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The Constitution (74th) Amendment Act and urban local governments: an overview

India’s Constitutional 74th Amendment Act 1992 granted constitutional status to the urban local bodies besides broadening the range of their powers and functions. This paper makes an attempt to review the implementation status of the selected provisions of this legislation. The study finds that

  • some states have performed better than others in implementing the provisions of the Constitutional Amendment
  • while there has been full compliance in respect of provisions such as constitution of three types of urban local bodies, reservation of seats, and constitution of State Finance Commissions, compliance is lacking in the case of other provisions such as constitution of Wards Committees, District Planning Committees and Metropolitan Planning Committees
  • the state of West Bengal has shown full commitment and a high compliance of the provisions
  • local governments now comprise persons with diverse backgrounds as seats in urban local governments have been reserved for the posts of Mayor, President and Councillors for persons belonging to the scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, backward class and women categories.

The study also makes certain recommendations for improving the urban local bodies. These recommendations vary from state to state. However, there are a number of areas which are common in respect of most states. These are:

  • financial reforms (including property tax, accounting – double entry, issuance of bonds, rationalisation of stamp duty, levy of reasonable user charges);
  • private sector participation in service delivery and contracting of services
  • computerisation of municipal records, and
  • capacity building