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Urban development strategy for Bihar: a management perspective

Bihar is among the least urbanised states in India with a level of urbanisation just above 10 per cent in 2001. This study suggests a four-stage strategy for the urban development of Bihar. The stages are

  • increase in the rate of urbanisation
  • increase in the resources of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs)
  • improvement in delivery of urban services
  • local economic development for employment generation in cities

This four stage spiral connects ULBs with the economic development of the state by assigning them the critical role of inducing urbanisation and employment generation.

Analysis of the four parameters of the development strategy shows immense scope of development for the state of Bihar. Some steps have been taken to empower ULBs in the wake of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act. but, the author says, substantial efforts are still to be made.

The author suggests that:

  • a greater fiscal autonomy is essential for ULBs to effectively discharge wider functional responsibilities assigned to them
  • reforms in the areas of accounting practices, information handling and technology will increase the efficiency of ULBs
  • possibilities of participation of private sector in the provision of municipal services should be explored

Pointing out that augmenting revenue of the ULBs is a major requirement, the author makes out a case for adequate charges for the services provided by the ULBs which will increase their fiscal independence. In future, the requirements of the ULBs would further increase, with the increase in services demanded and upward movement in the level of urbanisation. Therefore it is essential for the state government to think of ways and means of providing ULBs with sufficient fund.

The author also suggests that cities should be developed as urban hubs, providing employment opportunities, attracting migration and providing facilities.