Wednesday, 3 February 2016


As Panchayati Raj System is meant for rural area, similarly there are institutions of urban
local government. There are three types of urban local bodies – 
(a) Municipal Corporations for the big cities, 
(b) Municipal Councils for all other cities with smaller population and 
(c) Nagar Panchayats for transitional areas (semi urban areas). 

But a significant difference between Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and the urban local bodies is that while the PRIs are closely linked with one another, the urban local bodies are independent. In one State there may be all the three types of urban local bodies: in one big city a Municipal Corporation, in another small city a Municipal Council and in yet another small town a Nagar Panchayat. But they are not linked with one another.

It was during the British colonial rule that the first urban local government came into
existence in 1688 when a Municipal Corporation was formed in the city of Madras (now known as Chennai). Later on, similar bodies were formed for the administration at Calcutta (Kolkata) and Bombay (Mumbai). At that time these municipalities were formed to help in the matter of sanitation and prevent epidemics. These Local bodies also had a few civic functions like managing water supply and drainage. 

But theses bodies were not given the required powers, finance and authority. Initially most of the members were nominated. Our national leaders also had felt the importance and need of such an organization for the local administration and linked these bodies to the planned development of the country. But nothing fruitful could be achieved without finance and the finance was missing. But even then this system proved to be an effective tool of administration. During the British rule many changes were made in urban local bodies. Gradually certain structural changes were made, powers of the local bodies were enhanced and some funds were also provided.

After independence four types of urban local bodies were functioning: 
(i) Municipal Corporations, (ii) Municipalities, (iii) Town Area Committees and (iv) Notified Area Committees. 

But the 74th Constitutional Amendment 1992 brought about major changes in the system of urban local government. Now three types of urban local governments are functioning: 

(a) Municipal Corporations for the big cities, 
(b) Municipal Councils for smaller cities and 
(c) Nagar Panchayats for those areas that are in transition from rural areas to urban areas.

 The 74th Constituional Amendment 1992

  • As stated above, the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act 1992 brought about significant changes in the structure and functioning of urban local government. The following points are noteworthy:
  • Constitution of urban local bodies (namely, Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council, and Nagar Panchayat) in every Indian State;
  • Constitution of Wards Committees within the territorial area of a municipality, to ensure people’s participation in civic affairs at the grass-root level;

  • Regular and fair conduct of municipal elections by State Election Commissions;  provision for supersession of municipal governments for not more than 6 months;  

  • Adequate representation of weaker sections (i.e., Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward Classes) of the society and women in municipal governments through reservation of seats;
  •  Specification by law, through the State Legislatures, of the powers (including financial) and functional responsibilities to be entrusted to municipalities and wards committees;
  • Constitution of State Finance Commissions, once in every 5 years, to review the financial position of municipalities and to make recommendations on the measures needed to improve their financial position; and
  • Constitution of a District Planning Committee at the district level and a Metropolitan Planning Committee in metropolitan areas of every State, for the preparation and consolidation of development plans.

No comments:

Post a Comment