Reinterpretating the Town and Country Planning Act

A case of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961

India has 284 legislations on land. Most of the planning and development acts are archive which do not have specific provisions to address the issues related to land development and management. Photo by EMBARQ/Flickr

WRI India will influence key regional plans for Bangalore Metropolitan Region and for other cities of Karnataka, through support to reform Town and Country Planning Act of the State and create a model for other states and cities in the country.

The process of planning for urban development in India largely follows the respective State’s Town and Country Planning Acts. Although piece meal modifications have been made over time to the Town and Country Planning Legislation as well as the State Acts, a comprehensive revision has not been undertaken in over half a century. This bears significance in current time when urban areas are facing unprecedented pace of growth and are in dire need of relevant policies, plans and projects that are not rendered obsolete while addressing the pace of change.

WRI India is involved in supporting Directorate of Town and Country Planning, Government of Karnataka in undertaking comprehensive revision of Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act 1961 (KTCP Act). The current system of planning prescribed in the KTCP Act, 1961 mandates only a two-step process of planning that includes a) preparation of master plan at the city scale and b) preparation of town planning scheme for the implementation of the master plans. The lack of scales of planning, absence of comprehensive revision since long period, no mandates across agencies to cooperate and other insufficiencies in the Act, underlines the need for its comprehensive revision addressing the challenges of current urbanization trends and for the future.

Therefore the main reforms of legal framework of planning need to include: incorporating 73rd & 74th Constitutional Amendments in the Acts; introducing multiple scales of planning; mandating coordination across scales, jurisdictions and sectors of plans; incorporating concepts of sustainable development principles; empowering participatory and inclusive planning; a system of long, medium and short term plans; along with solving other legal issues to increase efficiency of planning, implementation and monitoring. 

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