ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Regimes of Private Governance

The Case of Electronics City in Peri-urban Bengaluru

New forms of urban organisation with private modes of governance are being unleashed across India through the creation of special economic zones, industrial townships and smart cities. This paper aims to bring a grounded understanding of the emergence of such spaces by examining the transformation of the governance systems in Electronics City in peri-urban Bengaluru with the constitution of the Electronics City Industrial Township Authority. Even though ELCITA is not a democratically elected body, it is vested with the powers of a municipality, including the power to levy property tax and perform municipal functions. Such an institution could be created because of an exception provided for industrial townships under the 74th constitutional amendment. New urban regimes like ELCITA are created to bypass the social and political realities of Indian cities. Does this represent a new regime of governance that questions some of the basic premises of state authority in a democracy?

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through funding from the Major Collaborative Research Initiative "Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land, and Infrastructure in the 21st Century (2010–17)." I would like to thank Solomon Benjamin and Richard Harris for guiding me in the various stages of this research and also for detailed comments on previous versions of this paper. I am also grateful for the valuable feedback and comments of Ashima Sood and Loraine Kennedy and two anonymous reviewers. Thanks are also due to colleagues at the School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru who provided useful comments during a faculty presentation.

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