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Evolution of local bodies in India

The 74th Amendment of the Indian constitution decentralized powers and functions to municipal organizations at various....

The 74th Amendment of the Indian constitution decentralized powers and functions to municipal organizations at various levels of administration. The institution of urban local government originated and developed in modern India during the period of British rule. In 1687-88, the first municipal corporation in India was setup at Madras.

Measures taken during the British rule with regards to urban local bodies:

  1. In 1726, the municipal corporation were setup in Bombay and Calcutta
  2. Lord Mayo’s resolution of 1870 envisaged a roadmap for these bodies in India
  3. Lord Ripon’s resolution of 1882 has been hailed as the Magna Cartaof local-self government
  4. Hobhouse chaired the establishment of a royal commission in 1907 to examine decentralization.
  5. Government of India Act, 1919 assigned the local-self government subject to an Indian minister
  6. The central legislature passed the Cantonments Act in 1924.
  7. The Government of India Act, 1935, declared local self-government as a provincial subject.

Post-independent India and urban local government

  • Independence brought a new kind of activity in every sphere of public life.
  • It opened a new chapter in the history of local government in India.
  • Urban local-bodies received consistent policy attention from various committees that were setup at different times to suggest ways to improve the urban local bodies.
  • Some of these committees include- PK Wattal, John Mathai, Nur-ud-din Ahmed, AP Jain, Rafiq Zakaria. G Mukharji, KN Sahaya and CM Correa.

The primary recommendation of some of these committees included constitutionalizing the ULB. Under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi and VP Singh, the government attempted to constitutionalize the ULB. However, they could not achieve this goal during their tenure. It was only during the time of PV Narasimha Rao that the ULB could attain constitutional status when both houses of parliament passed the 74th amendment act, and it ultimately gained the President’s assent.

Evolution of local bodies in India, Evolution of local bodies in India

Read Also: Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act 1996

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