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Table of Contents
Critical reflection on the nature of spatial planning and public policy.
Social context in which planning activities are embedded.
Economic context in which planning activities are embedded.
Political context in which planning activities are embedded.
Environmental context in which planning activities are embedded.
There are more than 1210 million people living in India. The population accounts for 17.6% of the world population next to China. India has an association with the developing league of BRICS countries and this country is experiencing a rapid shift towards urbanization pattern. Based on this, India’s terms in using lands are also changing rapidly. The current study will critically discuss about the nature of spatial planning and public policy of India. The awareness of the social, economic, political and environmental context will also be demonstrated in this study. Along with this, theoretical literature will also be implemented in this study.
There are distinct functional connotation in the urban areas and cities of India. As mentioned by Sturiale and Scuderi (2018), these areas can be considered as the engine of growth. These areas are also home to innovative business ideas and highlighter of the cultural diversity and so on. It can be stated that the urban areas of India contribute fairly 60% into the country’s GDP. As per the agglomeration theory of economy, the productivity can be facilitated if there is a bulk of activities relating to economy of that country. India has urban agglomeration containing population exceeding one million. As argued by Haque and Patel (2018), the pattern of urbanization and population is skewed along with the highest concentration in the northern states followed by the western ones. It is also required to be mentioned that more than 58% of the Indian population is concentrated in six out of twenty none states of India. Therefore, it can be interpreted from the above stated information that the growth and urbanization is observed to be more rapid in the northern and western locations of the country.
However, Nachnani and Swaminathan (2017) recently has responded to this argument by presenting that there is a recent growth in Information Technology Enabled Service Sectors and manufacturing industry has been observed in these regions and Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore has been observed to be playing effective role in these technological progression. Another author Maciejewski (2019) argue that not only the improvement in the technology or its infrastructure, liveability of the location is also playing a huge role in differences between geographic concentration in India. The highest population density is observable in Bihar and West Bengal both of which are located in Gangetic plain.
The governance structure of India is decentralized in nature and it can be considered as a federal polity. As mentioned by Moulton, and Schramm (2017), the key competencies of its policy system is its land planning, planning of water supply, public health policy and others. The implementation of the policy is mainly conducted by the states of the country. The main aim of planning land use is taking public interest into account, using the land and its resources effectively so that the residents can be benefitted, confusion can be avoided, waste production can be reduced and social cost are reduced. The investment model
There are four public interest theories that can be considered in the current context. As mentioned by Laczniak and Murphy (2019), ethical standards can determine the public interest which is known as the normative theory. The abolitionist theory suggests that individuals are required to be provided the most importance in this context. However, contemporary theorists have eventually turned the idea towards accumulated public interest or process which is embedded with the idea that public interest is determined from the outcome of predetermined due process or calculating the sum of interest. However, consensualist theory depicts that the public interest is determined through conducting argument leading to an agreement.
Van Witteloostuijn et al. (2017) asserted that there is no such thing can be considered as society and the public interest cannot be distinguished with that of an individual. It has been argued that, public interest intervention is justified if it helps to gather social gains in a way that the contribution of the gainers can be redistributed towards the non-gainers. The modern theorists have brought a change in the ideation that the social and political goals of a community are required to be understood in order to develop a public policy. In the context of India, the government and the relevant authorities are required to balance the social cohesion and economic efficiency which is particular important in the context of public services. Social institutions and collective memories shape the public opinion; therefore, opinions are likely to differ from each others. The spatial governance of India has proceeded with developing different institutions formed which are facing issues since the British era.
Municipalities and improvement trusts are mainly focused upon maintaining hygiene that is preservation and protection of public health and cleaning such as water supply and the waste management. These functions have been changed or evolved currently with the local governing bodies that administer functions at city levels. This commission works collaboratively with the state government along with the socio-economic department in order to develop an urban policy framework.
Public sectors and public practice are heavily involved with the economic resource allocation. For instance, roads are required for economy of the country and are managed and maintained as per the interest of the public. As mentioned by Bhargava and Kalantri (2020), the economic contribution of the country men into the GDP is highly crucial for a country to survive. On the other hand, maintenance and management of the same is also required for protecting the interest of the public as well. Therefore, as argued by Subramaniam et al., (2017), the government needs to develop an infrastructure that will be widely responsible for enhancing the country’s economy. As per the theory of economic regulation it can be argued that the interest grow actually determines the pledge for developing legislative regulations. The government is responsible here for maximising the political support and the regulations are not created based on the market imperfections, it is developed when the coercive group can provide the policy makers something worthwhile to decide.
The trend of urbanisation in India has been observed to be sustained as a result of corresponding economic growth of India, which has been observed hovering between 5-8% annual rates of growth. The planning commission play an important role in integrating development of the entire population. However, the policy planning is likely to be developed based on its political performance and economic performance as well as it focuses on the urban development. The planning commission is working on various modes of power considering the market economy as well as frequent silencing of the people affected is uncovered. There are some general trends observed in the economic context of planning include feminization of poverty. Another popular trend that is identified enhanced engagement of poor people in designing efforts for alleviating poverty condition.
There are number of factors that helped manifestation of Feminism of Poverty. These factors include undervalued work and under paid work at the lower part of the labor force structure. Most of the people in rural areas are unable to access community and household resources and their external security and internal security are ineffective as well. There is also an increased responsibility for care and reproduction (Deshpande and Kabeer, 2019). While there is a large potential of the women in contributing in economic growth of the country, there is a lack of opportunity for the same. Therefore, it can be argued that the public policy is not adequate enough to meet the economic need of the general population. The policy making procedures are likely to be focused therefore generally upon attempting organized approach for poverty alleviation that will secure a more equitable deal for the women, empowering them in the home arena and making their position elevated in the overall society.
