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Mumbai needs a CEO: J P Morgan report

There is a need to have a ‘CEO for Mumbai’ in order to realise the ambition of making it a global financial centre, says a report.

“Mumbai needs a much simpler and more empowered governance framework to manage transport, land-use and housing. Potential solutions include a metropolitan coordination unit with a coordinating ‘CEO for Mumbai’,” the report by Global Cities Initiative, backed by foreign brokerage J P Morgan Chase and Brookings Institution, said.

Other alternatives put forth include a directly elected metropolitan Mayor, a senior state government official leading a new ‘Government Office for Mumbai’ and an expanded remit and coordination powers for the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), it said.

“The metropolitan area needs more empowered leadership to galvanise its complex and often ‘siloed’ organisational structure in pursuit of long-term goals,” it added.

The recommendations come in the midst of a debate over overhaul of the administrative structures in the city.

At a panel discussion held before the launch of the report on December 3, leading public intellectual Pratap Bhanu Mehta said, “I am very perturbed by this idea that Mumbai can have something like a CEO.. Unelected regulatory authorities like CEOs should not take decisions that short-circuit democratic process. You get a short term boost, but there will be a logjam pretty soon.”

Chief Minister of Maharashtra, who counts development of infrastructure in the city among his top priorities, had announced a CEO for the city last month but was later forced to retract the same after a controversy.

The city is presently governed by a multi-layer arrangement which includes a Mayor elected from among elected corporators in the municipal body and the MMRDA under the state government to oversee large infra projects.

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