Case study of an urban district, Bhopal

Background of the district

Historical context. Bhopal was founded in the 11th century by King Bhoja (1010- 1055 CE) of Paramara Dynasty and named Bhojpal after a dam constructed by him during his reign. The present city of Bhopal was founded by one of Emperor Aurangzeb’s Afghan soldiers Dost Mohammed Khan, who took advantage of the turmoil that followed Aurangzeb’s death in 1707 and managed to establish his kingdom in Bhopal. He named his capital Islamnagar, meaning the city of Islam. He built a small fort and some palaces at Islamnagar, the ruins of which can still be seen today. After few years, he built a bigger fort - Fort Fatehgar (Fort of Victory) on the northern bank of the Upper Lake of Bhopal and shifted his capital to present-day Bhopal. Although the kingdom was small, it survived several wars. Even when the Marathas overran the surrounding kingdoms of Indore and Gwalior, Bhopal remained a Muslim-ruled state under Dost Khan’s successors. Bhopal became a princely state in British India in 1818 because of the Anglo- Bhopal treaty between the East India Company and Nawab Nazar Muhammad (Nawab of Bhopal during 1816-1819). It began to be administered by an agent of the British Governor-General of India.

Bhopal reached its height of culture, arts, and public works under the enlightened rule of the Begums, a 19th-century dynasty of Muslim women. The peaceful rule of Begums began in 1819 when the 18-year-old Qudusia Begum (also known as Gohar Begum) took over the reins after the assassination of her husband. She was the first female ruler of Bhopal and was so liberal that she did not wear purdah. She cared very well for her subjects and took her dinners only after receiving the news every night that all her subjects had taken meals. She built the Jama Masjid of Bhopal as well as the beautiful Gohar Mahal. She was succeeded by her daughter, Sikander Begum, who was trained in martial arts. During the revolt of 1857, she sided with the British and helped crush the rebellion. But she also carried out many works of public welfare and built the Moti Masjid and the Moti Mahal. Shah Jahan Begum, who succeeded her, had a great love for architecture, and many of the beautiful buildings she commissioned to be constructed have stood the test of time and dot Bhopal landscape today - including the mini-city of Shahjahanabad. Sultan Kaikhusrau Jahan Begum, daughter of Shah

Jahan Begum, succeeded her in 1901. She further advanced the emancipation of women and established a modern municipality in 1903. She was the first president of the All India Conference on Education and first chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University. The peaceful rule of Begums led to the rise of a unique mixed culture in Bhopal. The Hindus were given important administrative positions in the state. This led to communal peace and a cosmopolitan culture took its roots.

At the time of Indian independence, Bhopal was the second-largest Muslim princely state in India after Hyderabad. Nawab Hamidullah Khan signed the Instrument of Accession and Bhopal became an Indian state on May 1, 1949. Many Sindhi refugees from Pakistan were accommodated in Bairagarh, a western suburb of Bhopal. Under the 1956 State Reorganization Act of the Government of India, Bhopal became a part of Sehore district of the newly formed state of Madhya Pradesh. In 1972, Bhopal became an independent district carved out of Sehore and the city became the administrative capital of Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal city is part of the Bhopal Metropolitan Region supervised by the Municipal Corporation of Bhopal. Even though the princely title and the privy purses for the royalty were abolished by the Government of India in the year 1971, the titular Nawab of Pataudi is regarded by many as the head of the royal family of Bhopal. Following the death of his father, Mansoor Ali Mian Pataudi, popular Bollywood actor Saif Ali Mian Pataudi ascended to the title of Nawab of Pataudi.

