Lok Sabha passes Delhi Municipal Corporation Amendment Bill, 2022
The Bill seeks to amend the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 passed by Parliament. The Act was earlier amended in 2011 by Delhi Legislative Assembly to trifurcate the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi into:
- North Delhi Municipal Corporation
- South Delhi Municipal Corporation
- East Delhi Municipal Corporation
The Bill seeks to unify the three corporations.
Key Features of the Bill
- Unification of Municipal Corporations in Delhi:
- The Bill replaces the three municipal corporations under the Act with One Corporation named the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
- Powers of the Delhi government: The Act as amended in 2011 empowers the Delhi government to decide various matters under the Act. These include:
- The total number of seats of councillors and number of seats reserved for members of the Scheduled Castes.
- Division of the area of corporations into zones and wards.
- Delimitation of wards.
- Matters such as salary and allowances
- The Bill instead empowers the central government to decide these matters.
- Number of councillors:The Act provides that the number of seats in the three corporations taken together should not be more than 272.
- The Bill states that the total number of seats in the new Corporation should not be more than 250.
- Removal of Director of Local Bodies:The Act provides for a Director of Local Bodies to assist the Delhi government and discharge certain functions which include:
- Coordinating between Corporations.
- Framing recruitment Rules for various posts.
- Coordinating the collecting and sharing of toll tax collected by the respective Corporations.
- The Bill omits the provision for a Director of Local Bodies.
- Special officer to be appointed by the central government:
- The Bill provides that the central government may appoint a Special Officer to exercise powers of the Corporation until the first meeting of the Corporation is held after the commencement of the Bill.
- E-governance system for citizens:
- The Bill adds that obligatory functions of the new Corporation will include establishing an e-governance system for citizen services on an anytime-anywhere basis for better, accountable, and transparent administration.
- Conditions of service for sweepers:
- The Act provides that a sweeper employed for doing house scavenging of a building would be required to give a reasonable cause or a 14-day notice before discontinuing his service.
- The Bill seeks to omit this provision.
- The main objective of trifurcation of creating compact municipalities in Delhi to provide more efficient civic services to the public has not been achieved.
- Instead, owing to inadequacies in resources and uncertainty in fund allocation and release, the three corporations have been facing huge financial hardships, making it difficult for them to maintain the civic services in Delhi at the desired levels.
- Trifurcation of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi was uneven in terms of territorial divisions and revenue generating potential.
- As a result, there was a huge gap in the resources available to the three corporations compared to their obligations.
- It says that the gap has grown, leading to delay in the payment of salaries and retirement benefits which have resulted in frequent strikes.
- The Bill eliminate the role of the state government in the civic bodies
- The Centre’s move to unify the three corporations into a single entity means it was not satisfied with the current situation of three local bodies. And, reduction in number of wards would mean, a delimitation exercise will be required, which can take several months or even over a year’s time.
- According to Article 239AA of the Constitution of India, the Parliament has the power to amend or form laws on any matter formulated by the Delhi Assembly.
- At the time when the MCD was trifurcated, the expectation was that it would lead to Delhi’s progress. It was thought that the services provided by the MCDs will improve and there will be welfare of its workers. But, the result was unsatisfactory in the last 10 years.
- The Bill has been introduced for greater transparency, improved governance and more efficient delivery of civic service for the people of Delhi, and also to ease the financial crisis faced by MCDs at present.
In India, the Municipal Corporation is the urban local government that is responsible for the development of any Metropolitan City having a population of more than one million people.
- The Municipal Corporations are established in the states by the acts of the state legislatures,whereas in the Union Territories through the acts of the Parliament.
In the Constitution of India, no provision was made for the establishment of local self-government, except the incorporation of Article 40 in the Directive Principles of State Policy.
The 74th Amendment Act, 1992 has inserted a new Part IX-A into the Constitution which deals with the administration of Municipalities and Nagar Palikas.
It consists of Article 243P to 243ZG. It also added a new twelfth schedule to the Constitution. The 12th schedule consists of 18 items.