Earlier in India, there were only two levels of governments – the center and the states. But in 1992 the system of urban local self-government was introduced. Municipalities in India is the urban local self-government;

In this article we will discuss the history of Municipalities in India, its types, constitutional provisions, present scenario in a simple and easy way.

So read this article till the end and also read all related articles of local self-government to understand the whole concept very well. join our social media handle for latest articles and audio-media visuals.

Municipalities in India

Municipalities in India

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History of Municipalities in India

If we look at the urban development in modern India, during the British period, in 1687-88, India’s first municipal corporation was established in Madras. After that in 1726 Municipal Corporations were also established in Bombay and Calcutta.

In the early nineteenth century, almost all cities in India experienced some form of municipal administration.

Municipal Corporation or rather urban local self-government received a lot of impetus when Lord Mayo adopted the principle of financial decentralization in 1870 and later in 1882 the then Viceroy of India, Lord Ripon, (who is known as the father of local self-government). It is known that in India) passed a resolution for local self-government which lead to democratic forms of municipal governance in India.

Then after this the Royal Commission on Decentralization was appointed in 1907 under the chairmanship of Hobb House to make recommendations on the separation of powers, to whom it submitted its report in 1909.

In 1919, the Government of India Act incorporated the resolution requirement and the powers of a democratically elected government were created. Another act of the Government of India in 1935 brought local government under the preview of the state or provincial government and given specific powers.

Like the Panchayati Raj system, many committees and commissions were formed from time to time by the central government to improve the functioning of local city government after independence. Ultimately, that journey came to an end in 1992 when the local urban government was given constitutional recognition by the 74th Constitutional Amendment. It happened something like this.

Present system of Municipality in India

Just as the 73rd amendment to the constitution in 1992 brought the Panchayati Raj system under local government , similarly another amendment took place in 1992 itself i.e. 74th constitutional amendment and urban local self-government under it.

After independence, the rapidly growing cities increased the need for urban self-government, but since there was no such system in the constitution, this system was inserted in it by amending the constitution. It is important to know here that what is a city? In fact, the city is called the place where 75% or more of the population group (male) are engaged in non-agricultural activities.

Through the amendment, a new part 9 ‘A’ was included in the constitution, under which the provisions of urban self-government from Articles 243P to 243ZG were included and this entire chapter was named ” Municipalities ” .

Along with this, a 12th Schedule was also added to the Constitution under Article 243W, in which 18 executive subjects of municipalities are mentioned. That is, these are the subjects on which the municipalities can govern. You can see these topics below.

Subjects mentioned in the 12th Schedule

It contains 18 functional themes with municipal functions:

1. Urban planning including town planning,
2. Regulation of land use and construction of buildings
3. Economic and social development planning
4. Roads and bridges,
5. Water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes
6. Public health, sanitation, cleaning and garbage management,
7. Fire fighting services
8. Municipal forestry, environmental protection and promotion of ecological dimensions,
9. Protection of interests of weaker sections of the society, Including mentally ill and handicapped patients,
10. Improvement of slums,
11. Urban poverty alleviation,
12. Arrangement of urban amenities like parks, gardens, playgrounds,
13. Promotion of cultural, educational and aesthetic aspects,
14. Cremation, cremation and electric crematorium,
15. Prohibition of cruelty to animals,
16. Vital statistics related to birth and death,
17. Public facilities including electricity on roads, Bus stand and public facilities are included,
18. Regulation of slaughterhouses and tanneries.

Remember here that the provision of Panchayati Raj system has been made from Article 243A to Article 243O of this Article. So overall urban governance means a government made up of representatives elected by the people of the urban area. What is the jurisdiction of the elected city government in the city, it is decided by the government of that state.

There are many forms of urban local governance, such as Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council, Municipality, Notified Area Committee, Urban area committee, Cantonment Board, Port trust and Special purpose agency, etc.

By the way, under Article 243Q, the following three types of composition of municipalities have been provided:

1. Nagar Panchayat – for the changed area, that is, the area which comes in the event of change from rural area to urban area.

