City Development Strategy for Pro poor Economic Growth for the Heritage City of Agra



Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
1. All round capacity is low. Local capacity for urban development including pro poor and urban reforms is extremely low. While considerable improvements are visible, these are discontinuous across agencies and departments. Almost all projects need to be approved by the State or routed through them to GOI, causing considerable time lag between planning and implementation. There is lack of confidence /inclination within ANN about seizing a role that is there’s by mandate. Also, the structure of the city-state relationships has put the city in a position of disadvantage. Strong and committed leadership alone can bring about change in approach and attitude to pro poor urban development. With withdrawal of technical support, there could be a drop in the quality /pace of progress under JNNURM at ANN. 2. Low Level of resources. Despite the presence of Taj and clear economic drivers in the city, the local body lacks resources for development work. Much of the resource for implementation could be easily had if ANN had the capacity to develop proposals and seek its share of resources from ADA/GOI/Tourism departments etc. ANN needs considerable support to walk the financial reform process. 3. Low Capacity of Civil Society. Even as civil society capacity has improved over the project period, it is still not sufficiently strengthened to demand local government action and appropriate public response. Use of Right to Information is hardly used by poor communities to access information about services norms or their provisioning.


Population and industrial growth in Agra has been accompanied by an unplanned physical expansion and urban sprawl, leading to a wide range of physical and social challenges that are threatening its valuable tourism industry and adversely impacting health and welfare of its citizens. While efforts to address some of these challenges, by Municipal Corporation – Agra Nagar Nigam (ANN) as well as Government of India, are underway, the City Development Strategy for Pro poor Economic Growth for the Heritage City aims to create local capacities and support reforms to achieve concrete results required under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM – a major urban reform and development initiative launched by the Government of India). It develops a city vision, city development plan (CDP), strategy for implementing the CDP, and a plan for improved access to basic services to urban poor required under JNNURM. It includes four components: slum upgrading, local economic development, infrastructure service delivery and finance and urban institutions.
With an aim to develop a long-term vision and a city development plan for Agra, the main objectives of City Development Strategy for Pro poor Economic Growth for the Heritage City of Agra include: 1) Prepare a CDS with a long-term vision through a multi- stakeholder consultative process 2) Develop a fast track modular City Development Plan (CDP) for implementation under NURM financing 3) Develop a plan for upgrading the under-serviced settlements, based on the Cross Cutting Agra Program 4) Build consensus on local economic development, in particular addressing livelihood needs in low-income settlements linked to the city’s tourism economy 5) Address gaps in institutional mechanisms for improved service delivery and pro-poor governance
1) Set up a multi stakeholder consultative process for city development planning in the Agra Municipal Corporation and build new partnerships between ANN and civil society organizations, tourism related actors, local authorities and service delivery agencies by engaging them in CDS process. 2) Provide technical assistance to ANN for the implementation of the JNNURM vision and City Development Plan (CDP), with sustainable local capacity development. 3) Create capacities and institutional arrangements at the local level to pursue an inclusive urban development and reform agenda as enshrined within the JNNURM-CDP for service delivery. 4) Develop strategy papers and integrated sector specific plans for local economic development, heritage promotion, SWM, transportation and e-governance. 5) Develop the strategy for upgrading under serviced/slum settlements in the city based on demonstrated models for slum upgrading under the Crosscutting Agra Programme. 6) Identify information gaps and data requirements, commission situational analysis studies for improved service delivery and pro poor governance.
Expected Impacts and Results
At the end of the intervention, the CDS designed a City Development Plan for JNNURM assistance with a short and long term investment plan. The whole process resulted in capacity building, community participation and inclusive planning. Slum upgrading demonstration has showcased a participatory model in the city, which is being scaled up across the city to other ward areas at the request of local councilors. Capacity Building of ANN The CDS was instrumental in creating capacity in the ANN to respond to the needs of urban poor. It initiated the dialogue between the ANN, elected officials and community groups on issues like infrastructure and service improvement. ANN is better prepared for pro-poor urban reforms. ANN earmarked a portion of the municipal budget for urban poor and mobilized resources for non-listed slums also. Community Participation and Inclusive Planning Community and local government engagement has been institutionalized through the various Task Forces set up under the CDS that are meeting regularly both to discuss CDS matters and to take stock of progress under JNNURM. These Task Forces have helped include civil society and slum voices in decision making. Community groups were better represented in planning and decision making process. Community Action Planning (CAP) promoted inclusive planning processes. District and other urban local bodies are also starting to interact with local community groups and involving them in programme advocacy and hygiene awareness and behaviour change. A theatre group developed under CAP has been contracted for water /sanitation advocacy by the Agra Jal Sewa and for improved targeting of social welfare schemes through information /awareness building. Ward level planning processes initiated are also being rolled out by other elected representatives in their areas with a view to access development resources.