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Pitroda for more powers to mayors to improve cities' condition

Source: Business Standard, 26th Aug, 2013

Our cities are in "a state of mess" and the only way to improve the situation is to empower the mayors, Prime minister's advisor Sam Pitroda said today. "We must empower our mayors. If we don't empower them, nothing much can be done," Pitroda said here at a conference on innovations in urban governance.

He said it should be consider how more powers can be given to mayors.Pitroda said while mayors of big cities like Chicago are very powerful, in India we don't know the name of Mumbai's mayor.

"I went to school in Baroda in 60s, It was a great city. You go today, it is a disaster. I just came from Calcutta two days ago, every time I go there, I only see garbage...There id chaos everywhere but nobody wants to accept this...When you travel around, you see cities in mess," he said.

Pitroda said there are people in the country who have expertise in taking on the challenges of urbanisation. He said domain experts should be brought in from various fields in the government to meet the challenges.

Later Pitroda and Natwar Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the district of Columbia in the US, who was present at the conference told reporters about the system in the US.

Gandhi said in the US, the fundamental job of a CFO is to see that the budget is balanced and many a times, he had turned down proposals that involved spending beyond the limits.

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