In December 1984, Bhopal experienced a tragedy and was thrust into international spotlight. A leak from Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide manufacturing plant on the night of December 2 released deadly methyl isocyanate gas that killed thousands of people, affecting thousands more at the genetic level - children born after the tragedy carried signs of genetic mutation. Livestock were killed, injured, and infected. Businesses were interrupted. The environment was polluted and the ecology affected with flora and fauna disturbed. Such was the enormity of the tragedy that all available instruments in the field of health care, administration, and law were found to be inadequate. The Bhopal disaster spurred sociopolitical debates at the world stage, and new safety measures became mandatory inclusions in industries. In 1985, the Department of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation was created under the charge of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister to undertake the colossal task of relief and rehabilitation of the victims of the tragedy. Though the state government has doled out over INR 360 million, the survivors’ fight for fair compensation from the Union Carbide is still on.

In 2015, Bhopal became one of only 20 cities to be picked in the first round of Smart Cities Mission of the Government of India. For two consecutive years, 2017 and 2018, Bhopal city has been rated as India’s second-best clean city in India.

Geography and natural resources-. Bhopal is called the “City of Lakes” and is considered one of the greenest cities in India. The district has an area of 2,772 km2; it is bounded by the district of Guna to the north, Vidisha to the northeast, Raisen to the east and southeast, Sehore to the southwest and west, and Rajgarh toward the northwest. The Bhopal district has two tehsils: Berasia and Huzur. The city of Bhopal lies in the southern part of the district and the larger part of the population resides within Bhopal Municipal area.

Bhopal district has a total forest area of only 329 km2. While Bhopal may not have as dense a forest cover as the rest of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal city still has many thriving pockets of natural beauty. There are two main lakes around which the modern city of Bhopal has developed: the Upper Lake (locally called the Bada Taal) and the Lower Lake. On the bank of the Upper Lake is the Van Vihar National Park, which is home to white tigers, leopards, and other fauna.

Cultural heritage: Hindi is the official language of the state and of the city. However, there is a special dialect, known as Bhopali Bakar, which is used in different parts of Bhopal. During the period of Nawabs and Nizams, Persian used to be the royal household language in the city. Because of the long period of peaceful reign of the Begums, there was great cultural advancement and the Urdu language flourished in the region. It is still the second most widely spoken language in Bhopal. There are many other communities such as Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, and Sindhi. English also plays an important language in the city which is mostly used by the urban population.

The citizens of Bhopal are passionate about every form of art - dance, music, and paintings. “Kadiak” is the most popular traditional dance form. Music forms are mainly of three kinds: tribal, bhakti, and countryside styles. Food is a major part of life for Bhopal, and the amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim cultures is also seen in Bhopal’s famous vegetarian and nonvegetarian dishes like Bhopali Murgh Razala, Bhopali Gosht Korma, Murgh Nizami, Murgh Нага Masala, and Paneer Rezalaor. Eating “paan” (Betel leaf) is another unique part of the Bhopali food culture.

The state’s tribal museum has fossils, paintings, and rare Jain sculptures. Taj-ul-Masjid is one of Asia’s largest mosques, with white domes, minarets, and a huge courtyard. Bharat Bhavan is the main cultural center of the city; it has an art gallery and an open-air amphitheater facing the Upper Lake. From time to time, cultural shows and festivals are organized here. Diwali and Eid are the major festivals celebrated in Bhopal.

Demography: According to the census of 2011, the district of Bhopal has a population of 2.37 million (see Table 3.1). The district has a population density of 855 citizens per square kilometer (2,210/square miles). Bhopal city is the 17th most populous city in India with a population of 1.79 million. The population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 28.5%. Bhopal has a sex ratio of918 females for every 1,000 males, and the literacy rate is 80.4%.

Climate: Bhopal has a subtropical climate with hot and humid summer and cool but dry winter. The average temperature of the city during the day is around 30°C, whereas in the month of May, the temperatures can rise to 41°C. Monsoon months usually stretch from mid-June till the end of September. The total rainfall of the city does not rise above 1,200 mm with frequent thunderstorms but not much flooding. In October, the temperature starts falling and winter temperatures average around 16°C.

