Local Government

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Rural Local Government:
PANCHAYATI RAJThe term Panchayti Raj in India signifies the system of rural local self-government. It has been established in all the states of India by the Acts of the State Legislatures to build democracy at the grass root level. It is entrusted with rural development.It was constituationlised through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act 1992.A village or a group of villages, formed a panchayat of elected representatives, a few Panchayats formed a Panchayat Samiti and the various Panchayat Samities of a district were governed by a Zila Parishad and these three institutions had a three fold purpose :(i) to be autonomous and self governing to some extent.(ii) to play an effective role in drawing up the 5 year plans.(iii) to have scope for initiative and readjustment in implementing the plans to suit local needs.
Evolution of Panchayati Raj

•• The Narasimha Rao Government introduced the Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha in September, 1991.

•• It was passed by the Parliament in 1992. Later it was approved by the 17 State Assemblies and received the assent of the President of India in, 1993.

•• Thus, it emerged as the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 and came into force on 24th April, 1993.

• Rajasthan was the first state to establish the institution of Panchayati Raj in Nagaur District in 1959. Rajasthan was followed by Andhra Pradesh.
1.    Balwant Rai Mehta Committee (1957)

•• It was set up to examine the working of the Community Development Programme (1952) and the National Extension Service (1953).

•• Recommendations:(i) Three-tier Panchayati Raj system: Gram Panchayat at the Village level, Panchayat Samiti at the block level, Zila Parishad at the district level.(ii) Village Panchayat is directly elected, while the Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad constituted with indirectly elected members.(iii) Panchayat Samiti is the executive body, while the Zila Parishad is the advisory, coordinating and supervisory body.(iv) The District Collector should be the Chairman of the Zila Parishad.(v) Sufficient resources should be transferred to these bodies to enable them to discharge their functions.Note: The recommendations of Balwant Rai Mehta Committee (1957) were accepted by the National Development Council in 1958.
2.    K Santhanam CommitteeThe K Santhanam Committee was appointed to look solely at the issue of PRI finance, in 1963.

•• Panchayats should have special powers to levy special tax on land revenues, home taxes, etc.

•• All grants and subventions at the state level should be mobilised and sent in a consolidate form to various PRIs.

•• A Panchayati Raj finance corporation should be set-up to look into the financial resource of PRIs at all levels, provide loans and financial assistance to these grassroots level governments and also provide non-financial requirements of villages.
3.    Ashok Mehta CommitteeIn December 1977, the Janata Government appointed a Committee on Panchayati Raj Institutions under the Chairmanship of Ashok Mehta. It submitted its report in August, 1978 and made recommendations to revive and strengthen the declining Panchayati Raj System in the Country. Recommendations:

•• The three-tier system of the Panchayati Raj should be replaced by two-tier system, that is, the Zila Parishadat the district level and below it the Mandal Panchayat consisting of a group of villages comprising a population upto 20,000.

•• The Zila Parishad should be the executive body and be made responsible for planning at the district level.

•• The Panchayati Raj Institutions should have Compulsory powers for taxation to mobilise their own financial resources.

•• The Nyaya Panchayats should be kept as separate bodies from that of development Panchayats.

•• A minister for the Panchayati Raj should be appointed in the State Council of Ministers to look after the affairs of the Panchayati Raj Institutions.

• Seats for the SCs and the STs should be reserved on the basis of their population.
4.    G V K Rao CommitteeThe Committee on Administrative Arrangement for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation Programmes under the chairmanship of G.V.K. Rao was appointed by the Planning Commission in 1985.

Recommendations:The Committee made the following recommendations to strengthen and revitalise the Panchayati Raj system:

•• “The district is the proper unit for planning and development and the Zila Parishad should become the principal body for management of all development programmes which can be handled at that level”.

•• The Panchayati Raj institutions at the district and lower levels should be assigned an important role with respect to planning, implementation and monitoring of rural development programmes.

•• A post of District Development Commissioner should be created.

