Bengaluru Revolutionary Administrative Reforms Initiated
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