18 June 2021 | Reading 9 mins.

Governing city forests in India: tipping the scales

Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Photo: Sreehari Devadas

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Tarun Sharma
Co-founder and Director of Nagrika
Pallab Deb
Senior Research Associate at Nagrika

Tarun Sharma, Co-founder and Director of Nagrika

Pallab Deb, Senior Research Associate at Nagrika

As Indian cities experience continued growth and associated urban challenges, such as air pollution, artificial flooding, and water scarcity, appropriate forest governance is vital. However, the mismatch between jurisdiction over and funding for forest management and the impacts of poor forest management leave cities at an impasse.

The last few years has seen the Indian government introduce multiple policies and national programs for urban renewal and development. These policies seek to make cities smart, with better infrastructure and service provisions, but there have been none that are solely focused on the environmental aspects of the cities. It is no surprise that Indian cities have been regularly featured in the lists of most polluted cities in the world and water-rich cities have begun to run out of water. However, though cities face the brunt of these problems, city governments are seldom able to do much on their own given jurisdiction and resource constraints.

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