(Sample Material) IAS Online Coaching : Polity - Nagar palikas

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Subject: Polity

Topic: Nagarpalikas

The 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment Acts are sister legislations passed by the Parliament in 1992. They contain similar provisions. The 73rd Constitution Amendment Act provided directions for the creation of Panchayats in the rural areas and the 74th Constitution Amendment Act provided for the creation of Municipalities in urban areas. The two legislations laid a broad framework for the setting up of Panchayats and Municipalities by the states. The legislations also stipulated a time limit within which the state governments were to enact conforming legislations to enable setting up of Panchayats and Municipalities, that is by the 1st of July 1994.

Prior to the enactment of these Constitutional amendments, the functioning of the local bodies was at the discretion of the state governments. There was no constitutional obligation to enable them to function well. The super session of the local bodies was common. Entities like District Planning Committee, Metropolitan Planning Committee, Wards Committee, State Election Commission, State Finance Commission being absent, and the Nagarapalikas suffered

The 74th Amendment Act sought to remove these basic weaknesses and lay down a framework with broad guidelines for constitution, composition of Municipalities, elections/removal of Mayor or Chairpersons, qualification/disqualification of membership, setting up of State Election Commission etc.

Municipal bodies are the local self governing bodies consisting of political and administrative wings. The political wing is an elected body of councilors headed by a Mayor/President (Chairperson). The Commissioner from the IAS cadre heads the administrative wing. The Commissioner implements the decisions taken by the elective body.

Urban Local Governments

Municipality is a generic name for any organized local government, usually in an urban area- town, city etc. The structure and composition of the municipalities vary widely. The 74th CAA sought to bring some uniformity in the constitution of the municipal bodies by classifying them as follows:

  • Nagar Panchayat, to be constituted in rural-urban transition areas. These have been conceived to properly channelize the growth impulses in such settlements and also to bring order in their growth and provision of services;
  • Municipal Councils for smaller urban areas;
  • Municipal Corporations for larger urban areas.


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Urban local government is not hierarchical. However, the Municipal Corporation as an institution, enjoys a greater measure of autonomy than other forms of local government. It enjoys the power of dealing directly with the state government whreas the municipalities have no direct access to the state government and are answerable to the District Collector and Divisional Commissioner.

Municipalities and Corporations have deliberative and executive wings. In general, deliberative wings of Municipal Corporations comprise the Corporation Council the Standing Committee and the Mayor, whereas the executive wings comprise the Municipal Commissioner, the Deputy/Assistant Municipal Commissioner, the Municipal Engineer and subordinate administrative staff.

Deliberative wing

This is the General Body of the Municipal Corporation, comprising of elected members (councilors). Councilors are elected for a term varying between three and five years. The new Constitutional Amendment Act provides that every Municipal Corporation and every Municipal Council shall have the following two categories of councilors:

  • Directly elected councilors;
  • Nominated councilors.

The number of elected councilors is to vary according to the size of the population of the territorial area of the Municipal Corporation or the Municipal Council concerned Nominated councilors are to be nominated by the elected councilors of the Municipal Corporations/Councils concerned. The nominated councilors shall be persons having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration.


The Mayor in the Municipal Corporation is either directly elected or is a representative elected by the councilors from amongst themselves for a term of One year, which is renewable. The Mayor exercises administrative control over the secretariat of the corporation. The Mayor in India has no executive authority. The indirect election of the Mayor combined with his short term makes him more a figurehead than an act we functionary.

Various Statutory and Non-Statutory Committees that are set up by the council do most of the work of the corporation. A Statutory Committee is set tip by the statute which constitutes the Corporation, such as executive committee, standing committee, planning committee, health committee and education committee. Non-Statutory Committees include transport committee, women and child welfare committee etc. The number and composition of the committees vary from state to state. The most important committee, both regarding power and range of functions allotted is the Standing Committee of the Corporation. It acts as the steering Committee exercising executive supervisory, financial and personnel power. The Standing Committee consists of elected members varying between seven and sixteen through a system of proportional representation of councilors.

Executive wing

The Municipal Commissioner is the chief Executive Officer and head of the executive wing of the Municipal Corporation. All executive powers arc vested in the Municipal Commissioner. Although the Municipal Corporation is the legislative body laying down policies fir civic governance of the city, it is the Commissioner who is responsible for execution of the policies. The Commissioner is appointed for a fixed term that is mentioned in the respective state’s statutes. However, his tenure in a corporation may get either extended or reduced. The Commissioners powers are classified into two broad categories: those listed II the statute creating the corporation and those delegated by the Corporation or the Standing Committee.

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