[13 January 2010] -- In the next few days the city of Mumbai will host Cities Alliance’s 10th anniversary meetings.
Close to 100 participants comprising Cities Alliance member representatives, partners, high level government officials as well as local organisers will participate in what is billed to be a landmark meeting, which among other objectives also will take stock of how far the Alliance has come since its founding in Berlin in 1999, as well as deliberate on new directions for the Alliance moving forward.
The Alliance has had a long, successful relationship/partnership with Mumbai, the major focus of activity being support for an innovative programme to transform Mumbai into a world-class city.
Transforming Mumbai into a World-Class City
A massive initiative is currently underway to transform Mumbai, India’s financial and commercial centre, into a world-class city with a vibrant economy and a high standard of living for all citizens.
The initiative grew out of efforts by the private sector, which sought to make the city a better place to live, work and invest in. With that goal in mind, the citizen’s group Bombay First commissioned a report from international consulting firm McKinsey to create a vision for transforming the city. The initiative was subsequently endorsed by the government of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital; Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; and the World Bank.
Projects that directly benefit slum dwellers include:
-- The Dharavi Redevelopment Project to improve the lives of residents of Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums
-- The resettling of Mumbai’s pavement dwellers, who have built shacks on city streets
-- A programme to provide sanitation in the city’s slums
Mumbai Transformation Support Unit
All of the projects that are part of the Mumbai Transformation Programme are coordinated and monitored by the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU), which was established in 2005 as a special unit of the All India Institute of Local Self Government with the support of the Cities Alliance, the World Bank and USAID. The MTSU posts information about the progress of the projects on its website, www.visionmumbai.org.
The MTSU also advises the agencies that are implementing those projects, including the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), and Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation.The MTSU is currently headed by UPS Madan.
Results on the Ground
-- Extensive studies undertaken in preparation for projects in education, economic growth, governance, health, housing, slums and transport
-- City business plan agreed on by stakeholders and endorsed by the Prime Minister
-- Housing policy for the state of Maharashtra (declared 2007)
-- Repeal of an obsolete regulation that limited the amount of land available for development and drove up real estate prices
-- Beautification of historic neighbourhoods and buildings, such as Marine Drive, the Gateway of India and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
During Phase II, which lasts from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011, the focus is on additional detailed studies and implementing the action plan outlined in Phase I.
The Mumbai Transformation Programme supports and is supported by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), a flagship programme launched by the Indian government in 2006 to provide infrastructure financing as an incentive for urban reform.
Cities Alliance support for the Mumbai Transformation Programme
The Cities Alliance has supported the Mumbai Transformation Programme from its early stages. As a significant urban initiative that attempts to tackle real megacity issues—particularly the living conditions of the urban poor—it is a natural fit for the Cities Alliance.
Since 2005, the Cities Alliance has provided $1 million in grant funds to support the transformation initiative, in addition to co-financing from the World Bank and local partners.
The MTSU has used Cities Alliance grant funds to initiate studies, base papers and policy papers for reforms in the areas of education, economic growth, governance, health, housing, transport, and a city business plan.
Cities Alliance grants will continue to support the operations of the MTSU during Phase II of the initiative. This period is expected to feature more coordination and consultation as the reforms and investments identified under Phase I are implemented.
Located on India’s west coast, Mumbai is the commercial and financial capital of the country and a centre for India’s film industry, media, and corporate headquarters. Mumbai has also been the largest magnet for rural migrants.
Fast Facts about Mumbai:
-- Some 12 million people live in the city of Mumbai (according to a 2001 census), while the population of Greater Mumbai tops 19 million.
-- Mumbai is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. In certain areas, such as the Dharavi slum, population density reaches over a million people per square km.
-- Mumbai’s GDP is 37 percent of the state of Maharashtra, of which it is the capital.
-- Mumbai generates about 5 percent of India’s GDP and contributes over one third of the country’s tax revenues.
-- Mumbai's suburban rail systems carry a total of 2.2 billion passengers every year.