Mayors can no longer complain of being powerless.
For, every mayor in the state will soon be made the ex-officio chairman of the civic standing committee, thus giving him control over the civic budget.
The decision to grant financial powers to mayors has been taken by the state cabinet. The matter would be taken up for approval at its weekly meeting on Wednesday.
Justifying the proposal, the urban development department said that though mayors are the first citizens of their respective cities, in the absence of financial powers, they just remain as figureheads. “The empowerment makes standing committee chairman a parallel power centre in the civic corporation,” said the cabinet note.
In other local bodies such as municipal councils and zilla parishads, the respective chairman also heads the standing committee.
According to the decision, the mayor will be made the head after the sitting chairman completes his 30-month term.
Currently, the standing committee — an empowered group of elected representatives — takes the financial decisions. The mayor does not have a say in the decision-making process. A case in point could be the standing committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation that controls the annual budget of more than Rs25,000 crore and enjoys the absolute right to take decisions on the expenditure.
The existing laws grant more powers to the administration that is headed by government-appointed officers. The municipal commissioner is authorised to turn down proposals moved by political representatives.
The decision is likely to put an end to the political games played to bag the coveted standing committee chief’s post.
After approving the proposal, the state would amend the relevant laws and get it passed in the forthcoming monsoon session of the state legislature.