Table 3.1 Population Census Details of Bhopal District




Population (%)



Total Population



Sex Ratio



Child Sex Ratio (0-6)



Child Percentage (0-6)



Male Child (0-6) Percentage



Female Child (0-6) Percentage



Average Literacy (%)



Male Literacy (%)



Female Literacy (%)



Bhopal Religion-wise Data






















Source: Compiled by the authors from the 2011 census data at the Government of India website,

Socioeconomic condition: Bhopal district has a substantial population of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST), the aboriginals, and other backward castes (OBC) households, both rural and urban (see Table 3.1). In 2011, a total of 3,066 families lived on footpaths or without any roof cover in Bhopal district of Madhya Pradesh. The total population of all who lived without a roof at the time of census 2011 was 9,281 - that approximates to 0.4% of the total district population.

The per capita income in Bhopal district for the year 2012-2013 was INR 49,979, which is close to double that of the entire Madhya Pradesh state (at INR 25,463). Table 3.2 provides an overview of the government schemes that have been introduced in Bhopal over the past few years and that are currently functional.

For a city to have a thriving business, it is essential that the city enjoys considerable stability in terms of law and order as well as a certain ease of doing business. The major industries in the Old City are electrical goods, medicinal, cotton, chemicals, and jewelry. Other industries include cotton and flour milling, cloth weaving and painting, as well as making matches, sealing wax, and sporting equipment. The residents of Bhopal also engage in large retail businesses. Handicrafts like zardozi and batua (a small string purse, usually used with Indian traditional dresses) are some of the products of the Old City.

Table 3.2 Government Schemes Functional in Bhopal District


Schemes Introduced


Public Services Deliver)' Guarantees Act, 2010 - the delivery of public services to citizen in a stipulated time frame


Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Scheme - the state’s sincere concerns for providing support to its citizens in ever)' possible manner


Welfare schemes

  • • Mukhyamantri laborer’s security scheme
  • • Mukhyamantri Mandi Hammal (porter) security scheme
  • • Urban maid women’s welfare fund
  • • Senior citizen’s pilgrimage scheme
  • • Mukhyamantri farmer’s security scheme
  • • Mukhyamantri rural housing scheme
  • • Mukhyamantri Kanyavivah Yojana


Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojana - the objective is to provide financial help to poor, needy, destitute families for marrying off their daughter/widows/divorcees


Mukhyamantri Solar Pump Yojana - under CM solar pump scheme, the state government is providing huge subsidy up to 90% of the cost of solar pump to the farmers


Krishak Sahakari Rin Mitra Yojana Madhya Pradesh - loan repayment scheme for farmers


Mukhyamantri Kaushalya Yojana MP - the purpose of the scheme is to provide free skill training to women


Mukhyamantri Kaushal Samvardhan Yojana MP - the aim of this scheme is to provide free of cost skill training to the youth


Mukhyamantri Bhavantar Yojana Online Registration Form - the government is inviting online registrations from farmers for the Bhavantar Bhuvtan Yojana


Krishak Udhvami Yojana Loan Scheme for Farmers’ Children - an entrepreneurship scheme for the children of farmers


Single Click Pension Distribution Scheme


Deendayal Antyodaya Rasoi Yojana - wholesome meal at INR 5 only, providing food to poor people


Samarth Sangini Yojana, for safety of women


Deendayal Canteens


Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan


Maa Tujhe Pranam Yojana, 2017 - to encourage the youth about national games


Rural development schemes

  • • Swarnajayantigram Swarojgar Yojana - to provide sustainable income to poorest of the poor people living in rural and urban areas of the country
  • • Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana, previously it was Indira Awaas Yojana - it is a social welfare flagship program to provide housing for the rural poor in India
  • • Integrated Waste Land Development Program
  • • Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) - food security
  • • National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
  • • District Poverty Initiatives Project
  • • MP Gram in Agivika Pariyojana
  • • Backward Regions Grant Fund Program
  • • MP Rural Development Authority
  • • State Rural Road Connectivity
  • • CM Awas Yojana (Apna Ghar)
  • • Total Sanitary Campaign
  • • State Water and Sanitation Mission
  • • Biofuel Mission
  • • Panchayat - state finance commission grant in aid for basic service
  • • Panchayat - training and refresher course
  • • Panchayat - strengthening Gram Sabha