•• Elections to the Panchavati Raj institutions should be held regularly.
5.    LM Singhvi CommitteeIn 1986, Rajiv Gandhi Government appointed a committee on the “Revitalisation of the Panchayati Raj Institutions for democracy and development” under the Chairmanship of LM Singhvi. Recommendations:

•• The Panchayati Raj Institutions should be constitutionally recognised, protected and preserved. It also suggested some constitutional provisions to ensure regular, free and fair elections to the Panchayati Raj bodies.

•• Nyaya Panchayats should be established for a cluster of villages.

•• The villages should be organised to make the Gram Panchayats more viable.

•• The Village Panchayats should have more financial resources.

•• The judicial tribunals should be established in each state to eradicate controversies about election to the Panchayati Raj Institutions, their dissolution and other matters related to their functioning.
Attempts to Make Panchayats Mandatory

i.             Rajiv Gandhi GovernmentIn July 1989, Rajiv Gandhi Government introduced the 64th Constitutional Amendment Bill to constitutionalise PRIs, but it was not approved by Rajya Sabha.

ii.            VP Singh GovernmentIn November 1989, Prime Ministers VP Singh proposed the introduction of a fresh Constitutional Amendment Bill and the bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in September 1990, but it lapsed due to the fall of government.

iii.          Narsimha Rao GovernmentIn September 1991, Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao introduced the modified proposal of Constitutional Amendment Bill, which finally emerged as the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 and came into force on 24th April, 1993.

iv.          73rd Amendment Act (1992)• Added to Part-IX (Articles 243 to 243-O) and the Eleventh Schedule to the Constitution.

• 11th Schedule contains 29 functional items and deals with Article 243-G.

•• The Act has given a practical shape to Article 40. The Act has brought them under the purview of the justifiable part of the Constitution.

•• State governments are under constitutional obligation to adopt the new Panchayati raj system in accordance with the provisions of the Act. However the Panchayati raj system in each state is created through its own Act.

•• The main provisions of the Act are as follows:

Three-Tier System:

•• Three-tier system with panchayats at the village, intermediate, and district levels. Panchayat means an institution of self-government for rural areas.

•• Act brings about uniformity in the structure of Panchayati raj throughout the country. However a state having a population not exceeding 20 lakhs may not constitute panchayats at the intermediate level.Gram Sabha (Article 243A)Gram sabha is the foundation of the Panchayati raj system. It shall exercise such powers & functions at the village level as the legislature of a state determines.Elections to Panchayats (Article 243C)

•• All the members of Panchayats at the village, intermediate and district levels shall be elected directly by the people.

•• Chairperson of Panchayat at the village level shall be elected in such manner as the state legislature determines.However, the chairperson at the intermediate and district levels shall be elected indirectly; by and from amongst the elected members there of.

•• A person seeking election to the panchayat must possess the qualifications prescribed for a member of state legislature.
• Minimum age for contesting election to the panchayat is 21 year (as against 25 years for State Legislature).
Disqualifications for Membership (Article 243F):

• A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being a member of a Panchayat-(a) If he is so disqualified by or under any law for the time being in force for the purposes of election, to the Legislature of the State concerned.(b) If he is so disqualified by or under any law made by the Legislature of the State.

• If any question arise as to whether a member of a Panchayat has become subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in clause (1), the question shall be referred for the decision of such authority and in such manner as the legislature of a State may, by law, provide.

• No person shall be disqualified on the ground that he is less than twenty-five years, of age, if he has attained the age of twenty-one years.

• The question regarding disqualification of the members of panchayat are referred to such authority as may be provided by the state legislature by law.
State Election Commission:

•• The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of lectoral rolls for, and the conduct of all election to the Panchayats shall be vested in a State Election Commission consisting of a State Election Commissioner to be appointed by the Governor.

•• Subjects to the provisions of any law made by the legislature of a State, the conditions of service and tenure of office of the State Election Commissions shall be such as the Governor may by rule determine.

