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Maharashtra govt gives more powers to council presidents elected by voters

Also proposes to protect them by prohibiting no-confidence motion against them before they complete half of their term

mumbai Updated: Jan 10, 2018 00:39 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,municipal council,nagar panchayat
Revenue minister Chandrakant Patil spoke about the relaxations in various sectors for the Maratha community(HT FILE)

After holding direct elections for the posts of district presidents of the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, the state government on Tuesday proposed to empower them by giving them special powers to grant financial approvals to projects in their respective tehsils. The government has also proposed to protect them by prohibiting no-confidence motion against them before they complete half of their elected term.

The state government also announced various relaxations in education, skill development and entrepreneurship to the youths from Maratha community. The decision was taken after the Maratha community announced to relaunch its agitation from February 19 if their demands were not met.

“We have extended the income limit to Rs8 lakh from Rs6 lakh for the 605 professional undergraduate courses in which the economically backward students get scholarships. Besides this we have made adequate provisions for skill development programmes and funding for the new businesses to be started by the youths from the community. We will also make the government buildings available to convert them into hostels for students of the Maratha community,” said state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, who heads a sub-committee to decide upon the demands by the community.

The Congress hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) move to empower district presidents, alleging that the BJP is trying to safeguard its party presidents in the councils where they are in a minority. Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “Electing the municipal council and nagar panchayat presidents directly from the voters and now empowering them is a politically motivated decision. It will help the BJP presidents to rule the bodies without even having the majority.”

Of 191 municipal councils whose presidents were directly elected by voters in the past one-and-a-half years, the BJP has 71 presidents, followed by Congress at 31, Shiv Sena (26) and Nationalist Congress Party (21). In many bodies, the BJP had its president elected directly, though the body has a majority of corporators from other parties.

On Tuesday, the state cabinet approved the proposal of amendment in Maharashtra Municipal Councils Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Townships Actto empower the presidents. “The council will have no right to move no-confidence motion against the president until completion of two and half years of his term. The no-confidence motion moved by the body on completion of the period, will have to be examined by the district collector before sending it to the state government. The presidents will enjoy financial powers for the betterment of the infrastructure in the tehsils,” a statement issued by the government said.

According to experts, by retaining the power to disqualify presidents, the state government has ensured that the presidents belonging to the ruling parties would be in a position to complete their terms even if they lack majority.

First Published: Jan 10, 2018 00:39 IST