International Development Planning Review

The politics of implementing urban plans in India: The case of Pune's development plan

International Development Planning Review (2002), 24, (1), 77–103.

Abstract

India has an elaborate system of urban planning, yet plans remain largely unimplemented. This is often attributed to 'politics', but the precise role played by politics has not been rigorously explored. This paper examines the political processes involved in the implementation of Pune's current development plan (1987–2007), and focuses on three proposals within this plan. It examines the reactions of the actors to the proposals, and analyses the impact of their responses on the implementation process. The central argument of this paper is that politics is not in a separate category from the other factors that influence implementation. Based on Grindle's (1980a) model of policy implementation, this study develops an analytical framework for analysing plan implementation in India. It uses data from documents and studies, newspaper clippings, in-depth semi-structured interviews and observation. It highlights the mismatch between the long-term nature of the development plan and the shorter tenures of municipal leaders. The evidence shows that, while commercial developers have considerable power over implementation, environmental groups and the media can be balancing forces. One of the outcomes of the tussle between these two sets of actors is delay in the plan's implementation.

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Kulabkar, Pankaja