Twenty-five years after the passing of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, aimed at strengthening democracy at grass root level through local bodies, only 11 states have managed to devolve municipal functions to Urban Local Bodies, a NITI Aayog official said.
Municipal bodies are dependent on the state for funds and decision making and Rajasthan is among the states which have not been able to devolve the requisite functions to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), said NITI Aayog Director Sanjay Kumar Singh.
The NITI Aayog official made the remark in his address to a national conference on 25 years of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, organised by the CUTS International in association with the country’s policy think tank here on Wednesday.
He said the Central schemes such as AMRUT, Smart City and Housing for All are incentive-based and open up huge opportunities for ULBs which have to come forward and grab them.
The ULBs have to demonstrate their work through initiatives and should work to map their potential sources of revenue rather than depending on the Central and state grants, he said.
Enacted in 1992, the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, and also known as Nagarpalika Act, the legislation came into force on June 1, 1993, and was aimed at supplementing the inadequate Constitutional provision for Local Self Government.
An associate professor from National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), Dr Debolina Kundu said the ULBs should have financial autonomy and there should be ways of revenue generation to make them self-sufficient.
CUTS International Director George Cheriyan said the objectives of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act were a historic amendment and not implementing its provisions in letter and spirit is unfortunate.
Quoting the findings of a study, he said out of 18 delegated functions recommended under the 12th schedule of the Constitution, Mumbai and Pune are the two cities which have devolved 14.5 functions (14 fully and one partially), while Jaipur has devolved only seven functions.
Not even a single city in India can be a match to the cities like London, New York or even Johannesburg in terms of the city governance, he added.