The advocacy of the public interest action is performed through transparency of the decision making process and taking responsibility of those decisions. The accountability of the policy makers may vary depending on the political system and with the identification of the public interest proponent. It can also be stated that the markets properly functioning are accountable mechanism through reaction of the market. Laws are made for ensuring common good however, Felber (2019) argued that weak planning system is unlikely to produce and implement approved policies or strategies. It has been observed that in the Indian context, politicians and officers share technical discourse for the strategic development of cities very rarely. This has resulted in rapid staff turnover as well as politician turnovers.
The unreliable data creates spatial complexities and policies are developed based on generalisations and templates that already exist. The decision making system is somewhat taken under consideration by adopting the planning procedures of post-colonial societies. In order to decrease inequality and inefficiency in some of the places, bulk of integrated and place tailored goods and services for public are generally developed by gathering local preferences and using knowledge of political institutions. However, Björklund et al. (2017) mentioned that between the consolidated urban areas, different external and internal economies may be engaged. On the other hand it has been observed that there is a recent surge for investing into new towns which is inducing questions regarding the actual result of diverting public funds from the cities that are politically strategic in nature.
Therefore, it can be stated that the spatial action plans are derived. These are also validated politically and are required to be included in the budgeting planning and process of implementing the policy. As argued by Jha et al. (2017) the tendency of keeping unquestioned faith upon the planner considering the decision maker as an expert has shifted towards toward more critical and reflective acknowledgement of the political role in keeping the public interest safe. The spatial planning and decision making takes place in mostly two modes of power by economy market along with recurrent silencing of the affected ones. The first mode includes stress on collaborative processes which depends upon consensual politics. Here, the public interest is considered as deontological value which can be defined by dialogue and negotiation parameters. The spatial planner plays an important role in communicative reasoning. Another mode is making planning decision based on assertion of rights and social movements.
The decision making or spatial planning therefore also depends upon different factors such as considering the ideologies of feminism, race, ethnicity, social exclusion, poverty which help the planner to play active role in spatial planning. In the Indian context, the shift in the purpose and ideology of planning can be seen as resulted in marginalisation, power, informality and politics. The redistribution of perceived fairness is the ultimate goal of spatial planning as considered by the Rawlsian justice. As per this theory, the arbitrariness is required to be removed from the socio-political and economic life. However, Chettiparamb (2016) presented an argument where bottom-up self-affine structure is considered to lead three outcomes. The system capacity as a whole to the detail of the sample and layering of scales to reach at the bottom level of addresses different sociological issues. The information is them transmitted to city and individual level efficiently and quickly. Regardless of the extension or distribution of the area can be covered through finite steps from “local government to CDS, CDS to ADS and ADS to NHG” through which it will reach the household. Another capacity of the system that is crucial is to identify the inefficiencies and malpractices embedded with it and self-correct the same quickly.
The human settlement near the water bodies led to development of cities and towns. Water bodies in urban areas play an important role in providing services related to social, economic and environment. The land use policy plays an important role in directing the use of water by using some mechanisms of planning. These mechanisms of planning include urban form control, open space and density. As mentioned by Mukate et al. (2020) it is required to be acknowledged that quality of water and the natural surrounding are impacted as a result of urbanisation. Spatial planning needs to be considered different from the planning of the urban sector of water maintenance and supply. As argued by Turkelboom et al. (2018) spatial planning considers some factors and addresses the same including economic activities of the service industry, energy use, housing, waste management, use of water, social welfare and economic wealth. Spatial planning functions with a long-term horizon of planning. Interestingly, it also governs a lifetime development of the same.
Therefore, the above stated factors are really required to be considered for planning of urban water supply and adaptive functions for climate change. The Indian government had taken it into operation through “National Wetland Conservation Programme” by collaborating with the state governments with the regulatory formations of “Ministry of Environment and Forest Notification”. This program has identified 115 wetlands that were required management initiatives and conservative actions. The “Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)” which actively worked on preserving the water bodies and maintained water usage extent. A regional plan has been formulated in 2005 which is displaced by Transport Plan 2032in the year 2014. This planning has been developed in order to utilize the economic growth for promoting growth of the regions through creating efficient networks. These are used in upgrading the infrastructure, improvement of environmental condition and improving the quality of individual lives. The Delhi Master Plan 2021 goals have been formulated for preserve the historical legacy and environmental wealth. There is frequent conflict observed surrounding the land that is working as a barrier for the advancing companies in India. As mentioned by Nielsen and Nilsen (2017), the Land Acquisition Act is amended in the year 2014. The policy here is made for the landowners for protecting their interests and rights in case of any governmental Expropriation. As argued by Down to Earth (2020), the land owners are provided “equivalent amount to the land's market value” and twice the amount in urban areas.
In conclusion, it can be stated that the spatial planning depends on various factors and premises considering the public interest. Though there are some underlying factors that are likely to affect the decision making process. The political premises follow different hierarchy in performing the decision making task for spatial planning. The economic context of a country is crucial in spatial planning as this contributes to development of infrastructure and helps in policy implement. However, the redistribution of economic opportunity has been identified to be implemented for protecting the public interest. The public interest is often cannot be incorporated into the planning which is ideally normative. However, the consideration of public interest helps in understanding the standpoint of the spatial planning. Therefore the argument is presented in different context of spatial planning and decision making considering it political, economic, social and environmental aspects.
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