City Level Legislative Structure Concept
Cities need to be headed by this legislative structure where the mayor, like the chief minister at the state level, would be the elected head of the city-level government. The legislative structure will comprise a city council, mayor-in-council, consisting of corporators elected from various wards. The mayor-in-council will be responsible for making policies for the city. The municipal commissioner in this governance structure would be accountable to the legislative body to ensure the execution of plans. To ensure checks and balances, the mayor-in-council will be able to impeach the mayor.
The mayor-in-council will be responsible for all the functions of a municipal corporation. Keeping in line with the structure at the Union and state level, the elected members will be assigned specific mandates. This would include areas such as maintenance of urban utilities, water supply and sewage, public health and land-use plans. The mayor should also be able to raise finances at the city level and look after the rule of law. The mayor-in-council should approve all budgets, building by-laws, city laws and zone changes.
For a city to be able to plan for the needs of its citizens and inevitable changes, it requires a long-term plan and robust implementation capacity. To achieve this, a separate metropolitan cadre can be created in the state administrative services for administrative officers with experience and a strong understanding of urban issues. This cadre should be tasked with carrying out policies decided by the mayor-in-council. The municipal commissioner can be the highest ranking IAS officer in the metropolitan cadre.
This herculean task can only be completed by the Union government via a Constitutional amendment. Ideally, the amendment should introduce a fourth list for local governments into the seventh schedule, but at the very least it should lay the foundation for an independent and accountable city administration.
That said, since municipalities are state subjects, the policies require strong support from the state to enable an independent municipality. This change would, therefore, require a chief minister who is ready to take the bold step and leave a legacy of a more federalised government. more