Table 3.2 Continued


Schemes Introduced


Agricultural schemes

  • • Agriculture Oilseed Production
  • • National Pulse Development Project
  • • Accelerated Maize Development Program
  • • Intensive cotton Development Program
  • • Surajdhara Scheme and Annapurna Scheme - introduced to meet the increasing demand of high yielding seeds. It has three components
  • 1. Seed exchange
  • 2. Seed Self Reliance
  • 3. Seed Production
  • • Mega food park
  • • National Crop Insurance Scheme
  • • Agriculture Extension Program
  • • National Project on Biogas Development
  • • Intensive Cotton Development Project
  • • State-level training center at Bhopal
  • • Participation of women in agriculture
  • • Training of SC/ST farmers
  • • Subsidy on bullock cart
  • • Information technology in agriculture
  • • Mukhyamantri Suraksha Yojana
  • • Balram Taal Yojana - for ensuring sustainable farming, by conservation of rain water in the field
  • • Khet Talab Yojana - availability of surface and groundwater for all-round agricultural development
  • • Development of commercial horticulture through production and post-harvest management scheme
  • • Scheme of establishment of nutritional gardens in rural areas
  • • Scheme of market information service for horticulture crops


Women and child development schemes

  • • Jabali scheme (Veshya vriti unmoolan) - the scheme for abolition of socially sanctioned prostitution was announced in 1992
  • • Balsanjeevani Abhivan Yojana - to improve the child mortality rate and infant mortality rate (IMR)
  • • Establishment of balbhawan
  • • Protection for women against domestic violence and help center
  • • Beti Bachao Abhivan
  • • Ladli laxmi scheme
  • • Development of special educational zone
  • • Nutrition program for adolescent girls (NPAG)
  • • Mangal diwas
  • • Project shaktiman scheme - addresses the critical issue of malnourishment in the predominantly tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh
  • • Tejeswini rural women empowerment project
  • • Integrated child protection services


Table 3.2 Continued


Schemes Introduced


Schemes for education

  • • Laadli Laxmi Yojana, 2006
  • • Mukhyamantri Vidushi Yojana for SC/ST students - government has set up coaching centers which will provide free tutoring for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) students in order to prepare them for national-level entrance examinations, along with the sports coaching facilities
  • • Free Laptop Yojana Madhya Pradesh scheme 2017 - students belonging to SC/

ST and backward class who have passed first class with 75% marks and above will be provided of laptops

  • • Shala Siddhi Prohatsan Yojana - to improve the quality of education in schools
  • • Rukjananahi Yojana scheme for 10th- and 12th-class failed students
  • • Schemes of vocationalization of secondary education
  • • Operation blackboard scheme
  • • Improvement in science education scheme - modernization scheme of madarsa education
  • • Integrated education for disabled children
  • • Computer literacy and study scheme in school (class project)
  • • Sanskrit education development scheme
  • • District primary education program
  • • Sana Shikha Abhiyan
  • • Education guarantee scheme
  • • Information technology scheme
  • • Education technology scheme


