A committee mandated by the Union home ministry to outline the future of municipal administration in Delhi has recommended splitting the Capital into 11 municipal councils with a Mayor’s Committee at the top.
The report drafted by the committee headed by former Delhi chief secretary Omesh Saigal was handed over to Union home minister Shivraj Patil on Tuesday. “The minister has appreciated the work put in by the committee,” home secretary VK Duggal said.
Patil also received another report on the multiplicity of authorities in the Capital by a committee headed by former transport secretary Ashok Pradhan. This committee favoured appointing the Delhi chief minister as chairman of the Delhi Development Authority, arguing that this would improve coordination at the planning level.
As things stand, the Lieutenant Governor chairs the DDA that originally had planning on the top of its priority list. But over time, it has been accused of pushing planning lower down the list. The Ashok Pradhan committee has emphasised that the authority – which has missed the 2001 deadline for finalising the Master Plan of Delhi 2021– should restore planning to the top of the list.
The Saigal committee has, on the other hand, tried to balance competing demands from the Delhi government and the elected municipal councillors; the state government pushing for trifurcation of the municipal body and the councillors demanding a Mayor-in-Council system. In the long term, the committee took the view that trifurcation would not help. Delhi would be back to square one in a little over than a decade; Delhi’s population is estimated to reach 2.3 crore by 2021. A larger number of municipal councils would serve to keep the councils manageable and efficient.
The committee calls each of the 11 councils, “Janpad”, each covering a population of roughly 20 lakh each by 2021. They should have their own budget and be semi-autonomous. At the top of the hierarchy of the municipal administration, the committee has mooted a Mayor’s committee, presided by the Mayor.
Besides recommending an overhaul of the municipal structure, the committee has also recommended a separate set of bye-laws on solid waste management, appointment of public persons as special municipal inspectors with powers to impose fines for municipal offences like littering and an enhanced fine structure on the “polluter pays” principle.