•• The State Election Commissioner shall not be removed from the office except in the manner and on the grounds prescribed for the removal of a judge of the State High Court.
Reservation of Seats (Article 243D)

•• Reservation of seats for SCs & STs in every Panchayat (at all levels) in proportion of their population to the total population in that area. State legislature shall provide for the reservation of offices of chairpersons in the Panchayat at the village or any other level for the SCs and STs.

• Reservation of not less than one-third of the total number of seats for women (including those reserved for women of SCs and the STs). Not less than one-third of the total number of offices of chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level shall be, reserved for women.

•• For any backward classes, state legislature is authorized to make any provision for reservation.
Powers and Functions (Article 243G)The State Legislature may endow the Panchayats, with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self government. Such a scheme may contain provisions for the devolution of powers and responsibilities upon Panchayats at the appropriate level with respect to :

•• Preparation of plans for economic development and social justice.

•• the implementation of schemes for the economic development and social justice as may be entrusted to them, including those in relation to the 29 matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule.The following 29 functional items placed within the purview of Panchayats are:

1. Agriculture, including agricultural extension.

2. Land improvement, implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil conservation.

3. Minor irrigation, water management and watershed development.

4. Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry.

5. Fisheries, social forestry and farm forestry.

6. Minor forest produce.

7. Small-scale industries, including food processing industries.

8. Khadi, village and cottage industries.

9. Rural housing.

10. Drinking water.

11. Fuel and fodder.

12. Roads, culverts, bridges, ferries, waterways and other means of communication.

13. Rural electrification, including distribution of electricity.

14. Non-conventional energy sources.

15. Poverty alleviation programme.

16. Education, including primary and secondary schools.

17. Technical training and vocational education.

18. Adult and non-formal education.

19. Libraries.

20. Cultural activities.

21. Markets and fairs.

22. Health and sanitation, including hospitals, primary health centres and dispensaries.

23. Family welfare.

24. Women and child development.

25. Social welfare, including welfare of the handicapped and mentally retarded.

26. Welfare of the weaker sections and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

27. Public distribution system.

28. Maintenance of community assets.

29. The act gives a constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions.


Evolution of Urban Local Government in India

•• We have substantial evidence that the Indus valley civilization had a highly sophisticated and a well structured Urban culture.

•• During the Mughal responsibility of administering a city was entrusted on the “Kotwal”.

•• Abul Fazal in his Ain-I-Akbari serialised as many as eight functions of a Kotowal.

•• In the year 1688, the British administration for the first time introduced a Municipal corporation in the city of Madras by a charter granted in 1687.

•• In 1726, the Municipal corporation was converted to a Mayor’s Court empowering it with the judicial powers and thus it became a judicial body than an administrative entity.

•• It was only in 1793, that the Municipal administration in India was given the statutory rank when the Charter Act of 1793 was passed.

•• Lord Ripon is considered as the founding father of Urban Local Self Government.

•• Ripon resolution of 1882 on local self government of with the bodies, their functions, finances and powers and set the ground work of local self-government in independent India.

•• In 1906, the Royal commission on Decentralisation was set up which made public its report in 1908. The Commission made certain noteworthy recommendations concerning the Municipal bodies.

•• The Government of Inida Act : 1919 made the local self government or the Municipalities a transferred topic incharge of the Ministers.

•• After independence local bodies were shelkred in the state list and government by state statutes or in the Union Territories by the Union Parliament.

• There are eight types of urban local governments in India – Municipal Corporation, Municipality, NotifiedArea Committee, Town Area Committee, Cantonment Board, township, port trust, special purpose agency.

At the Central level the subject of ‘urban local government’ is dealt with by the following three Ministries.(i) Ministry of Urban Development created as a separate ministry in 1985.(ii) Ministry of Defense in the case of cantonment boards.(iii) Ministry of Home Affairs in the case of Union Territories.
74th Amendment Act (1992)

•• 74th Amendment Act pertaining to urban local government was passed during the regime of P.V. Narsimha Rao’s government in 1992. It came into force on 1st June, 1993.