Schemes for health

  • • Disease control programs
  • • NRHM data center (National Rural Health Mission) - guidelines for research projects in area of public health and reproductive and child health (RCH-II)
  • • Innovative schemes and program interventions under NRHM integrated district health action plan
  • • Rajiv Gandhi community health mission
  • • Guidelines for NGO schemes
  • • Rogi Kalyan Samite/Hospital Management Society
  • • Dhanwantari Yojana - it provides better medical facilities to women, children, and economically poor persons
  • • Janani Express Yojana - the Janani Express Yojana aims at providing benefit of transportation to all the expectant mothers for their institutional deliveries
  • • Janani Suraksha Yojana - to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality by promoting institutional deliver)' among poor pregnant women
  • • Deendayal mobile hospital
  • • Deendayal Antyoday Upchar Yojana - seeks to provide social security coverage to the population belonging to the lower socioeconomic strata of the society and safeguard them from indebtedness arising out of illness
  • • Vijayaraje Janani Kalian Bima Yojana - a cash payment of INR 1,000 is disbursed while being discharged from the hospital for reimbursement of the expenditure incurred on the treatment during deliver)'. Upon the death of the mother due to delivery-related complications, the family is given assistance of INR 50,000 by the insurance company
  • • Construction of Primary Health Centre (PHC), Sub Health Centre (SHC) buildings help of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)


Table 3.2 Continued


Schemes Introduced


Schemes for infrastructure

  • • Housing scheme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
  • • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
  • • Urja Daksh LED Bulb Ujala Yojana - LED bulb distribution scheme
  • • Atal Ashraya Yojana housing scheme - under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
  • • Atal Jyoti power scheme - providing round-the-clock quality power supply in the district
  • • Development of national highway
  • • Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation Limited (MPRDC) funded by Asian Development Bank
  • • Construction of railway over/under bridges
  • • Strengthening/construction of capital approach road
  • • Road development corporation
  • • Urja Vikas Nigam
  • • Biomass
  • • Wind energy
  • • Rural electrification
  • • Solar hybrid system
  • • Solar photovoltaic
  • • Pollution control board
  • • Training program of statistical personnel
  • • Effective implementation of Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969


Employment schemes

  • • Prime minister’s employment generation program
  • • MP skill and quality improvement program - the scheme focuses on providing quality and in-demand skill training to youth of the state
  • • Mukhya Mantri Yuva Udyami Yojana - the objective of this scheme is to provide financial assistance for the establishment of manufacturing or service industry for all categories of people
  • • Berojgari Bhatta Yojana
  • • Mukhya Mantri Yuva Swarozgar Yojana

Source: Collated and compiled by the authors.

Bhopal is also home to the DB Corp, informally called the Bhaskar Group (named after its major publication Dainik Bhaskar), INR 17 billion business conglomerates with a strong presence in media. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the largest engineering and manufacturing enterprise in India, has a unit in Bhopal. It occupies a large area in the eastern part of the city and maintains a suburb named after it. Most residents of BHEL suburb have been employed by BHEL. Mandideep is another industrial suburb of Bhopal. It is located to the south of the city on the NH 12. Mandideep’s total exports are worth some INR 23 billion ($500 million; £300 million) per year, making it the largest industrial area in Madhya Pradesh. Hindustan Electro Graphite (HEG) and Lupin Laboratories Ltd. are the largest companies in the suburb, each exports worth around INR 9 billion. Please see Table 3.3 for a list of companies in the district of Bhopal. As the District Collector of Bhopal, the Collector had to interact with the corporate representatives on administrative issues and the CSR activities undertaken by the companies in Bhopal.

Table 3.3 Major Companies in Bhopal District

List of Corporates with Operations in Bhopal District


Hindustan Electro Graphite

Bharat Heavy Electricals

Impetus Technologies

Bharat Petroleum

Indian Oil


Kirloskar Brothers

Coal India


Crompton Greaves

National Thermal Power


Reliance Industries

Eicher Motors

Reliance Power


Tata Consultancy Sendees


Tata Motors

Source: Compiled by the authors.

Table 3.4 Madhya Pradesh State, Disability Census 2011

Age Group

0-4 years

5-9 years












Visual impairment



Flearing impairment



Speech/Communication Disability



Mobility/Physical Disability



Developmental disability



Mental Health Disability



Multiple disability



Source: Compiled by the authors using the census data from the Government of India, 2011.

