About the Talk
In the past eighteen years, starting in 1991 and linked to the Indian economic challenges of the time, there has been a broadly declining trend in government employment. Government departments are discouraged from creating new posts and have been expected to shed some of their operational costs by voluntary retirement, attrition (not hiring against posts vacated when incumbents retire), and by contracting out some of their functions.
However, the roles and functions of government continue to change and evolve, sometimes requiring increases and restructuring of staff. In the case of municipalities in Madhya Pradesh, this was felt to be necessary in light of the expanding profile, roles and responsibilities of municipalities in the state over the past decade.
During this period, the national JNNURM programme set a context in which municipalities could take some responsibility for planning their infrastructure needs in a socio-economic context, and secure funds to implement these projects. The programme also made state governments and municipalities commit to a set of institutional reforms which were largely to be implemented by the municipalities. Around the same time, the state government of Madhya Pradesh entered into a few large donor and multilateral funded infrastructure and governance improvement programmes, which were largely to be implemented at the city level by municipalities. The functional profile of the Madhya Pradesh municipalities also expanded, partly as a result of these programmes, to cover drinking water, urban poverty, housing and transport.
And yet, for much of this time, there was minimal change in municipal staffing. The staffing structure of municipalities is based on a structure that is approved by the state government, and any additional changes have to be approved by it. Upper-level posts are filled by the state, often by officers on deputation from other cadres or from state service employees, whereas the municipality recruits lower-level staff locally. This system has many problems, most importantly that municipalities fall short of skills, expertise and people in many critical areas.
In this context, the government of Madhya Pradesh undertook a comprehensive municipal cadre and staffing reform which has been partly implemented by the state and is the subject of this talk.
About the Speaker
Neelesh Dubey is Deputy Director, Urban Administration and Development Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh. He has been responsible for the design and implementation of the new cadre and staffing structure from its earliest inception until now. He also oversees the department’s Swachh Bharat (Urban) Mission.
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About the State Capacity Initiative
The State Capacity Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) is a new interdisciplinary centre for research and practice focused on addressing the challenges of the 21st century Indian state: its roles, federal structure, institutional design, organisational forms and culture, administrative reforms, the everyday life of local bureaucracies and frontline functionaries, knowledge resources, regulatory and fiscal capacity, and the complex and changing relations between society, politics and state capacity.