• Added Part IX -A and consists of provisions from articles 243-P to 243-ZG.

• Added 12th Schedule to the Constitution. It contains 18 functional items of Municipalities and deals with Article 243 W.

•• State governments are under constitutional obligation to adopt the new system of Municipalities in accordance with the provisions of the Act.MunicipalitiesThere are three types of municipalities which are as follows:(i) Nagar panchayat for a transitional area from a rural area to urban area.(ii) A municipal council for a smaller urban area(iii) A municipal corporation for a larger urban area.
Municipal CorporationIt is created for the administration of big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and others. Established in the States by the Acts of the concerned State Legislatures and in the UTs by the Acts of the Parliament of India.
Municipal CouncilMunicipal Council is established for the administration of towns and smaller cities. They are also set up in the States by the Acts of the concerned State Legislatures and in the UTs by the Acts of the parliament. They are also known by various other names like Municipal Committee, Municipal Board, City municipality and others.
Composition• Members shall be elected directly. State legislature may provide the manner of election of the chairperson of a Municipality.•• For this purpose, each Municipal area shall be divided into territorial constituencies to be known as Wards.It may also provide for the representation of the following persons in a municipality.1. Persons having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration without the right to vote in the meetings of municipality.2. The members of the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assembly representing constituencies that comprise wholly or partly the municipal area.3. The members of the Rajya Sabha and the state Legislative Council registered as electors withinthe municipal area.4. The chairpersons of committees (other than wards committees).
Wards CommitteesWards committee, consisting of one or more wards, within the territorial area of a municipality having population of three lakhs or more.
Reservation of Seats (Art. 243 T)•• For SCs & STs, in proportion of their population to the total population in that area. For backward classes, state legislature may make provisions.•• Reservation of not less than one-third of the total number of seats for women (including those reserved for women belonging to the SCs and the STs)•• State legislature may provide for the manner of reservation of offices of chairpersons in the municipalities for the SCs, the STs and the women.
District Planning Committee:ƒ. Every state shall constitute a district planning committee to constitutes the plans prepared by panchayats and municipalities in the district and to prepare a draft development plan for the district as a whole.

• The Legislature of a state may, by law, make provision, with respect to —(a) The composition of the District Planning Committees;(b) Four-fifths of the members of a district planning committee should be elected by the elected members of the district panchayat and municipalities in the district from amongst themselves.(c) The function relating to district planning which may be assigned to such committees.(d) The manner in which the chairpersons of such committees shall be chosen.

• Every District Planning Committee shall, in preparing the draft development plan, have regard to:(a) (i) matters of common interest between the panchayats and the municipalities including spatial planning sharing of water and other physical and natural resources, the integrated development of infrastructure and environmental conservation.(ii) the extent and type of available resources whether financial or otherwise.(b) Consult such institutions and organizations as the Governor may, by order specify.

• The chairperson of every District Planning Committee shall forward the development plan, as recommended bysuch committee, to the Government of the State.
Disqualifications for Membership:

• A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being a member of a municipality-(a) If he is so disqualified by as under any law for the time being in force for the purposes of election to the legislature of the state concerned provided that no person shall be disqualified on the groundthat he is less than twenty-five years of age, he has attained the age of twenty-one years;(b) If he is so disqualified by or under any law made by the legislature of the state.

• If any question arises as to whether a member of a municipality has become subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in clause (1), the question shall be referred for the decision of such authority and in such manner as the legislature of a State may, by law, provide.
Bar to Interference by Courts in Electoral Matters Not with standing anything in this constitution-

• The validity of any law relating to the delimitation of constituencies or the allotment of seats to such constituencies made or purporting to be made under article 243ZA, shall not be called in question in any court.

