A superb highly readable paper by Abhay Pethe, Sahil Gandhi, and Vaidehi Tandel.
Such papers make this whole reading on governance and connect with ground reality pretty well. It first looks at governance in metropolitan region and argues why there is a need for polycentric governance in metro urban regions. Then it looks at the experience of governance in Mumbai from this polycentric perspective given by late Ostrom couple:
The paper written from a governance perspective takes the position that a useful governance perspective must be informed by the socio-economic-cultural milieu and in the specific Indian context must sit on a tripod of ‘political reality’, ‘state of decentralization’ and ‘basic economic principles’. Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is one of the most important growth engines for India as it accrues tremendous revenues to the central and the Maharashtra (State) governments. It is thus crucial to ensure that the governance system in MMR is efficient for it to continue on its growth trajectory.
We assess the performance of the governance system in MMR which resembles a polycentric governance system- a system that has been heralded as being greatly suited to metropolitan regions by several scholars. We recognize that Metropolitan governance is a concept since in reality it comprises a loose bundle of multiple actors and organizations. For sharper focus, we study the interactions between only two (dominant) public organizations- Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (an Urban Local Body of Greater Mumbai) and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (a parastatal of the State Government). Our assessment reveals that the institutions – rules of the game – which are essential for the efficient functioning of polycentric governance system are missing in the region. Our findings emphasize the need to bring about micro reforms in the institutional framework for polycentric governance to be successful in MMR.
So those staying in Mumbai (and other cities) can immediately connect with this paper. For lack of time not discussing it..