Finance Commission and State Election Commission

The Finance Commission constituted under Article 243I shall also review the financial position of the Municipalities and make recommendations of the Governor as to : (a) principles which should govern: (i) the distribution between the State and the Municipalities of the net proceeds of the taxes, duties, tolls and fees leviable by the State, which may be divided between them under this Part and the allocation between the municipalities at all levels of their respective shares of such proceeds; (ii) the determination of the taxes, duties, tolls and fees which may be assigned to, or appropriated by the Municipalities; ((iii) the grants-in-aid to the Municipalities from the Consolidated Funds of the State; (b) measures needed to improve the financial position of the Municipalities; (c) grants-in-aid by the Governor in the interests of sound finance of the Municipalities.

The Governor shall cause the recommendation made by the Commission under this article together with an explanatory memorandum as to the action taken thereon to be laid before the Legislature of the State. 243Z. Audit of the accounts of Municipality : Details given in the Article 243ZA.

State Election Commission

  1. The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Municipalities shall be vested in the State Election Commission referred to in Article 243K.
  2. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the Legislature of a State may, by law, make provision with respect to all matters relating to, or in connection with, elections to the Municipalities.

We may sum up the features of the urban local institution, as stated in the above articles, as follows: 1. There are the Nagar Panchayats for transitional areas (that is to say, an area in transition from a rural area to an urban area), Municipal Councils, for smaller urban areas and Municipal Corporations, for larger urban areas.

  1. All the seats in municipal bodies are filled by persons chosen by direct election. However, the legislature of a State may, by law, provide for the representation of persons having special knowledge or experience of municipal administration, the members of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and the members of Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly of the State, representing constituencies which comprise wholly or partly the municipal area and the chairpersons of Wards Committees. There are Wards Committees, consisting of one or more Wards, within the territorial area of a municipal body having a population of three lakhs or more.
  2. Seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in every municipal body 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.
  3. Not less than one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every municipal body are reserved for women (including their reservation in the quota of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes).
  4. The offices of chairpersons in the municipal bodies are reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide. The Legislature of a State may also make provisions for reservation of seats in municipal bodies or offices of chairpersons, for other Backward Classes.
  5. A person who has attained the age of 21 years is eligible to be elected in a municipal body. The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections to municipal bodies is vested in the State Election Commission.
  6. The tenure of the Municipal body is five years. The municipalities can, however, be dissolved earlier after giving them reasonable opportunity of being heard. The election of the new municipal body is to be held before the expiry of its tenure or within six months of its dissolution, as the case may be.
  7. The legislature of a State may extend powers and authority of municipal bodies, if necessary, to enable them to function as institutions of self-government.
  8. The state legislature may authorize a municipal body to levy, collect and appropriate such taxes, duties, tolls and fees as it thinks fit. It may also assign a share in those taxes, duties, and fees that are levied and collected by the State Government itself. It may also make provisions for making grants-in-aid to municipal bodies from the Consolidated Fund of the State.
  9. The Finance Commission, is to review the financial position of the municipal bodies and make recommendations to the Governor, as to the principles, which would govern the distribution between the State and the municipal bodies of the net proceeds of the taxes. There is total of over 170 City Corporations and nearly 2010 Municipalities and over 2100 Nagarpalikas and more than 2100 Nagar Panchayats, in the country (2014) in which elections have now been held three to four times across the country.

The number of elected representatives for all the urban local bodies is about a lakh. Of over 4,000 chairpersons of these bodies, i.e. around one-third, are women. The urban administration suffers from certain handicaps. Decentralization is one such handicap. Schedule 12th identifies as many as 18 functions for the nagarpalikas such as urban planning, regulation of land-use, construction of buildings, planning for economic and social development, roads and bridges, water supply, public health, sanitation, fire services, urban forestry, slum improvement, urban poverty alleviation, urban amenities, aesthetics aspects, burials and burial grounds, cattle pounds and prevention of cruelty to animals, public amenities such as lighting lots, bus stops and public conveniences, regulation of slaughter houses etc. and yet these are not mandatory but are discretionary.

The provisions for the weaker sections of society hardly promote their welfare and does not strengthen the forces of decentralization. Social justice still allures the urban poor. Another serious handicap of the urban poor is the state government�s interference in the urban institutions. The government control is usually pervasive, state�s finances $ow as a matter of routine delay and at times as willed by the state government. The accountability factor in the urban institutions is always weak though the structure of the institutions is elaborate; provisions with regard to decentralization in the cities and towns are always vague; ward committees are not effective, nor do they participate in their zonal committees. There is a lack of cooperation between the elected representatives and the people who elect them.

Written by princy

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