• No election to any municipality shall be called in question except by an election petition presented to such authority and in such manner as is provided for by or under any law made by the Legislature of a state.
Duration of Municipalities:Five-year term. However, it can be dissolved before the completion of its term. Further, the fresh election to constitute a municipality shall be completed (i) before the expiry of its duration of five year; or (ii) in case of dissolution before the expiry of a period of six months from the date of its dissolution.
Powers and Functions:Under Article 243(W), subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Legislature of a State may, by law, endow:•• The municipalities with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self government and such law may contain provisions for the devolution of powers and responsibilities upon municipalities, subject to such conditions as may be specified therein, with respect to:·         

the preparation of plans for economic development and social justice.

·         the performance of functions and the implementation of schemes as my be entrusted to them includingthose in relation to the matters listed in Twelfth Schedule.•• The committees with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to carry out the responsibilities conferred upon them including those in relation to the matters listed in the Twelfth Schedule.
Twelfth ScheduleIt contains 18 functional items which is covered in Article 243 (W). They are as follows:-•• Urban planning including town planning.•• Regulation of land use and construction of buildings.•• Planning for economic and social development.•• Roads and bridges.•• Water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes.•• Public health, sanitation conservancy and solid waste management.•• Fire services.•• Urban forestry, protection of the environment and promotion of ecological aspects.•• Safeguarding the interests of weaker sections of society, including the handicapped and mentally retarded.•• Slum improvement and upgradation.•• Urban poverty alleviation.•• Provision of urban amenities and facilities such as parks, gardens, and playgrounds.•• Promotion of cultural, educational and aesthetic aspects.•• Burials and burial grounds; cremations, cremation grounds and electric crematoriums.•• Cattle pounds; prevention of cruelty to animals.•• Vital statistics including registration of births and deaths.•• Public amenities including street lighting, parking lots, bus stops and public conveniences.•• Regulation of slaughter houses and tanneries.
Finance Commission:•• Consituted after every five years, review the financial position of municipalities and make recommendation tothe Governor.•• The distribution of net proceeds of taxes, duties, tolls and fees between State Municipalities, which are levied by the State.•• Central Finance Commission shall also suggest the measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a Stateto supplement the resources of the Municipalities in the State.
Application to Union Territories•• President of India may direct that the provisions of this act shall apply to any Union Territory subject to such exceptions and modifications as he may specify.
Areas Kept Out side 74th Amendment Act•• Scheduled areas and tribal areas referred in Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.•• It shall also not affect the functions and powers of the Darjeeling, Gorkha Hill Council of the West Bengal.
Structure of Urban Local Government in IndiaThere are eight types of Urban Local bodies that are created in India for the administration of urban areas. These areas follows:1. Municipal Corporation:Municipal Corporation are for the big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and others.These are established by the Acts of State Legislature and the Parliament in case of Union Territories. A MunicipalCorporation has three authorities.(i) T he CouncilIt is a deliberative and legislative wing of the corporation.It has councilors, directly elected by the people.The council is headed by the Major and he/she is assisted by a Deputy Major who is elected for 1 year with renewable term.(ii) T he Standing Committeeslt is created to facilitate the working of the Council. These committees deal with public works, education, health,taxation, finance, etc.(iii) The Municipal CommissionerThe Commissioner is responsible for the implementation of the decisions taken by the Council and its standingcommittees. The Commissioner is appointed by the State Government. So, that he is the chief executive authority ofthe Municipal Corporation. Generally, the Commissioner is a member of the IAS cadre.2. MunicipalityThe Municipalities are established for the administration of towns and small cities. Like the corporation, they are also established by the Act of State Legislature and the Parliament.Municipality has three authorities :(i) The Council(ii) The Standing Committees(iii) The Chief Executive Officer. All the authorities have same functions as the corporation has.
