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3) Municipalities are not yet autonomous units that can be genuinely called as the “third tier” of government in India’s federal system. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Topic: devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

3) Municipalities are not yet autonomous units that can be genuinely called as the “third tier” of government in India’s federal system. Critically analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

On one hand, we talk of democratic decentralization, and on the other hand, creation of SPVs for implementation of governmental schemes like Smart Cities Mission dilute the authority of local governments. This raises questions on the status of municipalities as genuine third tier of the government and needs to be critically analyzed.

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to assess the role of ULBs from the point of view of its powers and functioning and analyze whether it can be genuinely called as the third tier of governance. We need to provide arguments both for and against its role as third tier of governance and provide a fair and balanced conclusion.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the overall objective of 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment act. Mention that 35 years later, questions still arise on true nature of democratic decentralization in the country.

Body – Examine the main issues why questions arise over the role of ULBs as genuine third tier of government. Answer under headings like power, finance etc. Here, also assess the functioning of  ULBs in rolling out schemes like JNNURM etc which compelled the government to institute SPVs. Examine how SPVs are eroding the authority of ULBs. Bring out how raising questions over the third tier of government is premature as the institution is indeed delivering albeit slowly.

Discuss the way forward as well.

Conclusion – provide a fair and balanced view by summarising the arguments made above.