About the Event
Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), Kochi, in collaboration with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), South Asia, launched an Urban Fellowship for early to mid-career professionals in June 2023. The Fellowship was organised for a cohort of 13 young professionals working in urban policy across Kerala and aimed to equip urban policy researchers to build their careers in urban policy and provide a platform for systematic enquiry into urban policy challenges across India. Over the course of the fellowship, the fellows undertook primary and secondary research on local issues. The study also included stakeholder interactions and surveys.
The closing ceremony of the Urban Fellowship was held in Kochi, Kerala, on 9th December 2023, from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm. The ceremony included a talk on ‘Local Urban Issues in Kerala’ and a panel discussion on the theme ‘Urbanisation in Kerala: How is the state evolving and what are the challenges?’ followed by felicitation of the urban fellows on the completion of the fellowship.
Talk by Dr M Ramachandran IAS on ‘Local Urban Issues in Kerala’
Dr. M Ramachandran IAS discussed the urban issues facing the state of Kerala. He highlighted the lack of comprehensive solutions for problems such as waste management, with no clear understanding of how to handle Kochi’s waste. He emphasized the need to treat waste as a business, citing the successful model in Indore. Additionally, he pointed out the financial constraints faced by urban local bodies (ULBs) in Kerala and suggested seeking municipal or green bonds for credit. Dr. Ramachandran also identified the need for a new citizen participation model, regional planning for urban continuity, and the importance of digitalizing local data for efficient service delivery.
In conclusion, he stressed the importance of separating policymaking and execution in order for Kerala’s ULBs to function effectively and transcend political influence.
Panel Discussion on ‘Urbanisation in Kerala: How is the state evolving and what are the challenges?’
The talk by Dr Ramachandran was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Urbanisation in Kerala: How is the state evolving and what are the challenges?’. The panel speakers were Dr M Ramachandran IAS, Shri K J Sohan, Former Mayor of Kochi Municipal Corporation; Smt Vineetha Hariharan, National Public Policy Expert and Former Chief of External Missions, MSME. The discussion was moderated by Dr D Dhanuraj, Chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research, Kochi.
Felicitation of Urban Fellows
The closing ceremony marked the successful completion of the Urban Fellowship 2023, launched by CPPR with the support of FNF. Dr M Ramachandran handed over completion certificates to the fellows to acknowledge their hard work.