governing body of a rural area, Tehsils being the intermediate
body of governance, while the Gram Panchayat functions within each sector at
the village level.

Along with the Constitutional
framework of legislation and assignment of various roles and responsibilities,
the legal administration in India follows the Common Law model that has been
prevalent since the British Rule, which administers regulations of social
justice in the country (Srikrishna, 2008). The model of legal hierarchy assigns
the major deciding power to the Supreme Court at the national level, High Court
at each state level and a District Court of Appeal at the local level. Therefore,
challenges at every level of the administrative system is addressed by its
respective legal body.

Administrative Framework for Planning
and Development

The Constitution of India assigned
various functions and responsibilities at each level of administration and set
up the main organizational framework in the planning regulations system of
India as illustrated in Figure 4 by Routray (1993). Planning Commission of the
Government of India and the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) were
established at the Union Government level that provide policy guidelines and
legislations for urban planning and development in the country at the national
level (Mahadevia, Joshi and Sharma, 2009) as well as state level funding to
undertake various urban development programmes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the State level, a Town Planning
Act undertaken by the Town and Country Planning Organization (TCPO) administers
a legal framework and is accountable for housing, governance and planning for
the respective state (Biswas, 2016) along with the department for Housing and
Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) that also aids the government on specific
issues of housing regulations. The members of the Town Planning department are mainly
responsible for the creation of Development Plans that outline the basic
land-use zones and formulates respective guidelines and policies to be followed
for development in each zone.

The Local Government, usually elected
by the people, undertakes planning and development for the urban and rural
regions, while also being responsible in devising city level plans as well as
issuing development permits and implementations (Biswas, 2016). Different
planning agencies at the local level adopt regulatory mechanisms pertaining to
the needs and requirements of the region. Thus, planning regulations and
development under local governments in India, varies depending on the region,
people, urban growth, and land use, among other various factors.

Land Use Development

Land in India has been
under private ownership since ancient times. There are two main urban land
development systems as described by Mahadevia, Joshi and Sharma (2009):

(1)  Land
acquisition System, that enables government agencies to purchase land from the
original owner against a fixed compensation, in order to develop the land for
public purpose

(2)  Land
pooling system, in which, land is redeveloped with infrastructure facilities
under the Town Planning Scheme (TPS) and returned back to the original owner that
proves as a favorable investment as the overall value of the land increases.

The States of Maharashtra
and Gujarat mostly comply with the Land Pooling System as compared to other
states that follow the Land acquisition system.

Planning and
Development in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region

Under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act (MRTP)
of 1996, the state of Maharashtra formed metropolitan regions to ease
governance and regulation as well as to divide the state level planning and
development functions between various local bodies. One such metropolitan is
the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) (Figure 5), India’s largest urban
agglomeration with an area of almost 4000 square kilometers, located on the
West coast of Maharashtra, consisting of five Districts (Figure 6), eight
Municipal corporations and nine Municipal Councils (MMRDA, 2016).

The MMR follows a polycentric governance system in which
multiple independent public organizations, at the local level,
are responsible for development and planning (Pethe, Gandhi and Tandel, 2011).
The two major organizations are the (1) Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai
(MCGM), which is the urban local body for the two districts of Mumbai City and
Mumbai Suburban, and (2) Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority
(MMRDA), which is the main municipality and planning body for MMR (ibid.).  

The governance of the MMR
region is under the administration of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional
Development Authority (MMRDA), established in 1975. The main responsibilities
as defined in the report published by MMRDA in 2016 include preparing, funding
and executing regional development plans, promoting infrastructure plans and
schemes relating to transport, housing, water supply and environment, providing
strategic frameworks for sustainable growth and improving the overall quality
of life for its people.

 

 

 

 

 

However, being a
polycentric governance system, a multitude of other agencies were also set up
such as the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), Slum
Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) under the housing departments, Maharashtra State
Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) for major infrastructure related projects
and several other Port Trusts, Airport Authority, National Highway Authority
and the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation for the state and local railway
development (Pethe, Gandhi and Tandel, 2011). Apart from these agencies, the
five districts under the MMR (Figure 7) have their own Municipal Corporations,
among which, the largest is the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai which
combines the two districts of Mumbai City and Suburban and has been undergoing
major land development in the urban areas since the last few years.

Municipal
Corporation of Greater Mumbai

Mumbai, the capital city
of Maharashtra, has witnessed high population growth rates and depleting land
resources since the last few years (Pethe, Nallathiga, Gandhi and Tandel,
2014). Mumbai, initially consisted of seven islands that were merged gradually
through land reclamation to form the current peninsula of almost 440 square kilometers
that is under the administration of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai
(MCGM). For ease of regulation and administration, the city has been further
divided into 24 wards (Figure 8) under the jurisdiction of the MCGM.

