Local Self-Government in Assam and What are the different types of self government in Assam |  Discuss the composition and functions of GMC. 


Local Self-Government in Assam






What are the different types of self government in Assam ?






The local self-government in Assam may be divided into two parts. These are :-  



1.Urban and 


2.Rural.






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There are three types of urban local authorities in Assam :-



(i)Municipal Corporation. 


(ii)Municipal Board. 


(iii)Town Comittee.   




                                                                                                                                  
On the other hand, the rural local authorities also consist of three tires :-


(i)Gaon Panchayat. 

(ii)Anchalik Panchayat. 

(iii)Zila Parisad.










Urban Local Government




The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 gave constitutional recognition to the urban-local government. It introduced a new part named part- IXA in the Constitution, which deals with the structure, composition, reservation of the municipalities. Let’s discuss the urban local-bodies of Assam, in detail.




    First of all let's  discuss about Guwahati Municipal Corporation.





Guwahati Municipal Corporation




Municipal Corporation are found in big cities. The Guwahati Municipal Corporation Act, 1969 deal with the formation, functions, powers etc.of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) . In 1974, GMC was constituted. 



Composition :




     The area of GMC would be specified by the governor taking into consideration the population, density of population, revenue, percentage of employment in non-agriculture activities etc. The  GMC has a statutory status. 


The GMC is a popular body representing local people. The whole city is divide into a number of wards, for the purpose of election. The elected members of GMC are called councillors. For every 7500 people, there should be one councillor. Though the Act did not say anything about the minimum number of councillors, it fixed 60 as maximum number. For the people belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and woman, the constitution (74th Amendment) Act,1994 provided that at-least one-third of the total councillors should be female. If no one is elected from scheduled  castes or scheduled tribes, one member from each community must be nominated by members of GMC. Adequate representation of scheduled caste, scheduled  tribes and woman in relation to the office of chairperson should be provided. The councillors are elected for 5 years. By notification, the government may extend the term for one year.


    A councillors may be removed from his/her post by the notifications of government, if he/she fails -

 (i) To attend three consecutive meetings not without permission.

Or 

(ii) Attend meeting continuously for 6 months, without permission. A councillors may resign from his post by writing a letter to the Mayor.



The councillors elect a Mayor and a Deputy Mayor among themselves. The Deputy Mayor performs the functions of Mayor in his absence. The Mayor may delegate some of his duties to the Deputy Mayor. They are elected for a term of one year.


       An important feature of the Corporation is that there is separation between legislative wing and executive wing. As the size of the Corporation is large , several Committees are set up to facilitate its workings. For example 

1. Standing Finance Committees, 

2. Public works Committee, 

3. Public Health, Conservancy and water supply committee, 

4 Assessment, Market and Trades Committee, 

5. Appeals Committee. 

      More Committees can be set up as a per the felt needs of the Corporation. The council of the Corporation is headed by Mayor and its standing committee constitute the legislative wing of the Corporation. It's takes decisions. Municipal Commissioner heads the executive wing. He is responsible for the enforcement of the decisions taken by the Council. Collectively, the council, standing committees and Municipal Commissioner make up the Corporation. For this reason, a proper understanding and co-operation are necessary for the successful implementation of the Corporation’s work.



The Mayor : 

   Mayor is the chairperson of the Corporation. He/She is the first citizen of the city. Though he/she is elected for one year, he/she may be removed from the office by no-confidence motion of the council. Mayor presides over the meetings of the council. He/She conducts the proceedings of the meetings. He/She has full access over all the record of the Corporation. He maintains discipline in the meetings of the Council. All communications with state government are made through him.



The Municipal Commissioner : 

      He is the chief executive officer of the Corporation and is at the apex of the municipal hierarchy. He controls the administrative machinery of the Corporation. He is appointed by the state government. He can attain all the meetings of the Corporation, but does not enjoy right to vote. He is the custodian of all records, documents, papers of the Corporation. He prepares the budget estimates. He must furnish returns, estimates, statements of accounts regarding administration of the Corporation.


