Faced with rapid urbanisation and citizens’ discontent over the quality of civic amenities, the state government is thinking of setting up a regulatory commission for municipal bodies governing cities.
The three-member Maharashtra Municipal Regulatory Commission will analyse amenities provided by civic bodies including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and decide the level of taxes they can levy.
This means you may have to pay higher municipal taxes on water supply, waste management and other civic utilities. Most civic taxes are heavily subsidised. All municipal amenities like water supply, waste management, sewerage systems, and road infrastructure will come under the commission’s ambit. “One of the main reasons for poor civic amenities is that municipal taxation is very low. The commission can decide how to increase the level of taxation and it will also make municipal bodies more accountable and professional,’’ said a senior bureaucrat, on condition of anonymity.
The state has set up a cabinet sub-committee of eight ministers, under Revenue Minister Narayan Rane, to deliberate on the issue and chalk out the commission’s framework. The sub committee, which includes the urban development secretary as an invitee member is expected to submit a report to the Cabinet for clearance.
The government resolution for setting up this committee was issued on June 8. According to government estimates, Maharashtra is the most urbanised state in the country with more than 50 per cent of its population living in cities and towns. Officials say the pressure on providing clean, sufficient civic amenities is going to be a challenge in the future.
The municipal regulatory commission will also look into disputes between local bodies and private contractors providing civic amenities to. For example, the management of waste in municipal hospitals has been sub-contracted to private agencies in many cases.