Since more than two
decades now, the MCGM, originally called the Bombay Municipal Corporation, has
been responsible for drawing out the city’s development plans that evaluates
land use development (Figure 9) and requirements for future use as well as
formulating development control regulations that provide terms and conditions
for expansion with regard to the overall benefit of socio-economic functions. Any
form of land use development undertaken by a public institution or developer
must conform to regulations set out by the MCGM as well as obtain necessary
permissions in order to proceed with development (Pethe, Nallathiga, Gandhi and
Tandel, 2014). The procedure and permissions required for preparing development
plans is briefly illustrated in Figure 10. These plans are prepared by the
local government bodies every 20 years and provide information on existing
conditions of land as well as proposals for future development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenges
in Planning development

Metropolitan regions in
India face major issues in the governance and regulation systems of planning as
most of the development is typically executed for the incentives of the public
and private organizations. Also, as seen in the case of the Mumbai Metropolitan
Region, a number of government agencies have overlapping powers which makes the
entire process of planning a conflict of political considerations (Pethe,
Gandhi and Tandel, 2011). Lack of citizen participation and fulfillment of
social needs along with poor management and maintenance system has led to
certain planning failures in the city of Mumbai. Widespread public discontent has
condemned the planning system as a market force rather than a public or social
aspiration.

Construction of Mono Rail

Due to the increasing population growth in the city of
Mumbai and rising need for infrastructure for transportation, phase 1 of the Mumbai
Monorail Project was launched by the MMRDA between the Chembur-Wadala corridor (Figure
11) in 2014 to ease traffic and congestion in the eastern parts of Mumbai. Built
at the cost of approximately USD 170 million, the 8.8 km long train route is mainly
perceived by the public as an oversight in planning efficiency and an
investment for real estate rather than public good.

With an expected rider ship
of atleast 2 lakh passengers a day, as predicted by the MMRDA, a handful of
only 17000 people commute through the Monorail (Rawal, 2017). The proposed
Monorail was supposed to be a 20km long corridor connecting Chembur to Sant
Gadge Maharaj Chowk (Figure 12). However, with the failure in the phase 1 of
the project and lack of cost recovery, the officials in MMRDA are reconsidering
the completion of the project.

The major reasons for the
failure of the monorail attributes to poor selection of route, absence of
commercial hubs in areas serviced by the system, expensive fare rates and poor intersection
with local suburban railway networks (Rawal, 2017). The Maharashtra state
legislature’s public accounts committee described this as a process of poor planning
and lack of judgement in the feasibility of the monorail as well as a waste of
public money (Gangan, 2017).

Thus, the planning
inefficiency is a result of lack of data and analysis by the local authority,
lack of public participation as well as failure to address the social and
transport needs without the perspective of an explicitly market gain value.  

Textile Mills to Commercial
and Recreational Centres

Mumbai, during the British rule was a
striving cotton textile market with a number of mills concentrated in the Lower
Parel area (Figure 13). After the decline of textile mills in the 1980s and the
prominence of Lower Parel as a commercial center in Mumbai, brought about a
transition in the land use of the mills to commercial buildings, residential
towers and shopping centres. However, the local infrastructure of the area
consisting of chawls occupied by original mill workers and their families as
well as the local railways station surrounding the area had not been improved.

Initial land use development proposals consisted of
rehabilitation and reconstruction of the chawls and dilapidated structures in
the area. Due to an influx of new professionals and urban populace, mill owners
distributed their mill lands to the civic bodies for investment in redevelopment
of low-cost housing and commercial activities. The local government bodies commission
private investors and developers to plan and redevelop these lands with full
autonomous power and without the interference of government bodies. However, investors
saw this as an economic opportunity and hence redeveloped these areas into
shopping complexes and commercial towers. The shopping complex, High Street
Phoenix (Figure 14) was one of the first redevelopment projects that saw the
transformation of textile mill into a buzzing shopping center.

A recent stampede in 2017
at the Elphinstone Road railway station (Chandrashekhar, 2017), sought the much-needed
attention of the government bodies to intercept and object the construction of
luxury projects. With planning and redevelopment focused on creating newer
towers and projects in the Lower Parel area, it failed to refurbish the
existing dilapidated infrastructure of the local railway station. Without the
influence of the government bodies and independent power to the private
investors, the planning of the Lower Parel area turned into a development for
market organizations and gains rather than fulfillment of basic public provisions
and requirement, as specified in the development plans and
regulations. The major public concern with the development plans and proposals
undertaken by the local government bodies is the failure in addressing housing
and transportation planning needs while emphasizing on creating increasing
numbers of office clusters and shopping complexes (Raje, n.d.).

Conclusion

Being a major destination
for migration due to its economic growth and popularity, the city of Mumbai has
been undergoing various development pressures since the beginning of the 20th
century (Nallathiga, 2009). This has led to a process of chaotic and haphazard
planning due to lack of management between various governing bodies and
disorganized approach to planning legislations. The different organizations,
although operate independently, have overlapping jurisdictions and therefore,
face issues of operation, coordination and execution among themselves which
then leads to political and social strife among the various agencies. This has
in turn, led to widespread planning chaos within the city. Planning processes
have thus, failed to give adequate attention in the integration of land use
with transport and environmental planning (ibid.). The main planning
inefficiency is the ineffective public participation in preparation of
development plans and proposals and lack of monitoring mechanism due to
inadequate arrangements and trained officials in the planning system
(Nallathiga, 2006). Also, master plans and development plans are typically
prepared for a period of 20 years which fails to assess the population growth
and change in public demands and provisions along with the transition in land
use that creates a mismatch of growth projections and societal needs (ibid.). Therefore,
for a country with such a large population and high population growth, planning
and regulatory mechanisms need to take stronger and well-planned initiatives to
control the and organize the planning and development.

 

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