Municipal System in Assam (Self Governance)

Assam Polity - Assamexam

The Municipal Act of 1923 was in force in Assam for 33 years i.e., from 1923 to 1956. In 1956, the Act of 1923 was repealed by the Assam Municipal Act, 1956. The Assam Municipal Act, 1923 provided that the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman and all the members of Municipal bodies should be elected. The Act provided for the appointment of a number of committees and the delegation of powers to them. Under this Act, Municipal Board had full freedom in regard to the levy of taxes. Powers relating to sanitation, water supply, lighting, drainage and etc were given to Municipal Board.

The Assam Municipal Act of 1956 is still in force in Assam. Presently, the Municipal administration of urban areas of Assam other than the city of Guwahati and the areas of three Autonomous Councils under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution is carried on in accordance with the Assam Municipal Act, 1956.

Guwahati has its own Municipal Act i.e., Guwahati Municipal Corporation Act, 1969 and Municipal administration of Guwahati city is carried on in accordance with this Act. In the areas where Autonomous Councils exist, under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution, there are Municipal Boards and Town Committees, but they are completely under the purview of Autonomous Councils.

The most important step relating to urban self government was taken by Govt. of India in the form of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, which came into force in 1993. In order to incorporate the changes made by the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, the Government of Assam brought some modifications in ‘Assam Municipal Act,1956’ in 1994’. Now in Assam we have three types of Urban Local Bodies i.e., (a) Town Committee, (b) Municipal Board and (c) Municipal Corporation.

Town Committees

Town Committee can be constituted in an urban area which has a population of less than 10,000. The State Government may by notification, declare a specified transitional area, a notified area, to be termed as ‘Small Towns’. For each of such notified areas a Town Committee is formed. Town Committee is constituted by the Government in an urban area where it is not possible to create a Municipal Board but such place may require some urban facilities. So, the Assam Municipal Act provides provision for the creation of Town Committees for such areas. At present there are 52 Town Committees in Assam. Town Committee consists of such number of members as may be fixed by the State Government from time to time but generally a Town Committee consists of not more than 10 and not less than 4 members. The State Government may appoint two members from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes to represent these people in the Committee. The State Government may appoint any person, whether a member of the Town Committee or not, to be its Chairman or Vice-Chairman, or may authorize any Town Committee to elect its Chairman or Vice-Chairman or both, and fix the term of office of Member or Chairmen or Vice-Chairman of the town Committee. In every Town Committee seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in proportion of their population in the total population. One-third of seats also are reserved for women in every Town Committee.

Functions of Town Committee

Town Committee performs the functions relating to all round development of the town area. It also looks after the overall development of the people of the town area. Town Committee performs functions relating to health, sanitation, construction, repair and maintenance of road, culvert, drain etc, maternity and child welfare , maintain and establish town halls, children parks, markets, street lighting, supply of electricity, drinking water, health facilities, schools, keeping records of weaker sections of the people and poverty alleviation programmes for them, basic amenities for the residents, registration of birth and deaths and improvement of urban life etc,. The Town Committee looks after the overall welfare of the people of the city. It must keep an eye on over all aspects of town life.

The functions of the Town Committees depend upon its financial resources. Its activities may be regulated by the Government. The Government has the right of inspection and supervision over them. A Town Committee may also be dissolved by the Government of Assam.

Municipal Boards

A Municipal Board can be constituted in an urban area which has a population of more than 10,000.There are Municipal Boards in most of the District and Sub-divisional headquarters of Assam. Presently, Assam has 27 Municipal Boards. A Municipal Board consists of not more than 30 and not less than 10 members. The members of the Board are called Commissioners. The State Government may nominate persons having special knowledge or experience in Municipal Board. The nominated members have the right to attend and speak at all meetings of the Board but have no right to vote. In every Municipality seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in proportion of their population in the total population. One-third of seats are reserved for women. An executive officer looks after the day to day administration of the Municipality.

Committees of Municipal Board

The Board at a meeting may appoint Committees to assist it in the discharge of any specific duty. It may delegate to any such Committee all or any of its powers, or withdraw all, or any of such powers necessary for the purpose of rendering assistance. All questions pertaining to the removal or resignations of Commissioners from Committee are settled by the Board at a meeting. The proceedings of Committee are subject to confirmation by the Board at a meeting.

Functions of Municipal Board

Municipal Board performs the functions relating to all round development of the municipal area. It also looks after the overall development of the people of the municipal area. Municipal Board performs functions relating to health, sanitation, construction, repair and maintenance of road, culvert, drain etc, maternity and child welfare , maintain and establish town halls, children parks, markets, street lighting, supply of electricity, drinking water, health facilities, schools, keeping records of weaker sections of the people and poverty alleviation programmes for them, basic amenities for the residents, registration of birth and deaths and improvement of urban life etc,. The Board looks after the overall welfare of the people of the city. It may also make provisions to supply essential commodity for the benefit of the people. It must keep an eye on over all aspects of city-life.

 

Guwahati Municipal Corporation

In 1969 the Guwahati Municipal Corporation Act was passed by the Assam Legislative Assembly. The Act of 1969 lays down the provisions for the composition of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation. The Guwahati Municipal Corporation Act, 1969 is still in force in the Guwahati city. The first Guwahati Municipal Corporation was constituted in 1974.

The members of the Corporation are called ‘Councillors’ and they are elected by the people of the city. The term of office of the members is 5 years. The nominated members have the right to attend the meetings but cannot vote. The Corporation consists of Elected Councillors; subject to a maximum of 60. The State Government may nominate persons having special knowledge or experience in Municipal Administration. MPs and MLAs representing the constituencies which comprise fully or partly the Corporation are the Ex-officio Members. The seats in the Corporation are reserved for Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in proportion of their population in the total population. One third Seats are also reserved for women.

Standing Committees

There are five Standing Committees of the Municipal Corporation. Each Standing Committee consists of five members elected by the Corporation from amongst its members other than the Mayor. No Councillors can be a member of more than one Committee. The term of office of a member of the Committee is one year.

These Committees are:-

  1. Finance Committee.
  2. Public Works Committee.
  3. Public Health, Conservancy and Water Supply Committee.
  4. Assessment, Markets and Trades Committee.
  5. Appeals Committee.
Powers and functions of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation

The Guwahati Municipal Corporation is responsible for the all-round development of the city. It must keep an eye over all aspects of city-life. Guwahati Municipal Corporation has the power to make adequate provisions for the construction, maintenance and cleaning of drains and public latrines, urinals and similar conveniences, registration of birth and deaths, preventing and checking the spread of dangerous and contagious diseases, establishment and maintenance of hospitals, dispensaries and maternity and child welfare. The Corporation is responsible for the supply of safe drinking water, electricity, trade, industry or commerce, run schools, promote public safety, health, convenience or general welfare, urban planning including town planning, planning for economic and social development, slum improvement and up gradation, urban poverty alleviation. The functions of the Municipal Corporation are related to the welfare of the people. The standard of city-life depends on the efficiency of the Corporation. The Corporation also takes steps for providing recreation to the people by holding exhibitions, sports and games etc. It may also make provisions to supply essential commodities for the benefit of the people.

 

APSC Mains polity test series - Assamexam