The earliest evidence of local management of civic administration in India can be traced to Indus Valley civilization (around 2300 B.C) which was essentially an urban civilization. Commenting on the Indus Valley civilization, Golden Childe says “well planned streets and a magnificent system of drains, regularly cleared out; reflect the vigilance of some regular municipal government”. The nature of society and governance at local level underwent a significant change over the changing course of Indian history. It is beyond the scope of this paper to trace the process of this evolution and therefore one move straight to the modern civic administration in urban India. The first municipal Corporation in modern India was set up in the former Presidency town of Madras in 1688. This was followed by Municipal Corporations of Calcutta in 1876 and Bombay in 1888. Lord Ripon (1880-84), the Viceroy of India introduced an element of elections in the Municipal Corporation and is known as “father of Local Self-government in India” for his pioneering work in this direction. The reforms introduced by Lord Ripon continue to have its traces in the existing local self governments.
Municipalities in India came into being in the British era. The first of the municipalities in India was in the city of Chennai as the Municipal Corporation in the year 1688. This was followed by the setting up of the subsequent municipalities in India in the states of Mumbai and Kolkata. Presidents of these municipalities in India were elected by Lord Mayo's Resolution of 1870. The present structure and configuration of the municipalities of India came into being after Lord Ripon's Resolution of 1882. The basic structure of the municipalities in India has not changed much since 1882. In the year 1992, the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act came into being and brought with it specifications regarding the responsibilities and the powers of the municipal units in India. The periodical elections followed the 1992 Act with timely elections and reconstruction of the municipal government.
The 1992 Act made it mandatory for the Central Finance Commission to take care of the state municipalities in India and provide funds in case of necessity. However, unlike the rural governing bodies, the urban Indian municipalities did not have a federated and systematic network. The municipal networks in India comprise of Mayor and councillors. The number of councillors in a particular municipal area depends upon the total population of that region. Also, the elected councillors are the ones who choose among the nominated councillors.
The Municipalities of India are headed by the Municipal Commissioner whose tenure of operation is fixed by the State Statue. All the powers and responsibilities of the Municipal Commissioner are also provided by the Statue of the State. The functions of Municipalities are divided into two parts – discretionary and Obligatory.
Some of the discretionary functions of the Municipalities of India are: 1. Housing facilities for low income groups
2. Construction and maintenance of gardens, libraries, rest houses, public parks, leper homes, rescue homes for women, museums and orphanages 3. Provision of transport links with the municipality
4. Promotion of welfare of employees of municipalities
5. Securing or removal of building or places that are prone to dangers Some of the obligatory functions performed by the municipals of India are: 1. Building and maintenance of primary schools
2. Supply of wholesome water
3. Removing obstruction and projections in public paths, bridges and other areas 4. Lighting and watering in the public streets
5. Maintenance and development of the public hospitals
6. Construction and maintenance of public streets
Sources of Income-
The sources of income are mainly two-
1. Taxes that the Corporation can levy, like octoroons, water...