ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Haryana : Elected City Governments

While the idea and practice of decentralised governance are spreading worldwide and also in India, Haryana has chosen to cut its municipal corporations down to manageable size - mainly by enhancing the power of the commissioner over the elected representatives.

The government of Haryana is working steadily to make the system of urban governance defunct in the state. The Constitution (74th) Amendment Act, 1992 was considered to be a major breakthrough in the sphere of urban governance in the country. It is a general belief that the amendment has given the urban local bodies (ULBs) in India the right to exist, overcoming the long period of supersession of the ULBs by the state governments. Contrary to the policies adopted by the government of India to empower the local government, the state government of Haryana has proceeded to murder the process of democratic decentralisation. A number of state governments have gone a long way in various ways to empower the third tier of government (municipal entities) after the constitutional amendment. However, the system of urban governance is on the verge of becoming defunct in Haryana due to certain recent policies adopted by the state government.

Recently, Haryana has also joined the list of the states that have already abolished octroi. Octroi is the most buoyant of all the local sources of revenue and the only one at the disposal of the local governments that has the potential to grow with the growth of economic activities in the city. Abolition of octroi in the state has left the finances of the urban local bodies in a shambles. Even the larger corporations in the state have become bankrupt, and are not in a position even to pay salaries to the municipal staff. Consequently, undertaking developmental works for the cities has become a far cry for the city governments. Madhya Pradesh was the first state to abolish octroi, in 1977-78, and the then secretary, ministry of environment, government of India, commented: “It is the first step towards the murder of urban governance”.

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