Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 16:16:29

Bengaluru Revolutionary Administrative Reforms Initiated

By Lokpal Sethi from Bengaluru
Updated: February 15, 2021 8:01 pm

Bengaluru, country’s  largest  IT hub, is set to  get a  new way of administration. With a city-specific law, passed by the state Assembly, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) administration  has been decentralised to ensure greater efficiency other than increase in participation of  the common man   for faster   development  of the metro to  attract more   investors  and ease of doing business. The new law has been described as a revolutionary reform in local  administration. It took nearly one year for the BJP government in the state in south to bring in a comprehensive  law for the metro to make it  a world-class city. Although over the years, it has emerged  as  a   major centre  for foreign  investment,  now with this new act, the investment pace would be stepped up further in the coming years. In a way, it would serve as an example  for other states to follow. This was  all due to the vision of the BJP leadership in general and Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa in particular, who is  keen to see the much faster development of the city.

Till now, the city was governed under Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act 1976.. After coming to power in July 2019, the BJP government set the goal to improve the administration of the state capital. After  a wide range of  discussions with all the stakeholders, the BJP government in March last year  presented the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar  Palike Bill  in the state Assembly. On the insistence of members from both the sides, it was sent to a select committee, which after months of deliberations  suggested a comprehensive law for the city  to increase  efficiency, faster development  and more participation by the people.

The  Bill was  passed in the recently concluded  session of  the Assembly. Within  no  time, rules and other procedural issues  were taken care of to implement the new law at the earliest. As the metro is expanding at a faster pace, the city’s limits were becoming shorter. In the new law, the city limits have been extended. It resulted in inclusion of several IT companies within the new city limits. At the same time, it would provide a new space to the investors  to set up their shops within the city limits .

The number of wards has been increased to 243 from 198.  Similarly,  the number of zones has been increased to  15 from the present 8. Each zone  would have its own citizen committees, which would  be headed by the area MLA. These committees  would prepare development plans for the respective areas. Administration of each zone would be headed by senior government functionaries.  These administrators would  have requisite  authorities to take decisions in certain  matters on their own. The government feels this would help in speedy clearances and implementation of the development schemes  of the city areas. To have more funds for development, BBMP would be entitled to levy entertainment  tax  on  theaters and cinema houses. It could  get  fee  for hoardings in the city. In a major boost to have more funds, BBMP has been authorised to introduce a new way for calculating and collecting house tax.

Under the old law city, MLAs and MPs  were part of the Corporation  as an ex-officio members. But  this has now  been removed. The  old law says if a member of the  corporation was   elected to Vidhan Sabha, he could retain membership of both the houses. Now  in such cases, elected representatives have to decide within six month that  membership of which house he or she wants to retain.  This  would  help in providing more representation in the Corporation. Under the old act,  Mayor and Deputy Mayor had the tenure of one year each. Now  their tenure would be of 30 months. In other words, during the five term of the  Corporation, there would be only two mayors and not five. This would help in continuity of development projects in the city.

Some social organisations feel things like the city metro rail should be brought under BBPM for better  coordination of amenities. The ruling party leaders say, if the new law yields good results as early as  possible, then the government would think of bringing such services under BBMP.

 

By Lokpal Sethi from Bengaluru

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