Our Papers:

  • Panchayat finances and the need for devolutions from state government” published in the January 28, 2012 edition of the Economic and Political Weekly concludes that with the right incentives many village governments in India are in a position to substantially finance themselves and build a culture of independence and accountability to their citizens, reducing their dependence on devolutions from state governments[1].
  • Financing the development of small and medium cities” published in the June 12, 2012 edition of the Economic and Political Weekly makes the case for concerted development of small and medium cities for sustainable urbanisation[2] and proposes.
  • “Pragmatic municipal finance reform in India: Lessons from policy in South Africa and Brazil” forthcoming for publication in the November 2012 edition of Environment and Urbanisation Asia which draws out the lessons that the South African and Brazilian experiences in property tax reform, institutional reform for effective service delivery, market making institutions for municipal debt and participatory budgeting hold for India.
  • “The urgent need for low-income rental housing in urban India” forthcoming for publication in the Urban India journal that makes the case for rental housing solutions for poor households based on an analysis of their income uncertainty, wealth management and need for mobility.

Policy Engagement:

  • We worked with the Isher Ahluwalia led High Powered Expert Committee (HPEC) on Urban Infrastructure, on thinking through the broad municipal financing strategy for India and ways to maximize own revenues generation by municipalities, as well as the usage of commercial capital in municipal infrastructure creation and service delivery. We wrote on issues of financing urban infrastructure for the committee. We also wrote a paper on municipal reform lessons from South Africa and Brazil for India, that was among the papers cited by the Committee in its report. The report is available here.
  • We participated in consultations with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) on the design of the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY). We submitted notes on the subjects of: (i) designing wage loss insurance products for informal workers, and (ii) the economics of housing finance provision to low income households, to the Secretary HUPA.


  • IFF conducted a Workshop with Dr Isher Ahluwalia, Chairperson of the High Power Expert Committee on Urban Infrastructure and Services, focused on the issue of small and medium city development in India at the IFMR Trust in Chennai in September 2011. The Workshop provided us an opportunity to bring together policy makers, researchers and practitioners involved in urban issues and brainstorm on questions of governance, service delivery standards, capacity building, and financing strategies for small cities. The themes emerging from the Workshop not only provided rich scope for future research, but very useful inputs for our work on financing small cities.
  • In addition to the Workshop, IFF also anchored the theme of Financial Inclusion and the Urban Economy at the India Urban Conference in Mysore in November 2011, where we analysed and discussed the challenges of small city development[3] among other issues such as housing for the urban poor, data creation for citizen participation, financing local governments and financial access for the informal economy.

State of Srirangapatna Report:

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Click here for a summary of the State of Srirangapatna report.

State of Ranganatha Nagara 2 Slum

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