3. Notified Area CommitteeIt is any land area earmarked by legal provision for future development. It is set-up by government notification andnot a legislation.All its members and Chairman are appointed by the State Government and not elected. It is set-up in area wheremunicipality is not feasible, but potential for fast development is there.4. Town Area CommitteeIt is set-up by an Act of State Legislature and can have both elected and nominated members. It is quasi-municipality with limited number of Municipal functions like street/lighting, sanitation, etc.5. Cantonment BoardThey are autonomous bodies functioning under the overall control of the Ministry of Defence. These boards comprise elected members besides ex-officio and nominated members with the station commander as the President of the Board.The resources of these boards are limited as the bulk of the property is owned by government on, which no tax canbe levied.Thus, the Central Government provides financial assistance by way of grants-in-aid. The boards are responsiblefor discharging the mandatory duties like provision of public health, sanitation, primary education and street lighting etc.6. TownshipThe township is established to provide civic amenities to its staff and workers who live in the housing colonies builtnear the plant by the large public enterprises.The township is headed by the town administrator, appointed by the enterprises, he/she is assisted by someengineers and other technical and non-technical staff. It shows the bureaucratic structure of the enterprises.7. Port TrustThe Port Trusts are established in the port areas such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc. These are established forthe following purposes:– To manage and protect the ports.– To provide civic amenities.The port trust is established by an Act of the Parliament. It has both elected and nominated members. Its Chairman is an official and its civic functions are more or less similar to those of a municipality.8. Special Purpose Agency•• Above all seven area based urban bodies, the states have set-up certain agencies to undertake designated activitiesor specific functions. The special purpose agencies are established for single purpose. Some such bodies are asfollows :•• Town improvement trusts– Water supply and sewerage boards.– Urban development authorities.– Housing boards.– Pollution control boards– Electricity supply boards.– City transport boards.•• These bodies are created as statutory bodies by an Act of State Legislature or as department by an executive resolution.•• They function as autonomous bodies and are not subordinate agencies of the local municipal bodies.Co-operativesIn 1958, the National Development Council (NDC) had ‘recommended a national policy on co-operatives. Jawaharlal Nehru had a strong faith in the co-operative movement. In 2011, the cooperatives were given constitutional status by the 97th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2011. Co-operatives have been inserted in Part IXB covering Articles 243 ZH-ZT.Incorporation of co-operative societies (Article 243ZI) subject to the provisions of this part, the Legislature of a State may by law make provisions with respect to the incorporation, regulation and winding up of co-operative societies based on the principles of voluntary formation, democratic control, economic participation and autonomous functioning.Audit of Accounts of Co-operative Societies (Article 243 ZM):The Legislature of a State may by law, make provisions with respect to the maintenance of accounts by the cooperative societies and the auditing of such accounts atleast once in each financial year.The accounts of every cooperative society shall be audited within 6 months of the close of the financial year to which such accounts relate.
Number and Term of Members of Board and its Office Bearers (Article 243 ZJ):•• The board shall consist of such number of directors as may be provided by the Legislature of a State by law. Themaximum number of directors of a cooperative society shall not exceed twenty-one.•• The Legislature of a State shall by law provide for reservation of one seat for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes and two seats for women on board of every cooperative society.•• The term of office of elected members of the board and its office bearers shall be 5 years from the date of election.The Legislature of a State shall, by law, make provisions for persons to be members of the board having experience in the fields of banking, management, finance or specialisation in any other field relating to the objects and activities undertaken by the cooperative society as members of the board.
Election of Members of Board (Article 243 ZK):The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for and the conduct of all elections to a cooperative society shall vest in such an authority or body, as may be provided by the Legislature of a State by law.
Central Council of Local Government:•• The Central Council of Local Government was set-up in 1954. It was constituted under Article 263 of the Constitution of India by an order of the President of India.•• The Council is an advisory body. It consists of the Minister for Urban Development in the Union and for localself-government in the state. The Chairman of the Council is the Union Minister. The Council has following functions:·         Considering and recommending the policy matters.·         Making proposals for legislation.·         Drawing up a common programme of action.·         Examining the possibility of cooperation between the Centre and the States.·         Recommending Central Financial Assistance.·         Reviewing the work done by the local bodies with the Central Financial Assistance.

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