When VVIPs Leave – on the issue of beautification of cities during VVIP visits

Source: The post is based on the article “When VVIPs Leave” published in The Times of India on 21st August 2023.

Syllabus: GS3 – infrastructure development

News: The author discusses how cities in India temporarily improve infrastructure for G20 meetings, which highlights the year-round poor conditions. He also emphasizes the need for local government power and genuine urban development instead of superficial enhancements.

Why is the temporary beautification of cities problematic?

Highlights Year-Round Neglect: Temporary touch-ups showcase the usual poor conditions.

Seen as VVIP Appeasement: In Mumbai, hiding slums and filling potholes are perceived as prioritizing VIP visitors over regular citizens.

Wasted Resources: Money is spent on short-term fixes rather than lasting solutions.

Skews Priorities: Focuses on cosmetic changes instead of essential infrastructure.

Quick Deterioration: Pune’s post-G20 beautified areas returned to their neglected state within a week.

Disconnect with Citizens: People feel alienated when improvements are temporary and not genuinely for their benefit

What are the major issues with urban infrastructure in India?

Lagging Behind Neighbors: Indian cities fall behind not just Western but also many Asian cities in infrastructure.

Focus on Showiness: New flyovers get priority over essential facilities like sewage treatment.

Frequent Flooding: Last year, Bengaluru’s tech parks flooded due to poor drainage.

Lack of Local Governance Power: Despite constitutional recognition, municipal revenue hasn’t significantly grown since 1946-47.

Stagnant Municipal Revenue: RBI report shows no significant growth in municipal revenue from 1946-47.

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