Union cabinet gives nod to bill to merge three Delhi civic bodies
The Union cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to a bill to merge the three municipal corporations in Delhi, a move that is likely to escalate the ongoing political tussle between the BJP and the AAP ahead of the civic polls.
The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill is likely to be introduced in the ongoing budget session of Parliament, sources in the government said.
The unified municipal corporation, the sources said, will be a well-equipped entity for optimum and even utilisation of financial resources which will reduce mounting liabilities, expenditure on the functioning of the three municipal corporations and improve the civic services of the national capital.
Some more amendments have also been cleared in the principal Act of 1957 to ensure improved governance and more efficient delivery of civic services, the sources said.
The amendment provides for a unified municipal corporation of Delhi by subsuming the existing three corporations.
The erstwhile Delhi Municipal Corporation was trifurcated into three municipal corporations — South Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation , and East Delhi Municipal Corporation in 2011.
The trifurcation of the corporation was uneven in terms of the territorial divisions and revenue generating potential of each corporation. As a result, there was a huge gap in the resources available to the three corporations, vis-a-vis their obligations, the sources pointed out. The gap widened over a period of time, increasing the financial difficulties of the three municipal corporations, leaving them incapacitated to make timely payment of salaries and retirement benefits to their employees creating serious impediments in maintaining civic services in Delhi, the sources said.
The state election commission had deferred the announcement of the election schedule for the civic bodies, which it was earlier slated to announce on March 9. Since the deferment, a bitter war of words has ensued between the BJP, which is ruling the three municipal corporations, and the AAP, the ruling party in the Delhi government.
The last civic polls in the city were held in April 2017. The erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was governed under the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act 1957 and it continued to be the legal basis for the three corporations since trifurcation.
Since trifurcation of the MCD, the NDMC and the SDMC have 104 wards each, while the EDMC has 64 wards.
At present, the post of mayor in the three corporations in Delhi sees five single-year terms on rotation basis, with the first year being reserved for women, the second for open category, third for reserved category, and the remaining two also being in the open category.