Municipalities in India

Municipalities in India came into being in the British era. The first of the municipalities in India was in the city of Chennai as the Municipal Corporation in the year 1688. This was followed by the setting up of the subsequent municipalities in India in the states of Maharashtra and West Bengal. Presidents of these municipalities in India were elected by Lord Mayo's Resolution of 1870.

The present structure and configuration of the municipalities of India came into being after Lord Ripon's Resolution of 1882. The basic structure of the municipalities in India has not changed much since 1882. In the year 1992, the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act came into being and brought with it specifications regarding the responsibilities and the powers of the municipal units in India. The periodical elections followed the 1992 Act with timely elections and reconstruction of the municipal government.

The 1992 Act made it mandatory for the Central Finance Commission to take care of the state municipalities in India and provide funds in case of necessity. However, unlike the rural governing bodies, the urban Indian municipalities did not have a federated and systematic network. The municipal networks in India comprise of Mayor and councilors. The number of councilors in a particular municipal area depends upon the total population of that region. Also, the elected councilors are the ones who choose among the nominated councilors.

The Municipalities of India are headed by the Municipal Commissioner whose tenure of operation is fixed by the State Statue. All the powers and responsibilities of the Municipal Commissioner are also provided by the Statue of the State. The functions of Municipalities are divided into two parts - discretionary and Obligatory. Some of the discretionary functions of the Municipalities of India are:
  1. Housing facilities for low income groups
  2. Construction and maintenance of gardens, libraries, rest houses, public parks, leper homes, rescue homes for women, museums and orphanages
  3. Provision of transport links with the municipality
  4. Promotion of welfare of employees of municipalities
  5. Securing or removal of building or places that are prone to dangers
Some of the obligatory functions performed by the municipals of India are:
  1. Building and maintenance of primary schools
  2. Supply of wholesome water
  3. Removing obstruction and projections in public paths, bridges and other areas
  4. Lighting and watering in the public streets
  5. Maintenance and development of the public hospitals
  6. Construction and maintenance of public streets

Last Updated on 1st Oct 2012