UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 1 Mains 2023
Mahatma Gandhi in his book ‘India of my dreams’ writes ‘Independence must begin at the bottom’. He was a staunch supporter of local bodies. Therefore to materialise his vision, 74th amendment act,1992 mandated the states for creating and empowering urban local bodies (ULB).
Reluctance of states in empowering local bodies: According to Nitti Aayog, only 11 states and UT’s in India have devolved functions to ULB’s. The reluctance in devolving function to the ULB’s is due to:
- Lack of requisite infrastructure and specialised human resource in ULB’s: overstaffing of untrained manpower, shortage of qualified technical staff and managerial supervisions, unwillingness to innovate in methods of service delivery have rendered ULB’s with lack of specialised human resources.
- More functions would require funds allocations and subsequent audits leading to stress on budgetary allocations.
- Overlapping and clashes between ULB’S and state govt leading to administrative delays and tussles.
- Distortion of the role of an elected representative under excessive control of the bureaucracy. E.g. interaction of the sarpanch with the block staff offices.
- Functional overlap with parastatals for key functions: parastatals i.e. state owned organisations preferred more for speedy implementation and greater accountability. E.g. Bengaluru Development Authority for land regulations in Bengaluru.
Reluctance in financial empowerment: due to:
- States are already reeling under financial crunch, delays in tax devolutions.
- Currently only 18 states have finance commissions despite it being a constitutional mandate. (article 243I)
- States consider grants better as raising of resources would lead to demand for social audits by the people.
Hence, The 2020 BBMP Act introduces zonal committees and greater taxation powers to the BMP, offering inspiration for decentralised urban governance in other states, aligning with the goals of SDG 11 for sustainable cities. The 2nd ARC has suggested devolving 3F’s (functions, funds, functionaries) to ULBs, in line with Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of village self-government (ARTICLE-40).
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