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 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. National leaders also had felt the importance and need of such an organisation 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.
The 74th Constitutional Amendment Act 1992 brought about significant changes in the structure and functioning of urban local government.
Municipal Corporations are established in big cities according to the provisions made in the Acts enacted by the State Legislatures. The Councillors of Municipal Corporations are elected for \five years. The elected Councillors elect one of them as Mayor annually. The Mayor is known as the first citizen of the city.
The 74th Constitutional Amendment has provided for reservation of not less than 1/3rd of the total seats for women. There is also a provision of reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections in proportion to their population. Out of these reserved seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, one-third would be reserved for women belonging to these communities.
In the event of dissolution of Municipal Corporation, the elections are held within six months. There is an official post of Municipal Commissioner, who is the Chief Executive Officer and is appointed by the State government. In case of Union Territories like Delhi it is done by the Central government.
Functions of Municipal Corporations
The main functions of the Municipal Corporation are:
Main Functions of Mayor
Mayor is the elected as the head of the Municipal Corporation and performs the following important functions:
Sources of Income of Municipal Corporation
Like Panchayati Raj System, Muncipal System also requires funds for the development and welfare activities in its area. Provision is made in the Municipal Act for generating the required funds. Some of the sources of income are:
Cities which do not have very large population have Municipalities known as Municipal Councils to look after the local cities, their problems and developmental work. After the 74th Amendment, the constitution of Municipalities is obligatory for every concerned city. Every Municipal Council has Councillors who are elected by the adult voters of the city for five years. Only those persons can be elected as Councillors who fulfil the conditions laid down by the State Election Commission.
If in any case, the Municipal Council gets dissolved before completing the full term of 5 years, the elections for a new Municipal Council will have to be held within six months. Chairperson or President of the Municipal Council is elected by the Councillors from among the elected members. Chairperson holds the office till he or she enjoys the confidence of the majority of the elected members.
Every Municipal Council has an Executive Officer who is appointed by the State government. He or She looks after the day-to-day work and also the administration. The Health Officer, Tax Superintendent, Civil Engineer are the other important officers.
Functions of the Municipal Council
Functions of the Municipal Council are:
Sources of Income
No work can be done without money. Municipal Councils have got different sources of income. These sources can be grouped as under:
An urban centre with more than 30,000 and less than 100,000 inhabitants has a Nagar Panchayat. However, there are some exceptions. All the previous Town Area Committees (urban centres with a total population of more than 5,000 and less than 20,000) are designated as Nagar Panchayats. It is composed of a Chairperson and Ward Members.
It may have a minimum of ten elected Ward Members and three nominated Members. Like other municipal bodies, Nagar Panchayat is responsible for
Its sources of income are: Taxes such as house tax, water tax, toll tax; License fees and fee for approving building plans; Rents collected by renting Barat Ghars and other properties; and Grant-in-Aid from the State government.