Municipal governance in India
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Municipal governance in India

Municipal governance in India has
existed since the year 1687, with the formation of Madras Municipal
Corporation, and then Calcutta and Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1726. In
the early part of the nineteenth century almost all towns in India had
experienced some form of municipal governance. In 1882 the then Viceroy of
India, Lord Ripon’s resolution of local self-government laid the democratic
forms of municipal governance in India. In 1919, a Government of India act
incorporated the need of the resolution and the powers of democratically elected
government were formulated. In 1935 another Government of India act brought
local government under the purview of the state or provincial government and
specific powers were given. History
According to the 1991 Census of India, there were 3255 urban local bodies in
the country; classified into the four major categories of:
Municipal corporation Municipality
Town area committee Notified area committee
The municipal corporations and municipalities are fully representative
bodies, while the notified area committees and town area committees are
either fully or partially nominated bodies.
As per the Constitution of India, 74th Amendment Act of 1992, the latter two
categories of towns are to be designated as municipalities or nagar panchayats
with elected bodies. Until the amendments in state municipal
legislations, which were mostly made in 1994, municipal authorities were
organised on an ultra vires basis and the state governments were free to
extend or control the functional sphere through executive decisions without an
amendment to the legislative provisions. After the 74th Amendment was enacted
there are only three categories of urban local bodies:
Mahanagar nigam Nagar palika
Nagar panchayat This article provides that there be a
nagar panchayat for transitional areas i.e. an area in transition from rural to
urban, a municipality for a smaller urban area, and a municipal corporation
for a larger urban area. Article 243Q of the 74th Amendment requires that
municipal areas shall be declared having regard to the population of the area,
the density of population therein, the revenue generated for local
administration, the percentage of employment in non-agricultural
activities, the economic importance or such other factors as may be specified
by the state government by public notification for this purpose.
Among all urban local governments, municipal corporations enjoy a greater
degree of fiscal autonomy and functions although the specific fiscal and
functional powers vary across the states, these local governments have
larger populations, a more diversified economic base, and deal with the state
governments directly. On the other hand, municipalities have less autonomy,
smaller jurisdictions and have to deal with the state governments through the
Directorate of Municipalities or through the collector of a district. These local
bodies are subject to detailed supervisory control and guidance by the
state governments. Responsibilities of urban local bodies
The municipal bodies of India are vested with a long list of functions delegated
to them by the state governments under the municipal legislation. These
functions broadly relate to public health, welfare, regulatory functions,
public safety, public infrastructure works, and development activities.
Public health includes water supply, sewerage and sanitation, eradication of
communicable diseases etc.; welfare includes public facilities such as
education, recreation, etc.; regulatory functions related to prescribing and
enforcing building regulations, encroachments on public land, birth
registration and death certificate, etc.; public safety includes fire
protection, street lighting, etc.; public works measures such as
construction and maintenance of inner city roads, etc.; and development
functions related to town planning and development of commercial markets. In
addition to the legally assigned functions, the sectoral departments of
the state government often assign unilaterally, and on an agency basis,
various functions such as family planning, nutrition and slum
improvement, disease and epidemic control, etc.
The Twelfth Schedule of Constitution provides an illustrative list of
eighteen functions, that may be entrusted to the municipalities.
Besides the traditional core functions of municipalities, it also includes
development functions like planning for economic development and social justice,
urban poverty alleviation programs and promotion of cultural, educational and
aesthetic aspects. However, conformity legislation enacted by the state
governments indicate wide variations in this regard. Whereas Bihar, Gujarat,
Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Manipur, Punjab and Rajasthan have included all
the functions as enlisted in the Twelfth Schedule in their amended state
municipal laws, Andhra Pradesh has not made any changes in the existing list of
municipal functions. Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha,
Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal states have amended their
municipal laws to add additional functions in the list of municipal
functions as suggested in the twelfth schedule.
There is a lot of difference in the assignment of obligatory and
discretionary functions to the municipal bodies among the states. Whereas
functions like planning for the social and economic development, urban forestry
and protection of the environment and promotion of ecological aspects are
obligatory functions for the municipalities of Maharashtra, in
Karnataka these are discretionary functions.
