The new wave

  • 29/04/1996

The new wave THE '80s and '90s have witnessed the globalisation and opening up of the Indian economy. The megacities of India have now become the' stage for the new political. and socio-economic transition that the country is undergoing. They are becoming international centres for business, trade and industry., As a result, one-finds the concentration of resources - in the form of both wealth and skills - in the larger cities of India. On the other- hand, these megapolises continue to face the challenges of poverty, potution and glaring disparities. According to Jain, the globalisation of the economy may prove fatal for the poor and the smal6cale entrepreneur in the newly-emerging competitive market.

Indian Megacity and Economic Reforms, is a systematic study of the problems and implications of economic reforms. According to the author, these changes could prove to be either a curse or a boon depending upon urban policies, planning and management. The book is divided into three parts. The first part traces the development -and contribution of the megacities of Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, Madras, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad to the Indian economy. The second part which deals with "The problems, policies and perspectives", focuses upon critical issues like environment, land policies, sustainable development, public transport and housing. The third and last part deals with urban management. It outlines possible approaches and strategies of urban management which include public-private partnerships, financing and zoning regulations.

Jain makes a clear and strong case for a growth-oriented approach with an emphasis on trade, commerce and employment generation. A new link is to be forged between the local government and private sector. Sectors such as the railways, roads, power and water can be opened up to the joint and Private sector as this may create competitiveness and accountability, leading to improvement of public services besides mobilising national and international resources. However, the author cautions that the partnerships ought to be long-term ones. He feels it is necessary to tie up the urban planning process with the political apparatus. In the absence of these reforms, the growth of megacities would portend shortages and problems. More than 150 illustrations, drawings and photographs make the book interesting and understandable. The book deserves serious attention from policy 'makers, urban planners and managers.

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