Category Archives: Blog

On the 5th of January, 2014, B.CLIP students went on a site visit to the CNR Rao circle underpass near IISc. Mr. B N Vishwanath, an independent auditor at the JNNURM, walked the students through how an infrastructure project is conceptualized, and why they often fail or get delayed.

Field Trip Part 1: CNR Rao Circle Underpass

On January 5, B.CLIP students went on a site visit to the CNR Rao underpass near IISc. Mr. B N Vishwanath, an independent auditor at the JNNURM, walked the students through how infrastructure projects are conceptualised, and why they often fail or get delayed.

This project sits on an arterial path in Bangalore, and it was planned with the aim to ease vehicular congestion and facilitate easy movement of traffic between Mekhri circle, Malleshwaram and Yeshwantpur. The underpass leads on one side to National Highway 4 which links 20 districts of Karnataka.

This is a project taken up under the national Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme and was sanctioned as a turnkey project in early 2008 at the cost of about 30 crores. Stipulated to be completed in 10 months, it is now fast approaching 60 months since project start. With many months and years of inactivity, there is breakneck progress in the work over the past three months and the underpass is set for full use in the next few weeks.

The B.CLIP Class x DressHead Women’s Wrapped Mini Dress in Ribbed Knit Fabric

Sometimes simple makes the most dramatic fashion statement. That is the case with this The B.CLIP Class x DressHead Women’s Wrapped Mini Dress in Ribbed Knit Fabric. Its simple design draws attention to the best parts of the female figure, and creates an outstanding, feminine look that you will love. The dress features long, close fitting sleeves, and was created into a sheath style garment. The scooped neckline features a chiffon insert that has a band of jeweled embellishments around the neckline. Hidden pockets appear on each side seam. The hemline of this dress ends just above the knee. It closes in back with a long, hidden zipper. This dress is made from a velvety soft synthetic fabric that has the same look and feel of silk, but that is much easier to maintain. The hemline ends just above the knees. This The B.CLIP Class x DressHead Women’s Wrapped Mini Dress in Ribbed Knit Fabric is available for purchase in the color black.

Mukul Asher1

Mukul Asher on Public and Municipal Finance

Takshashila councillor Mukul Asher talks about Bangalore, public finance and urban governance in his interview with DNA. This was on the sidelines of his lectures on public finance, municipal budgeting and a review of BBMP’s budget for students of the B.PAC Civic Leadership Incubation Program (B.CLIP).

Speaking on the role of the programme, he said that B.CLIP can provide economic literacy to future politicians, enable them to ask the right questions and improve policymaking from the ground up.

Q: It’s agreed that Bangalore is in a mess. The most difficult thing to get out of a mess is to find a starting point. What can be a starting point for Bangalore?

A: Out mindset is still that we are largely a rural country. But India is rapidly urbanising. By 2040, the majority of the population will be urban. Yet, we have not given enough focus either on a policy level or in terms of governance structures or resource raising to urban issues. We find that Bangalore is not so unique in the Indian context. It is also not so unique in terms of middle income countries. For example, a city like Jakarta has many similar types of issues. It is not just one thing or one factor or initiative that will bring about a change. There should be a much higher priority for urban issues. And the urban management and urban accountability/transparency need to be aligned. We still have state governments who appoint municipal commissioners. Mayors have very little power. So, the time has come to rethink as to how we create an urban governance structure where there is a sense of responsibility, accountability and transparency. Multiplicity of agencies, the split relationships between states and urban bodies on one hand, and states and the union government on the other, are all leading to fragmentation of responsibility and the way resources are allocated. We now need a more integrated and newer ways of addressing urban problems. This is going to take time, but the debate has to begin. In the meantime, for municipal corporations like the BBBMP here as well as in other cities, there is a need to make them a lot more professional and provide them with the backup support that they need in terms of technologies, financial and budgeting system, so that we can begin to get better urban outcomes.

The full interview can be read here.

