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Home > Know Your Rights > Rights of urban dwellers under Municipal Corporation Act
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Q1.  What is meant by Municipal System?

A1.  Municipal system is a form of local self government in urban areas and cities. It deals with the administration of the city by the locally elected representatives from each area of the city. It is a three tier system of urban self governance depending on the population of the urban centers.


Q2.  What is the purpose of Municipal System?

A2.  The purpose of municipal system is strategic urban planning to create effective and democratic local governance framework. It aims to strengthen the legal, fiscal, economic and service delivery functions of municipalities and to encourage greater citizen participation in the governance of local bodies.


Q3.  What is the structure of the Municipal system?

A3.  There are three types of municipal bodies that are set up in accordance with the population of the urban centers.


1.  A Municipal Corporation (Nagar Nigam) is set-up in larger urban area where population is above 10 lakhs. For example in big cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta.

2.  A Municipality (Nagar Palika) is set up in the cities where population is less than 10 lakhs but more than 1 lakh.

3.  A City Council (Nagar Panchayat) is established in towns which have a population less than 1 lakh but more than 30,000.


Q4.  What are the powers and responsibilities of Municipal bodies?

A4.  The Legislature of a State by law may give many powers and authority to the Municipal bodies. They include:


·  The preparation of plans for economic development and social justice.

·  The implementation of schemes entrusted to them with respect to urban development.

·  Power to impose taxes and collect them.

·  Looking after public health which includes Water supply, Sewerage and Sanitation, eradication of communicable diseases etc.

·  Welfare functions that includes education, recreation, etc.

·  Regulatory functions related to prescribing and enforcing building regulations, encroachments on public land, etc.

·  Responsibility of public safety in the form of fire protection, Street lighting, etc.

·  Carrying out public works measures such as construction and maintenance of inner city roads, etc.

·  Development functions related to Town planning and development of commercial markets.

·  Implementation of family planning and poverty alleviation programs.

  • The utilisation of budget grants and compliance of audit reports.
  • Registration of births and deaths in the city.


Q5.  What are the rights of urban dwellers under the Municipal System?

A5.  Municipal system gives the people in the cities the right to govern themselves. It gives them the power to make plans and implement them with respect to the problems faced by them in the day to day life. It gives them the right to demand better living conditions in the city. They have the right to ask for better infrastructure facilities like roads, schools and hospitals in the city. Most importantly, under this system, the people get the right to take control of their own living conditions and the power to create a better living environment for themselves.


Q6.  How are members of the Municipal bodies elected?

A6.  All the seats in the municipalities are to be filled by direct election from municipal constituencies known as wards. Each city is divided into a number of wards depending on the population of the city. However, the Legislature of the state may provide for the representation of persons having special knowledge of municipal administration, members of the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly whose area falls under the municipal area and members of the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council, if such members are registered as electors in the municipal area. The Chairpersons of the ward committee may also be given such representation. The State Election Commission is responsible for the preparation of electoral roll and conduct of all elections to the municipality.


Q7.  Are there any provisions for the weaker sections and women in the Municipal system?

A7.  Municipal system provides reservation of seats in municipal bodies in favour of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in proportion to their population in the municipal area. It also provides for the reservation of one-third seats in favour of women candidates to increase their participation in the decision-making process.


Q8.  What is the tenure of a municipal body?

A8.  The term of office of a municipality is five years from the date of its first meeting. If a municipality is dissolved before the completion of its term of five years, the election to the new municipality is held within six months and its term is only for the remaining period. This provision is made to ensure that the general elections to all the municipalities of a state are held simultaneously after five years. It is also provided that the general elections to the municipality shall be held before the expiry of its five year term.

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