Centre to boost urban bodies for larger role
NEW DELHI: Considering that urban local bodies have a crucial role in the success of flagship urban missions including Swachh Bharat, the Centre is mulling a plan to strengthen them.A senior official of the Ministry of Urban Affairs said that urban local bodies are the main implementing agency of government projects—whether it is cleanliness, solid waste management or infrastructure development. “Urban local bodies are needed to get financial and administrative autonomy to manage their funds and get better resources for optimum service delivery and this holds key to the Centre’s dream of urban transformation,” added the official.
Funding for municipal bodies has always been an issue and due to this, projects often get stuck in cities because these bodies have limited powers and require approvals and sanctions from the state and Centre. Delhi municipal corporations are an example of this as sanitation works in the city have become victim of this in recent times. Officials said that apart from this, lack of accountability and transparency in administrative procedures, failure in implementing e-governance system, inefficiency and scarcity of staff are other major issues affecting the works of local bodies. Moreover, the maximum use of available resources like land and buildings for fund generation is also an area of concern.
Moreover, local bodies do not have the services of professional town planners, and do not have finance and asset management experts. Personnel engaged in management of urban affairs and municipal services are usually not trained. The specific areas identified for attention are socio-economic planning, environmental management, urban planning, citizen participation, urban reforms, municipal accounting and financial management, e-governance, municipal service delivery including water supply, solid waste management, sewerage and sanitation.