2. Municipal Council – for small urban areas

3. Municipal Corporation – for large urban areas. This part of Urban Local Governance is explained in a separate article – Types of Urban Local Governance

Constitutionalization of Urban Local Self-Government

The Rajiv Gandhi government, during its reign, introduced the 65th Constitutional Amendment in the Lok Sabha in August 1989. The basic objective of this amendment bill was to give constitutional status to urban local government and to provide security to it. It was passed in Lok Sabha but it could not be passed in Rajya Sabha. In 1990, VP Singh’s government also tried to bring it, but the government itself fell and again it got stuck.

Then the next attempt was made by the PV Narasimha Rao government in September 1991, they introduced the 74th Constitution Amendment Bill in the House for this purpose and this time it was passed by both the houses and took the form of a law after the President’s signature. And this time called the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, which came into force from 1 June 1993. So finally here the shape urban local government became a reality.

Salient Features of the 74th Amendment Act of 1992

We have also discussed above that Article 243P to Article 243ZG has been included in the Constitution under this Act, whose features are as follows:

Article 243P defines some terms related to local self-government. Such as – (1) Committee or Council shall be called that which is written in article 243S. (2) Metropolitan area will be called that place whose population is more than 10 lakhs and covers 1 or more districts or two or more municipalities come under it. (3) A municipality is a self-governing body as stated under article 243Q, etc.

Article 243Q provides for the composition of the following three types of municipalities: 1. Nagar Panchayat – for the changed area, that is, the area which is changing from rural area to urban area. 2. Municipal Council – for small urban areas 3. Municipal Corporation – for large urban areas.

municipal structure

Under Article 243R, all the members of a municipality shall be directly elected by the people of the municipal area. For this purpose, each of the municipalities will be divided into constituencies, which will be called wards.

The State Legislature also makes arrangements for the representation of the following persons in the municipality. 1. A person who has special knowledge or experience in the administration of the municipality (but such person will not have the right to vote in the municipal assembly). 2. Members of the Lok Sabha or the State Legislative Assembly representing constituencies in which the whole or part of the municipal area is covered. 3. Members of Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Council who are registered as voters in the city area. 4. President of the Committee (other than Ward Committees).

Also how the Speaker of the State Legislature, Municipality will be elected; can determine that too.

Constitution and composition of Ward Committee – Under Article 243S, there shall be a ward committee consisting of one or more wards under the area of a municipality having a population of three lakh or more. The State Legislature may make provisions with respect to the composition, area and filling of posts in the Ward Committee. It may also make provision for the ward committee as well as the composition of the committee.

Reservation of seats

Under Article 243T, this Act provides for reservation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in each municipality in proportion to their population and the population of the total municipal area.

Apart from this, one-third of the total seats will be reserved for women (including reserved seats related to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe women).

The state legislature can prescribe the law for the reservation of the post of chairperson in municipalities for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women.

The State Legislature can also make provision for the reservation of backward castes in any municipality or the post of president.

Municipal tenure

Under Article 243U, this Act sets the tenure of each municipality to 5 years. However, it can also be terminated before its term. But after doing this a new municipality will be formed. There are two situations here; 1. If less than 6 months are left for the next election and then the municipality is dissolved then there is no need to hold elections. But, (2) if the municipality is dissolved before five years and the time for re-election is more than 6 months, then the election shall be held again, but this newly constituted municipality shall not be for five years but for the same remaining period. which was left during that term.

Disqualifications for Members

Elected under Article 243V or elected members of a Municipality may be disqualified in the following situations: 1. Under any law in force for the purpose of election to the Legislature of the State concerned. 2. Under any law made by the State Legislation, a person who is not yet below the age of 25 years shall be disqualified if he has completed the age of 21 years. After this, all the disputes related to disqualification can be presented only before the officers appointed by the state legislation.

The State Legislature can make provisions on all matters relating to the election of municipalities.

Powers and Responsibilities of Municipality

The State Legislature can give such powers and authority to the municipalities as required so that the self-government institution is capable of functioning as a healthy government institution. Such planning places the powers and responsibilities of the municipalities at the appropriate level, which are to: 1. To formulate programs of economic development and social justice. 2. To implement the programs of economic development and social justice entrusted to them, including 18 matters of the 12th Schedule.

Taxing power and municipal funds

Under Article 243X, the state legislature can give powers to levy the following taxes 1. Power to collect taxes, levy the above assessment, octroi, passenger tax, duty to the municipality 2. It empowers the municipalities to collect taxes, octroi, toll and duty by the state government can assign work. 3. Grants are provided in the form of assistance to the municipalities from the Consolidated Fund of the State. 4 All the money deposited in the municipalities can devise methods of collection.