Bangalore 2011-12

The growth of Bangalore

The city of Bangalore grew from about 5.7 million people in 2001 to 8.7 million in 2011. Earlier, the official city area was 226 square kilometres under the erstwhile Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) which expanded to 716 square kilometres in 2007 with the creation of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike.

However, these area numbers only reflect the official administrative boundaries, and are not always reflective of the organic growth of cities in various directions. Below are two land use images from ISRO’s Bhuvan portal of Bangalore from 2005-06 and 2011-12. Built-up area in the region is marked in red.

Bangalore 2005-06

Bangalore 2011-12

Visit the Bhuvan portal for higher resolution maps and the full map key.

In the period of five years, Bangalore has grown in area mostly only on the southeastern side. It has grown considerably along Hosur road, forming a continuum between the city, spanning electronic city until the edge of the state boundary. The bulk of the rest of the growth has happened along the southeastern section of the outer ring road.

Just like administrative boundaries influence governance, organic boundaries of changing land use bring in their own influence. Those who seek to govern Bangalore may need to think along two lines: how can administrative boundaries adapt themselves to reflect changing realities; and how to govern these areas when the boundaries remain rigid.

This was a part of Pavan Srinath and Saurabh Chandra’s lecture titled ‘Introduction to the Bangalore Municipal Ecosystem’ to B.CLIP students on December 7, 2013. Adapted from The Transition State blog on the Indian National Interest.

Further reading: Karthik Shashidhar finds that Bangalore’s fastest population growth rates were actually in the 1940s and 1970s.

Image: Frontline

Urban planning in India

We decry the lack of planning in India, both in our cities and elsewhere. This often leads to the idea that  culturally and historically, Indians have not been very good planners.

Image: Frontline

Image: Frontline

Above is the plan of ancient city of Dholavira, in present day Kutch, Gujarat. A bustling city of the Indus valley civilisation over 4600 years ago, Dholavira is evidence that Indians have been planning cities for millenia. Our failures in planning modern cities are but recent ones and can certainly be turned around.

This was a part of Nitin Pai’s lecture on ‘What is a city?’ to B.CLIP students on December 7, 2013.

Dandaniti, the rule of law

The most fundamental concept in politics and governance are the concept of a State and the rule of law.

The story goes that in prehistoric times before any political institutions came into being, people lived by obeying the ‘law of the jungle’, which was essentially every person for himself. You could enjoy your freedom to the extent that your strength and power could allow it. This is also referred to Indian mythology as matsyanyaya, or the law of fish – where the little fish is eaten by the big fish which is eaten by the bigger fish.

Image: devdutt.com

Image: devdutt.com

Evolving out of this, people decided to surrender some of their rights, especially the right to violence – in order to protect the rest of their rights. They surrendered these rights to a State, a political entity that enjoys a monopoly over violence. These states can be of any type – a monarchy, republic, democracy or any other form. Modern India is both a republic and a democracy.

The complementary concept is that of the rule of law, or dandaniti. The notion is that a common set of laws and rules applies to all people, and that no one – not a minister nor a government functionary is above it. And the highest aspiration of anyone in political life ought to be to obey the rule of law as well as enforce it.

This was a part of Nitin Pai’s introductory briefing to B.CLIP students on December 6, 2013.

For more on this, read:

The Origins of Political Order, by Francis Fukuyama. [Google Books]
Nitin Pai on Reading Arthashastra on the rule of Law.
Save the Small Fish, by Devdutt Pattanaik.

Image: devdutt.com

Welcome

Welcome to the class blog of the B.PAC Civic Incubation Leadership Program, a first-of-its-kind initiative by the Bangalore Political Action Committee in collaboration with the Takshashila Institution.

B.CLIP aims to create a pool of good civic leaders who will actively engage in ward level management and administration of the city to improve its governance.

Follow this blog for weekly updates on class notes, references, learning aids, and much more. This blog is maintained by the Takshashila Institution.