Measures to strengthen urban local bodies in India:

  • Greater autonomy:The urban local bodies should be given greater autonomy. India needs to follow a devolved model that empowers urban local bodies. Municipalities should be more autonomous in their functioning, so that they can deliver quality service.
  • Governance Reforms: Governance reform are needed as catalyst for change. The Government may consider the adoption of a common categorisation of urban bodies across the country so as to assist a systematic planning process and devolution of funds. All areas having population more than 10 lakhs should be defined metropolitan areas.
  • Timely elections and recruitment: For strengthening ULBs, a minimum level of staffing should be provided in metropolitan areas. Elections to ULBs should not be, generally, delayed beyond six months.
  • Encouraging public-private partnership:Successful PPP programs should be formulated at both state and city levels to fund city development. Role of the state should be to create an enabling environment with an aim to expand and deepen private sector investments in infrastructure.
  • Planning:Government needs to coordinate at various levels with regard to implementation of various programmes. The urban local bodies should prioritise the development programmes. Any mega project envisaged needs to be developed taking into account the views of all the stakeholders.
  • Holistic approach:It is important to integrate various urban development and related programs at local, state and national levels to develop sustainable city or metropolitan regions. Urban institutions should be strengthened and roles of different organisations should be fixed.

Urban local government institutions are constituted for the maintenance and planned development of urban areas. The objective is to ensure that suitable levels of infrastructure and services are available to the citizens. In many parts of India, the quality of life in urban areas is miserable and the citizens lead a difficult life. To overcome this problem, a series of reforms need to be initiated by the Indian government to strengthen local-level governance.