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Present Status Of Urban Local Bodies

The Urban local bodies are responsible for administering the governance of the urban areas through elected representatives.....Status Of Urban Local Bodies

The Urban local bodies are responsible for administering the governance of the urban areas through elected representatives. State governments demarcate the territory of the urban bodies to facilitate the governing process.

Challenges of Urban Local Bodies

  • Delegation of powers: Urban local authorities lack effective function execution due to insufficient power delegation by most state governments.
  • Ineffective leadership: Mayors and councilors prioritize their political careers over catalyzing desired urban reforms as agents of change.
  • Creation of parastatal agencies: Urban development authorities and state-owned enterprises are answerable solely to state governments, not local governments.
  • Lack of funds: The first and most serious problem facing urban local communities is lack of funding. Municipal committees in many small towns also have difficulty paying salaries to their employees on time.
  • Corruption: Insufficient administrative mechanisms lead to underpaid staff resorting to corrupt practices, causing income losses.
  • Limited capacity: Even though municipal bodies receive funds, they do not just not have the ability to function effectively. Most of the funds paid to ULBs are restricted funds.

Initiatives to Strenghten Urban Local Bodies

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) supports States / Union Territories for formulation of master plans by issuing advisories and design standards, providing schematic interventions and financial assistance, etc.
  • Under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), a sub-scheme on formulation of Geographical Information System (GIS) based master plans for AMRUT cities is being implemented.
    • This is a 100% centrally funded scheme with a total outlay of ?515.00 crores.

Strengthening the Urban Local Bodies

  • The 2nd ARC noted that in most Urban Local Governments in India, the Chairperson or Mayor mainly holds a ceremonial position. In many cases, the Commissioner, appointed by the State Government, holds most of the power. Elected representatives often assume the opposition role, causing gridlock when Municipal Commissioners are inflexible (Jha, 2018).
  • The 2nd ARC recommended that the roles of chairing the Municipal Council and exercising executive authority should be merged into a single role, either Chairman or Mayor. Meanwhile, the Commissioner should be responsible for performing the functions delegated to them. The ARC recommended that Local Bodies empower the elected Mayor or Chairperson to select the Commissioner or Chief Officer. The issue of tenure is crucial in this context.
  • Standardizing the tenure of Mayor or Chairperson to five years nationwide is recommended, replacing the current one-year practice in many states. This would ensure continuity and accountability. Similarly, the tenure of the Commissioner or Chief Executive Officers should also be fixed for a reasonably long period. A survey by Janagraha (2016) found that the average tenure of a Commissioner in India is just 11 months. These points require careful consideration in order to strengthen the Urban Local Bodies.


Urban local government institutions are constituted for the maintenance and planned development of urban areas. The objective is to ensure that suitable levels of infrastructure and services are available to the citizens. Citizens in numerous Indian urban areas face miserable quality of life and lead challenging lives. To overcome this problem, a series of reforms need to be initiated by the Indian government to strengthen local-level governance.

Status Of Urban Local Bodies, Status Of Urban Local Bodies

Read Also: Significance Of Urban Local Bodies

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