Balding the urban landscape through shortsighted fiscal policies

  • 14/02/2008

Balding the urban landscape through shortsighted fiscal policies  Traditionally most urban areas in the country have grown out of rural settlements. Land use changes and population growth have precipitated urbanization in a lot of rural centres. Urbanization also has cultural connotations, more so today with the far reaching impacts of globalization. But there is another important aspect today: international financial institutions have a big say in shaping the character of our cities today.

Take the case of urban centres in Karnataka. The development process thrust upon the state by international financial institutions is changing the character of cities. Since 1996, the state government has used a series of three Asian Development Bank (adb) loans to upgrade urban infrastructure of select cities. But the implementation of these projects have been criticized for their top-down approach, locally non-relevant aspects, bad quality of works and for converting citizens to customers.

The conditions imposed by the adb loans have pressed the Karnataka government to charge for municipal water supply, remove public taps and bring additional taxes such as the