Role perception of the Collector and DM: The District Collector (DC) more commonly known as the DM has three major functions, namely, revenue, magisterial, and developmental. Apart from these major functions, many miscellaneous functions are also entrusted to him or her by the state and central governments. Revenue administration has been a major function of the DM since independence. However, with a considerable change in the nature of the state from police rule to development and welfare, a DM’s role has shifted in the direction of development, that is, to implement all development programs in the district. Please see Table 3.4 for major responsibilities that a DM is typically assigned to.

According to 2017-2019 period Bhopal DM, Sudani Khade:

A DM’s role can be segregated into three parts - Developmental work including site visits is prime way to deal with project actions; another part is Regulatory that requires good knowledge of revenue and law and order; lastly, cultural ethos of particular state has to be ingrained by the person.

Sudani Kliade’s comment also highlights the fact that a DM’s roles are not static in nature. Often a DM must give up playing by the book and instead play by the ear like a fireman dealing with a hostile, ever-evolving fire. Nishant Warwade, DM of Bhopal (2013-2017), the protagonist of the district case study reiterates the same when he says that situations, particularly law and order situations, are full of uncertainty:

Той never know the future uncertainties of such law and order situations. These jobs need remarkably high energy levels. Further, it is quite demanding; as soon as the public sees the District Collector, they will put their requests for some work or the other.

Nishant Warwade is a 2003 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service1 (IAS). He was assigned Madhya Pradesh state cadre. He also happens to be a domicile of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh (MP). He had his schooling in different districts of MP as his father was an IPS officer of MP Cadre. He graduated as a BTech from Regional Engineering College, Calicut, and postgraduated as an MTech from Moulana Azad National Institute of Technology', Bhopal.

He started his career as the District Collector of Hoshangabad district in 2009. After about three years of working as the District Magistrate and Collector of Hoshangabad district, he served as Deputy Secretary in General Administration and Health and Family Welfare departments for about a year during 2012-2013. He was then appointed as the District Collector of Bhopal, the state capital of MP, where he served in this capacity during 2013-2017. He was then appointed as Collector of Indore District, where he served during 2017-2018. Now he has been posted as Commissioner, Medical Education, Government of Madhya Pradesh. The cases that are being discussed here pertain to Nishant Warwade as the District Magistrate and Collector of Bhopal District.

The Chief Minister, Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan, was quite impressed with Warwade’s works as Hoshangabad Collector, especially in the field of health care. For his work in Hoshangabad district, the Chief Minister of MP state honored Mr. Warwade with an award of excellence in public service in the year 2014.

Mr. Warwade’s spouse Dr. Amita Chand has been a doctor by profession and has worked extensively in the public health sector. Currently she is the president of Bhopal Runners Association as well as the Chairperson of Bhopal Organ Donation Society. She has been a constant source of support to Mr. Warwade in his public health sector development endeavors.

Focus of study and research methodology. The district of Bhopal has been studied for the period 2014-2017. In the four key interventions that we examine in detail, we strive not only to understand the challenges that a DM of a modern Indian city faces but also the qualities that are required in a DM in order to overcome those challenges. During this period, Nishant Warwade was the District Magistrate and Collector. In July 2017, Sudani Khade took charge from Nishant Warwade.

Participator)' methods of research used included interviews, shadowing the DM 24x7, and focus group discussions with key stakeholders (both in the government and otherwise) to understand the functionality, processes, and impact. Applied components indicated that the cases were being recorded for informing and guiding further replication; thus, it was a strategy-oriented documentation, supported by both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Primary research was conducted in June 2017 over a week where the researchers shadowed the DM, Nishant Warwade. Interviews were also conducted with technical experts involved in direct service delivery, including a few focused group discussions with beneficiaries. The process of documentation also involved secondary data collection from various sources.

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