Finance Commission

Under Article 243Y, the Finance Commission will also review the financial condition of the municipalities every 5 years and make the following recommendations to the Governor. 1. The principles which shall govern: (a) the distribution of the total taxes, octroi, tolls and collected fees collected by the State Government among the State and the Municipalities. (b) the determination of taxes, tolls, and fees that may be assigned to municipalities. (c) Grants-in-aid to municipalities from the Consolidated Fund of the State.

2. Necessary measures for the improvement of the financial position of the municipality. The Governor shall present the recommendations made by the Commission and the action taken report before the State Legislature.

Remember here that the Central Finance Commission can also advise about the measures needed to supplement the municipalities in the State for augmenting the Consolidated Fund of the State.

audit of accounts of municipalities

Under Article 243Z, the State Legislature can make provisions with respect to the maintenance of accounts of municipalities and the audit of such accounts.

municipal election

Under Article 243ZA, the supervision, direction and control of the election process and the management of all elections to the municipalities shall be under the authority of the State Election Commission.

Applicable to Union Territories

Under Article 243ZB, the President of India may give directions for the application of the provisions of this Act to any Union Territory, except with such exemptions and modifications as he may deem specific.

exempted area

Under Article 243ZC, this Act does not apply to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes areas of the States. In addition, this Act does not affect the powers and proceedings of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council of West Bengal.

district planning committee

Under Article 243ZD, every state shall constitute a District Planning Committee at the district level, which will organize the plans prepared by the panchayats and municipalities and prepare a draft development plan at the district level. The State Legislature may make the following provisions in this regard. 1. Composition of such committees. 2. The manner of election of the members of these committees. 3. Work in relation to district planning of these committees. 4. The manner of election of the chairman of these committees.

According to this act, four-fifths of the members of the District Planning Committee shall be elected by the elected members of the District Panchayat and Municipality from amongst themselves. The number of these members of the committee should be in proportion to the rural and urban population of the district.

The chairman of such committees will submit the development plans to the state government.

While preparing the draft development plan, the District Planning Committee shall take into account the following,

1. In this regard, (a) Matters of common interest between Panchayats and Municipalities, such as sharing of water and other physical and natural resources, coordinated development of infrastructure and protection of the environment. (2) The measure of available resources of financial or other nature.

2. Consult such institutions and organizations as the Governor may direct.

metropolitan planning committee

There shall be a Metropolitan Planning Committee to prepare the draft development plan in each metropolitan area under Article 243ZE . The State Legislature may make the following provisions in this regard: (a) the composition of such committees, (b) the manner of election of the members of these committees, (c) the representation of the Central Government, the State Government and other such institutions in these committees. which is necessary for its proper functioning, (d) the functions of these committees in relation to the planning and coordination for the metropolitan areas, (e) the manner of election of the chairman in these committees.

Under this Act, 2/3 members of the Metropolitan Planning Committee shall be elected by the elected members of the municipality and the presidents of the panchayats in the metropolitan area from among themselves. The number of these members of the committee should be proportional to the population of the municipality and panchayats in that metropolitan area.

The chairman of such committees will send the development plan to the state government. While preparing the draft development plan, the Metropolitan Planning Committee shall take care of the following: 1. In this regard,

(a) The plans prepared by the municipalities and panchayats in the metropolitan area. (b) Matters in common interests between municipalities and panchayats such as coordinated planning, sharing of water and other physical and natural modifications, coordinated development of infrastructure and environmental protection. (c) Goals and priorities set by the Government of India and the State Government. (d) the size and nature of investment to be made by the Government of India or the State Government in the metropolitan area and the financial and other resources available.

2. Seek advice from such institutions and associations as the Governor may direct.

Continuity of current laws and municipalities

Under Article 243ZF, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, the States shall adopt the new system of municipalities based on this Act within a maximum period of one year from 1st June, 1993. However, all municipalities in existence prior to the coming into force of this Act shall continue unless the State Legislature dissolves them.

Prohibition on interference of court in election related matters

The Act, under Article 243ZG, prohibits the interference of courts in matters relating to elections to municipalities.

Here is the current status of municipalities in India, apart from this, understand how many types of urban local government are there in India, in the next article. The link is given below.

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