Essay on the Summary Recommendations on Local Governance of India

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(a) Article 243 G should be amended as follows: "Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the true of a State shall, by law, vest a Panchayat at the appropriate level with such powers and are necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self government in respect of all fill which can be performed at the local level including the functions in respect of the matters listed Eleventh Schedule".

(b) Article 243 W should be similarly amended to empower urban local bodies. Strengthening the Voice of Local Bodies

(a) Parliament may by law provide for constitution of a Legislative Council in each State, consisting of beers elected by the local governments.

Structure of Local Bodies

(a) Article 243B (1) should be amended to read as follows: "There shall be constituted in every State, State Legislature may by law provide, Panchayats at appropriate levels in accordance with the of this part".

(b) The Constitutional provisions relating to reservation of seats (Article 243 D) must be retained current form to ensure adequate representation to the under-privileged sections and women.

(c) Members of Parliament and State Legislatures should not become members of local bodies.

(d) Article 243 C(1) should be retained.

(e) Article 243 C (2 & 3) should be repealed and supplanted by Article 243 C(2) as follows: 243 C(2) Si to the provisions of this part, the Legislature of a State may, by law, make provisions with res| composition of Panchayats and the manner of elections provided that in any tier there shall be election of at least one of the two offices of Chairperson or members.

Provided that in case of direct elections of members in any tier, the ratio between the population of territorial area of a Panchayat at any level and the number of seats in such Panchayat to be election shall, so far as practicable, be the same throughout the State.

Also, each Panchayat area be divided into territorial constituencies in such manner that the ratio between the population of constituency and the number of seats allotted to it shall, so far as practicable, be the same through Panchayat area.

The Electoral Process

(a) The task of delimitation and reservation of constituencies should be entrusted to the State Election Commissions (SECs);

(b) Local government laws in all States should provide for adoption of the Assembly electoral rolls for local governments without any revision of names by SECs. For such a process to be effective it is necessary ensure that the voter registration and preparation of electoral rolls by Election Commission of Indian based on geographic contiguity.

Similarly the electoral divisions for elections to local bodies should for the Building Blocks approach;

(c) The Registration of Electors Rules, 1960, should be amended to define a 'Part' as a compact geographical unit.

(d) In order to achieve convergence between census data and electoral rolls, the boundaries of a Part' an 'Enumeration Block' should coincide.

(e) Reservation of seats should follow any one of the two principles mentioned below:

(i) In case of single-member constituencies, the rotation can be after at least 2 terms of 5 years each so that there is possibility of longevity of leadership and nurturing of constituencies.

(ii) Instead of single-member constituencies, elections can be held to multi-member constituencies by the List System, ensuring the reservation of seats. This will obviate the need for rotation thus guaran­teeing allocation of seats for the reserved categories.

(f) The conduct of elections for the elected members of District and Metropolitan Planning Committees should be entrusted to the State Election Commission. Constitution of the State Election Commission

(a) The State Election Commissioner should be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of collegiums, comprising the Chief Minister, the Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.

(b) An institutional mechanism should be created to bring the Election Commission of India and the SECs on a common platform for coordination, learning from each other's experiences and sharing of resources.

(c) (Para 3.2.3.4) Correcting the Urban Rural Imbalance in Representations in Legislative Bodies

(a) In order to set right the electoral imbalance between the urban and rural population in view of rapid urbanisation, an adjustment of the territorial constituencies - both for the Lok Sabha and the Legisla­tive Assembly - within a State should be carried out after each census. Articles 81, 82,170, 330 and 332 of the Constitution would need to be amended. Devolution of Powers and Responsibilities

(a) There should be clear delineation of functions for each level of local government in the case of each subject matter law. This is not a one-time exercise and has to be done continuously while working out locally relevant socio-economic programmes, restructuring organisations and framing subject-matter laws.

(b) Each subject-matter law, which has functional elements that are best attended to at local levels, should have provision for appropriate devolution to such levels - either in the law or in subordinate legislation. All the relevant Union and State laws have to be reviewed urgently and suitably amended.

(c) In the case of new laws, it will be advisable to add a 'local government memorandum' (on the analogy of financial memorandum and memorandum of subordinate legislation) indicating whether any functions to be attended to by local governments are involved and if so, whether this has been provided for in the law.

(d) In case of urban local bodies, in addition to the functions listed in the Twelfth Schedule, the following should be devolved to urban local bodies:

» School education;

» Public health, including community health centres/area hospitals;

» Traffic management and civic policing activities;

» Urban environment management and heritage; and

» Land management, including registration

These, however, are only illustrative additional functions and more such functions could be devolved to urban local bodies by the respective States. Framework Law for Local Bodies

(a) Government of India should draft and place before Parliament, a Framework Law for local governments. The Framework Law could be enacted under Article 252 of the Constitution on the lines of the South African Act, for the States to adopt. This Law should lay down the broad principles of devolution of powers, responsibilities and functions to the local governments and communities, based on the following:

» Principle of Subsidiarity

» Democratic Decentralisation

» Delineation of Functions

» Devolution in Real Terms

» Convergence

» Citizen Centricity


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