Vol 2, No 1 (2017)

Full Issue

View or download the full issue PDF

Table of Contents


307 Views, 178 PDF Downloads
Thallak Gundurao Sitharam





1199 Views, 193 PDF Downloads
Jaya Dhindaw, Kanchana Ganesan, Madhav Pai


India is going through the early phase of urbanization with 33% of its citizens currently living in urban areas, with the number expected to go up to 40% by 2030. The sudden growth in Indian cities has led to challenges in infrastructure provisioning and service delivery which have not kept pace. Evidence in the form of case examples from across cities point to the possibility that there is room for leveraging disruptive innovation in filling the space in efficient service delivery via institutions outside the formal public setup. In the context of the gaps in governance, this paper seeks to examine the role of institutions and the potential of coalitions as ‘agents of change’ that can empower and equip the government and citizenry with technical capacity and methodologies for action, enabling sustainable development and eventually, triggering broader cross-sectoral, city-wide transformation.

1121 Views, 423 PDF Downloads
Sudeept Maiti, Joao Villela De Faria


Historically, India has had strong local governments and probably drawing from this, is the spirit in which the country enacted the 73rd and the 74th constitutional amendment acts (CAA), in 1992. This amendment aimed at a redistribution of powers to enable local bodies which are closer to local issues to respond more quickly and efficiently, rather than relying on a distant central body. However, the practices in participatory planning in Indian cities have been, at best, tokenistic in nature in the face of the challenge of implementing an effective decentralisation processes. The paradigm of citizen engagement and participative planning today must shift from one of the traditional redressal of grievances to that of collaborative solution building bringing both the government and citizen together in the development of local areas. This paper aims to analyse and evaluate participative local area planning practices in India, particularly at the level of the smallest administrative unit, i.e. wards. The study has been categorised in mainly two aspects: institutionalised and non-institutionalised processes dealing with participation at the bottommost rung of planning. This study is an attempt to highlight successful models of engagement, institutional structure and processes that allow for effective participatory planning and to identify possible ways of overcoming challenges of inclusiveness, budgeting and financing and the disconnect between citizens and administration in this process.

846 Views, 165 PDF Downloads
Aloke Mukherjee, Roshan Toshniwal, Pawan Mulukutla


 In recent decades, Bengaluru as a metropolis has witnessed explosive growth – both in terms of population, which has doubled since 2001, and growth in vehicles, which have more than quadrupled in the same period (RTO 2016). This has significantly stressed the city’s road infrastructure, leading to congestion and increases in pollution. Economic losses due to congestion for two of the city’s Information Technology corridors alone are estimated at INR227.7 billion annually (Bharadwaj 2015), without taking into account the health costs of increased emissions due to a surge in the number of vehicles plying in the city. ‘Conventional’ solutions addressing congestion within the city — such as road widening, creating one ways and building grade separators such as flyovers and underpasses — have failed to address the issue, and at the current rate of increasing vehicular volumes, the city’s roads are forecast to be completely saturated by 2025.

This paper’s premise is that public transport serves as the sole sustainable solution to Bengaluru’s chronic congestion; only a large mode-shift towards public transport by 2025 can help reduce congestion on the city’s roads. The paper advocates the Avoid-Shift-Improve strategy to achieve this, focusing on transport-specific improvements required to incentivise commuters to shift to public transport and identifies institutional and financial changes in the way of enhancing public transport in the city. The paper also forewarns against neglecting the city’s conventional bus system in favour of other, capital-intensive modes of mass-transit, forecasting that buses will continue to meet over 75% of the city’s public transport demand even after the completion of Phase I and II of the city’s metro and the introduction of a functional commuter rail system.

695 Views, 271 PDF Downloads
Rejeet Mathews, Madhav Pai, Tintu Sebastian, Souhardhya Chakraborty


Bengaluru City’s Peripheral Ring Road (PRR), a project announced back in 2005 has faced several impediments to its implementation largely due to land acquisition hurdles and associated cost overruns. This paper addresses the state of the practice in the way the ring road has been imagined, why the project has remained unimplemented in over a decade and the possible alternatives by which it could be better planned and financed. Findings suggest that the crux of the problem could be attributed to a failure in recognising the full potential of a ring road to the city. Envisioned as a mere bypass to ‘decongest an already crowded Outer Ring Road (ORR), to prevent long distance private vehicles from entering the city centre’ its potential for area development, planned urban expansion and to serve as an ideal tool for land value capture were not recognised. Experiences of other cities which have been more successful in implementing similar projects through the use of alternative means of accessing land for public purposes provides clues to achieve that elusive middle ground between all stakeholders.

467 Views, 352 PDF Downloads
Hita Unnikrishnan, Seema Mundoli, Harini Nagendra



The south Indian city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) has a long history of human occupation. Today as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Bengaluru is unusual in the fact that it is an old city, located at a distance from perennial sources of fresh water. While in the precolonial past, it depended upon an interconnected system of rainwater harvesting via lakes and wells, today it relies on water that is pumped from a river at a distance of over a hundred kilometres.

This paper traces the evolution of Bengaluru’s water supply infrastructure from the precolonial past into the present day. We posit that the shift of the city’s dependence on water from local to distant sources, with the advent of technology and the introduction of centralized piped water, has weakened local residents’ and policy makers’ awareness of the importance of conservation of local ecosystems. The resulting degradation and conversion of the city’s water bodies has reduced the resilience of Bengaluru to flooding and drought, especially affecting the poorest and most vulnerable of its residents. The disruption of the links between water and other forms of commons, including grazing lands, fishing areas and wooded groves, has further fragmented the once-organic connection between the city and its ecosystems, with widespread construction on wetlands leading to flooding and water scarcity in different seasons.  In an era of increasing climate change, cities in semi-arid environments such as Bengaluru will be hit by problems of water scarcity. We stress the need to develop an integrated perspective that considers the importance of local ecosystems as commons for increased urban resilience.

382 Views, 121 PDF Downloads
Ashok Thanikonda, Deepak Krishnan


Solar energy is a key component of cities’ climate mitigation and energy security plans, due to its ease of installation & operation and drastic decline in costs.

In Bengaluru, residential, commercial and industrial (C & I) consumers contributed to around 85% of the electricity consumption and resultant emissions during 2014 and 2015. What are the options for these consumers within the ambit of current policies to procure solar power? Are changes required in these policies to scale up the adoption of solar power?

WRI India has explored two possible options – off-site and on-site procurement of solar energy.

On-site procurement

In 2013, net-metering which allows export of excess power to the grid was not available in Bengaluru. This, in addition to expensive electricity storage options meant that the complete potential of an on-site solar plant could not be realized.

WRII has found that net-metering regulations for rooftop solar projects in Karnataka, introduced in November 2014, were met with moderate success among C & I consumers. The adoption among residential consumers was slow due to information gaps about financial parameters, net-metering procedures and credible installers.

On May 2, 2016 gross metering scheme is introduced for both categories of consumers. WRII intends to look into the effectiveness of the new scheme.

Off-site solar procurement

Grid-connected solar power projects in Karnataka, commissioned before 31 March 2018, were exempted from payment of wheeling, banking charges and cross subsidy surcharge for the first 10 years for sale to 3rd party customers.

Since the typical payback period for a utility scale solar project is around 7 years, this order provided long term clarity for investors, solar project developers and consumers. For certain categories of consumers (commercial), the exemption meant that solar energy became more viable. 

However, challenges in procuring land and bottlenecks in power evacuation, may delay the large scale deployment of solar projects to the latter half of 2016.


Cookies Notification