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The Story of BMC Model

The disparaging effects of the second wave of Covid- 19 on all sectors of life worldwide and especially in India debunks the follies of the uncountable governance nationwide.

And the exception to this fact of death, ruckus, outrage and horror, the laudable Mumbai municipal corporation (BMC) model is a case in point of some good governance in the country. An embellished city, Mumbai accounts for the world’s second-most densely packed city as per the data from the United Nations. Thus, as a matter of fact, any such lessons from Mumbai becomes particularly important amidst Covid mayhem.

It is believed that efficient and effective governance comes with power-sharing. The distribution of power and decentralised approach adopted by the BMC led to a successful covid combat system in Mumbai.  The earnest effort in gearing up the healthcare system from the first wave and stockpiling further seeing the despoiling effects of the second wave equipped the healthcare system well. BMC did commendable as they found innovative ways to amplify limited resources, employed a localised approach, and established public-private partnerships in the healthcare infrastructure building apart from creating awareness.

When the whole country is reeling under the appaling effects of covid, it is important to understand this model, learn the lessons it offers and implement it elsewhere. Firstly, when the decentralised approach is implemented, every mechanism works in sync, which means that any decision-making is not affected by sheer party politics. Dissent and criticism are the hallmarks of responsible governance, but cooperation becomes the hallmark of speedy governance when it comes to a crisis. What we see on the national scale is the surfacing of abhorrent blame- game, lack of consensus, adjourned parliamentary proceedings, subsequently delaying the decision making process. The upsurging opposition politics between the Union and the State government further hampers targeted policy formulation and puts the layman at stake. This story of Mumbai and other southern states like Kerala offers a successful example of political cooperation for the cause of the people.

Some persistent problems militate effective governance in India. Lack of independent financial pool and slow transfer of funds from the state to local governments, especially when the incumbent leaders hail from different political parties, is a big blockade in primary governance. The example of Mumbai manifests the power of local governments during a catastrophe when they have adequate resources. Again, corruption at every step stigmatizes the governance in India. The insatiable greed for power led the Indian government to be lax concerning Covid restrictions and gear up for elections, thus, leading to the emergence of the deadly second wave taking a high toll on life and property.

What is the current covid status of India?

The mutation into the delta variant and its emerging cases instils fresh fears and is a poignant reminder of past events. Though the pace of vaccination is accelerating, still a lot needs to be done. India needs to learn and grow. This country has always learnt from others and incorporated it to its own advantage. Our supreme law- the Constitution of India, is known as the bag of borrowings. India needs to build on this idea; it needs to draw lessons from outstanding examples like the BMC model; it needs to study and deeply analyse the ground situation, work towards decentralisation, curb the governance loopholes and equip the covid relief soldiers to fight this epidemic successfully.


Tanvi Singal

Research Intern at CPRGIndia