Metropolitan Governance as a Strategy to Resolve the Mumbai Conundrum


City Profile:

Capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India and the ninth most populous agglomeration in the world, with an estimated city population of 18.4 million. It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest GDP of any city in South, West, or Central Asia. Mumbai has the highest number of billionaires and millionaires among all cities in India.




Abhay Pethe is a senior academic who currently holds the Dr. Vibhooti Shukla Chair Professorship in the Centre for Urban Economics & Regional Development in the Department of Economics at University of Mumbai. Apart from being involved in extensive teaching and research activities, he has been a member of various expert committees of the Indian Government at central, state, and local levels. He has also worked as a consultant to private, governmental, and multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and UNDP-UNCHS, among others.

Vaidehi Tandel is Senior Associate at IDFC Institute, Mumbai. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and has co-authored a chapter on the Indian Economy. Tandel has worked on projects commissioned by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, World Bank, Ministry of Urban Development, NITI Aayog Government of India, and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. Tandel has a Ph.D. in economics from the Department of Economics at the University of Mumbai.

Sahil Gandhi is Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. His research interests are in the areas of urbanization in India, land and housing markets, and metropolitan governance. His research has been published as chapters in edited books, and in peer reviewed journals. He has worked on projects with government agencies and think tanks. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Mumbai.


This chapter provides an overview of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It describes the various public and private organizations involved in the extended public goods provision and the functions they undertake within the context of a three-tier federal system. The chapter further analyzes the major issues faced in the provision of public goods, including affordable housing within the region. In particular, the analysis focuses on the reasons for the lack of coordination in resolving inter-jurisdictional problems, the conflicts that arise due to political and jurisdictional fragmentation that preclude true polycentricity, and most importantly the lack of reform in relevant policies. The chapter then makes relevant policy recommendations and highlights the importance of having a metropolitan level government for Mumbai, delimiting its domain in terms of discharging functions that are best undertaken at a regional scale with the necessary finances and functionaries. It argues that such strategies would enable the region to function smoothly as a common labour market thus reaping agglomeration efficiencies.