Powers of the Corporation : 

     Corporation enjoys enormous powers. These can be divided into four heads-


 1. Legislative powers, 

 2. Executive powers, 

 3. Judicial powers and 

 4. Financial powers. 



Let’s discuss each power separately.


1. Legislative power:   

      The Corporation enjoys the power to make and modify the rules, bye-laws of the Corporation. The Corporation has the power to appoint employees of the Corporation, except the Municipal Commissioner. It elects Mayor and Deputy Mayor. It enjoys supreme authority to determine salary, allowances, conditions for promotion, dismissal etc. It may make rules regarding the service conditions of its employees. Again, the Corporation is empowered to create new committees and entrust them with duties, on the basis of requirements. It may dissolve the committees at any time. It appoints the chair-person of the standing committees.


2. Executive powers : 

     The executive powers of Corporation are exercised by Commissioner and other officers. The Corporation exercises both obligatory or necessary  function and optional functions. For this reason, its executive powers are enormous. Some of the executive powers are:-


a. To take over land for construction of hospitals, parks, play grounds or for any other public purpose,

b. To prepare plans for development of any area within its jurisdictions, 

c. To close temporarily or permanently any  road or bridge,

d. To issue permission for the construction of roads, buildings, houses, within its jurisdiction,

e. To issue trade license to establish factories, business etc;

f. To name the roads and give house numbers.



3. Judicial powers : 

   The Corporation may prosecute any individual trade establishment or business houses for the violation of the rules of the Corporation. It may charge penalty from the offenders for the damages caused by them. 


4. Financial powers :

     Without financial power all other are meaningless.The Corporation can pass or modify the budget prepared by the Finance Committee. It can borrow loans from various sources with prior approval of Government of Assam. 


     Again, it may create a “Sinking Fund” for repayment of loans. It can impose, realise or increase taxes. The tax to be paid by an individual may be relaxed by considering his economic conditions. It may abolish some taxes. It may levy on all goods carried by railway, road, water or pipe line into the Guwahati city from any place outside their an octroi duty with prior permission of the state government.


Functions : 


    After enactment of the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992, the municipalities along with traditional functions have to perform crucial role in the formulation as well as implementation  of development programmes and urban poverty alleviation. Some of the important function are:- 


1.Urban planning  including town planning.


2.Water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial purpose.

3.Regulation of public bathing and washing.

4.Regulating of factories, traders.

5.Prevention of dangerous diseases. 

6.Disposal of dead animal.

7.Provision of cremation and burial grounds.

8.Prevention and extinguishing fire.

9.Public safety and Suppression of nuisances.


10.Keeping vital statistics including registration of birth and deaths. 


11.Prevention of cruelty to animals.

12.Slum improvement and upgradation .

13.Urban poverty alleviation.

14.Protection of environment.


15.Providing relief to people in case of disaster.



16.Promotion of cultural, educational and aesthetic aspects.


17.Regulation of land-use and construction of building.
18.Planing for economic and social development.


19.Public amenities including street lighting, parking lots, bus stops etc.



20.Regulation of slaughter houses and tanneries.



Sources of revenue : 


    There is a Corporation Fund where all receipts of the Corporation are deposited. Main sources of revenue are- rents of property, house tax, proceeds of sale of property; fees collection and fines levied; interests and profits arising from investments; loans and donations and above all, grants or deposits from government. It may levy taxes on following items :-buildings, lands, profession, trade, callings, employment, show, consumption of energy, water, fire etc. It may impose fees on advertisements except news papers, building application, internal services in building and planning schemes etc.

     But the funds which accumulate in the hand of Corporation are not sufficient. For itself GMC cannot take expensive welfare projects. It has to depend upon the grant from the State Government.


Governmental control :


     The state government exercises control over the Corporation. Instead of providing guidance and support through the control mechanism, the state government negatively restrict the functioning of Corporation. The government may direct the Corporation regarding the performance of certain functions. It can inspect the works, offices of the Corporation. It may remove Mayor, Deputy Mayor under certain circumstances. Again it can dissolve committees, the Corporation Council in certain cases. Above all, the financial control exercised by state government over Corporation has made the latter almost a puppet in the hands of former.

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