Remi de Bercegol, Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires, Sociétés; École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Paris-Est
The Emergence of Municipalities
This Ph.D research aims to analyse the new political and technical arrangements in small towns governance, especially regarding the management of publics basic services, since decentralisation reforms in India. Various research projects have dealt with these subjects in rural areas and large metropolises but little attention has been paid to the same issues in smaller urban settlements. Yet more than half of the urban population in India lives in these towns. There has been a bias within Indian urban studies against small towns, because the idea of “urban” has always designated large urban settlements. This scientific disinterest translates into a more characteristic way of thinking about the urbanization process and resource allocation in India where big cities have been glorified as part of “Shining India”, while at the same time forgetting the rest of urban India. For this thesis, a sample survey has been conducted in a few selected towns comprising around 20,000 inhabitants in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The fieldwork has focused on urban local bodies and interviews has been conducted conducted with political leaders, government officials appointed at different levels (local, regional and state) and other actors such as engineers. Other interviews have been conducted with citizens as users to verify the information collected on effective service delivery and to understand what their relationships are with elected public servants and service providers. The results of the study gives a a good view of the institutional building process consequent to decentralisation reform and the municipality emergence in small towns.