Provision of water supply and sewerage in several states has either been taken
over by the state governments or transferred to state agencies. For
example in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, water supply and sewerage
works are being carried out by the state level Public Health Engineering
Department or Water Supply and Sewerage Boards, while liability for repayment of
loans and maintenance are with the municipalities. Besides these state
level agencies, City Improvement Trusts and Urban Development Authorities, like
Delhi Development Authority, have been set up in a number of cities. These
agencies usually undertake land acquisition and development works, and
take up remunerative projects such as markets and commercial complexes, etc.
The Municipal bodies in most cases have been left only with the functions of
garbage collection, garbage disposal, street lighting, construction and
maintenance of roads, etc. In terms of fiscal federalism, functions
whose benefits largely confine to municipal jurisdictions and may be
termed as the essentially municipal functions. Similarly, functions that
involve substantial economics of scale or are of national interest may not be
assigned to small local bodies. For valid reasons, certain functions of
higher authorities are appropriate to be entrusted with the Municipalities – as
if under principal-agent contracts and may be called agency functions that need
to be financed by intergovernmental revenues. Thus instead of continuing the
traditional distinction between obligatory and discretionary functions
the municipal responsibilities may be grouped into essentially municipal,
joint and agency functions.=Suggested municipal functions=
The suggested functions to municipal corporations, municipalities and nagar
panchayats are listed in the table below.
Nagar Nigam/ Mahanagar Palika Nagar Nigam a.k.a Mahanagar Palika or by
some other names in different states(translated in english as
Municipal Corporation) in India are state government formed departments that
works for the development of a metropolitan city, which has a
population of more than 1 million. The growing population and urbanisation in
various cities of India were in need of a local governing body that can work for
providing necessary community services like health centres, educational
institutes and housing and property tax. They are formed under the Corporations
Act of 1835 of panchayati raj system which mainly deals in providing
essential services in every small town as well as village of a district/city.
Their elections are held once in five year and the people choose the
candidates. The largest corporations are in the eight metropolitan cities of
India, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad
and Pune. These cities not only have a large population, but are also the
administrative as well as commercial centres of the country.
Municipality In India, a Nagar Palika or Municipality
or is an urban local body that administers a city of population 100,000
but less than 1,000,000. However, there are exceptions to that, as previously
nagar palikas were constituted in urban centers with population over 20,000 so
all the urban bodies which were previously classified as Nagar palika
were reclassified as Nagar palika even if their population was under 100,000.
Under the Panchayati Raj system, it interacts directly with the state
government, though it is administratively part of the district it
is located in. Generally smaller district cities and bigger towns have a
Nagar palika. Nagar palikas are also a form of local self-government, entrusted
with some duties and responsibilities, as enshrined and guided upon by the
ConstitutionalAct,1992. The members of the Nagar palika are
elected representatives for a term of five years. The town is divided into
wards according to its population, and representatives are elected from each
ward. The members elect a president among themselves to preside over and
conduct meetings. A chief officer, along with officers like an engineer, sanitary
inspector, health officer and education officer who come from the state public
service are appointed by the state government to control the administrative
affairs of the Nagar Palika. Notified Area Council
A Nagar Panchayat or Notified Area Council or City Council is a form of an
urban political unit in India comparable to a municipality. An urban centre with
more than 11,000 and less than 25,000 inhabitants is classified as a “Nagar
Panchayat”. Each Nagar Panchayat has a committee
consisting of a chairman with ward members. Membership consists of a
minimum of ten elected ward members and three nominated members. The N.A.C.
members of the Nagar Panchayat are elected from the several wards of the
Nagar Panchayat on the basis of adult franchise for a term of five years.
There are seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward
classes and women. The Councillors or Ward Members chosen by direct election
from electoral wards in the Nagar Panchayat.
See also List of municipal corporations in India
Local self-government in India References
External links Official site of Tiruchirappalli
Municipal Corporation Official site of Ministry of panchayat
Raj, Govt of India Official site of Bruhat Bengaluru
Mahanagara Palike, Govt of India Official site of Bruhat Bengaluru
Mahanagara Palike, Govt of India

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