Urban Local Bodies reform - An Introduction
- In view of the resource requirement to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had enhanced the borrowing limit of the States by 2 percent of their Gross States Domestic Product (GSDP).
- Half of this special dispensation was linked to undertaking citizen centric reforms by the States.
- The States get permission to raise additional funds equivalent to 0.25 percent of GSDP on completion of reforms in each sector.
- The four citizen centric areas identified for reforms were
- Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System,
- Ease of doing business reform,
- Urban Local body/ utility reforms
- Power Sector reforms.
Reforms in the urban local bodies
Aim for these steps
- Financial strenghtening of ULBs in the State
- To enable them to provide better public health and sanitation services.
- Economically rejuvenated ULBs will also be able to create good civic infrastructure.
Steps to be taken by State Government
The State will notify
floor rates of property tax in ULBs which are in consonance with the prevailing circle rates.
floor rates of user charges in respect of the provision of water-supply, drainage and sewerage which reflect current costs/ past inflation.
- The State will put in place a system of periodic increase in floor rates of property tax/ user charges in line with price increases.
Rewards for the State
- The State becomes eligible to mobilise additional financial resources through Open Market Borrowings.
Urban Local Bodies
- Urban Local government implies the governance of an urban area by the people through their elected representatives.
- 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 provided constitutional status to local urban bodies.
- This act added
- A new part IX-A to the Constitution entitled as ‘The Municipalities’
- A new Twelfth Schedule containing 18 functional items for municipalities.
Provisions in the act
- The main provisions of this Act can be grouped under two categories–
- Constitution of
- Nagar panchayats in transitional areas (areas in transition from a rural area to urban area)
- municipal councils in smaller urban areas
- municipal corporations in larger urban areas
- Reservation of seats in urban local bodies for Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes roughly in proportion to their population
- Reservation of seats for women up to one-third seats
- State Election Commission, constituted in order to conduct elections
- panchayati raj bodies
- urban local self- governing bodies
- The State Finance Commission, constituted to deal with financial affairs of the
- Panchayati Raj bodies
- local urban self governing bodies
- Tenure of urban local self-governing bodies is fixed at five years
- in case of earlier dissolution fresh elections are to be held within six months.
- Constitution of
- Giving representation to members of the Union and State Legislatures in these bodies;
- Providing reservation for backward classes;
- Giving financial powers in relation to taxes, duties, tolls and fees etc;
- Making the municipal bodies autonomous and devolution of powers to these bodies to perform some or all of the functions enumerated in the Twelfth Schedule
- The Municipal bodies are constituted of persons chosen by direct election from the territorial constituencies (known as wards) in the municipal area.
- Legislature of a State may, by law, provide for the representation in a municipal body
- persons having special knowledge or experience of municipal administration,
- the members of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and the members of Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly of the State, representing constituencies, which comprise wholly or partly the Municipal Area.
- The state legislature may also provide the manner of the election of the Chairpersons of a municipality.
- The offices of chairperson are also reserved for SC/ST and women.
- Thus, at least one year, out of five year duration of Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the office of Mayor is reserved for a woman, and for one year is reserved for a Councillor of Scheduled Caste.
- On the basis of functions the organization of Municipality or Corporations have 2 parts
- The corporation, council or municipal board or council consisting of the elected representatives of the people.
- It acts like a legislature.
- It discusses and debates on general municipal policies and performance.
- It passes the budget of the urban local body.
- It frames broad policies relating to taxation, resources raising, pricing of services and other aspects of municipal administration.
- It keeps an eye on municipal administration and holds the executive accountable.
- It is looked after by the municipal officers and other permanent employees.
- In the corporations, the Municipal Commissioner is the executive head, and all other departmental officers like engineers, finance officers, health officers etc. function under his/her control and supervision.
- In a large corporation, such as Delhi or Mumbai Municipal Corporation, the Commissioner is usually a senior IAS officer.
- In municipalities, the executive officer holds a similar position and looks after the overall administration of a municipality.
Types of Urban Local Bodies in India
- Municipal Corporation
- Municipal corporations are created for the administration of big cities like Delhi, Mumbai etc.
- A Municipal Corporation has three authorities namely,
- The council (legislative wing of the corporation) – The council consist of councillors directly elected by people and is headed by a Mayor,
- The standing committee (to facilitate the working of the council)
- The commissioner (chief executive authority of the corporation) – Commissioner is appointed by state government and is generally an IAS officer.
- These are established for the administration of towns and smaller cities.
- Also known as municipal council, municipal committee, municipal board, borough municipality, city municipality.
- They are quite similar to municipal corporations
- Here head of council is called President /chairman
- In place of commissioner they have a chief executive officer/chief municipal officer.
- Notified Area Committee
- It is created for the administration of two types of areas-
- a fast developing town due to industrialization
- a town which does not yet fulfill all the conditions necessary for the constitution of a municipality but considered important by state government.
- It it is created by a notification (neither a statutory body (created by law) nor an elected body)
- Unlike the municipality it is an entirely nominated body
- all members, including the Chairman, are nominated by the state government.
- It is created for the administration of two types of areas-
- Town Area Committee
- It is set up by a separate act of state legislature for the administration of a small town.
- It is a semi-municipal authority entrusted with limited number of civic functions.
- It may be wholly elected or wholly nominated or partly elected and partly nominated as provided by state government.
- Cantonment Board
- It is established for municipal administration for civilian population in the cantonment areas.
- It is set up under the provisions of the Cantonment Act, 2006 by central government.
- It works under Defence ministry of central government.
- It is partly elected and partly nominated body
- It has the Military officer commanding the station as its ex-officio President.
- Vice president is elected amongst by the elected members of board.
- The executive officer of the cantonment board is appointed by the President of India.
- It is established by large public enterprises to provide civic amenities to its staff and workers.
- It is not an elected body and all members, including the town administrator, is appointed by the enterprise itself.
- Port Trust
- The port trusts are established in the port areas like Mumbai, Kolkata etc.
- It’s purposes are
- To manage and protect the ports;
- To provide civic amenities.
- It is created by an Act of Parliament and it consists of both elected and nominated members.
- Special Purpose Agency
- The states have set up certain agencies to undertake designated activities or specific functions that legitimately belong to the domain of Urban Local Bodies.
- They are known as ‘single purpose’, ‘uni-purpose’ or ‘special purpose’ or ‘functional local bodies’.
- Example- town improvement trust, housing boards, pollution control boards etc.
- They are established as statutory bodies by an act of state legislature or as departments by an executive resolution.
- They function as an autonomous body and are not subordinate agencies to local municipal bodies.