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'BMC needs more power for transparent functioning'

Updated on: 21 April,2018 08:14 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Laxman Singh |

CM-appointed committee submits report suggesting making urban local bodies more autonomous to ensure they serve their respective cities better

'BMC needs more power for transparent functioning'

BMC is run on the antiquated British-era Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, framed in 1888
BMC is run on the antiquated British-era Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, framed in 1888

Does the working of the country's richest municipal corporation require a change? Yes, according to the three-member committee appointed by the state government to suggest ways and means to bring in more transparency in its functioning.

A few suggestions
Last April, after the BMC elections, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had formed a panel comprising former IAS officers Ramanath Jha, Gautam Chatterjee and Sharad Kale to prepare a report on focusing more on accountability, transparency and efficiency in all municipal corporations.

The 300-page report, now submitted to the Urban Development Department, suggests that urban local bodies, like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), should be more empowered and autonomous. For example, BMC is run on the antiquated British-era Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, framed in 1888, and over the last 130 years, a lot of changes have happened in the city. Hence, Acts need to be more citizen-friendly and address their needs and services.

"The committee has focused on suggesting ways of empowering and strengthening local bodies. One of the suggestions is to make Acts according to the objectives. Municipal corporations should first decide objectives of the services in the city. The idea is to take on a more strategic role rather than an operational one," a senior civic official said.

"Empowerment of local bodies means they will have more powers and they won't need to go before the state government for bringing in new laws or changes in existing Acts, as per the city's requirement, unless some rare and big changes need to be made. The committee has also suggested setting up task forces that will take the implementations of reforms ahead."

Future planning
Another official from the BMC said, "Constitutional amendments state institutions of self-governance must be created, but that hasn't happened. Current Acts are not allowing that. In many cases, state interference is very common in local bodies. There is no real empowerment for the latter." As per the 74th amendment to the Constitution, all urban local bodies have to be autonomous.

A source from the civic body said, "Maharashtra has the largest urban population in the country, and it is destined to be become a more or less fully urban state over years. If the state has to progress, it has to lay stress on how its municipal bodies work. Cities are not working like how they should. So, if you want to put the house in order, start from the framework in which a city operates."

Also Read: Mumbai: BMC Smashes 'Illegal' Loo In Colaba, Residents Say Court Orders Flouted

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