The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (“JnNURM” / “the Mission”) is described as the UPA Government’s ‘flagship urban policy’ and ‘by far the single largest initiative of the central government in the urban sector’. The Mission is a programme for development of infrastructure, governance and urban services, with funding conditional on administrative reforms. It offers a window onto the governance of infrastructure, and the wider challenges of policy implementation and public administration in the current era of partnerships and globalised development.
My research suggests that the informal political economy and governance of infrastructure have strongly influenced JnNURM implementation. Additionally a strong role for private consultants and technological solutions was observed. Mission funding provides a boost to economic development and political legitimacy. For cities whose ruling coalitions have weaker domestic and external political networks, opposition to reforms which are both unpopular and threaten vested interests, may present a serious obstacle.
I base my argument on the academic and policy literature, press coverage, and 30 interviews with stakeholders in two Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), which I’ll call “Municipality A”, and “Municipality B”.