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Bill To Merge Delhi’s Three Civic Bodies To Be Introduced By Amit Shah Today

The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment ) Bill, 2022 will be introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah in Lok Sabha today. The Bill proposes that the number of seats in the unified corporation will not be more than 250 and will be determined by the “Central Government at the time of the establishment of the Corporation”

Updated: March 25, 2022 8:23 AM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Analiza Pathak

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Unparliamentary terms already expunged (File Photo of Parliament)

New Delhi: The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment ) Bill, 2022 will be introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah in Lok Sabha today. The Bill will seek to unify the three municipal corporations in the national capital and will give complete control of the civic body to the Centre. According to reports, the Bill, which was passed by the Union Cabinet on Tuesday, states that in at least 11 sections of The Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, the words “Central Government” shall replace “Government”, wherever it occurs.

Apart from replacing the word “Government” with “Central Government”, the provisions raise the prospect of a delimitation exercise, which could lead to a considerable delay in the conduct of civic body polls.

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The Bill, that seeks to merge the three municipal corporations of Delhi into a single entity, the number of seats in the merged MCD will not exceed 250 — down from the existing 272 — and a special officer would be designated to oversee its function till the first meeting of the body is held under the reunification law.

According to reports, the MCD reunification bill would seek to:

  • Unify the three municipal corporations into a single, integrated and well-equipped entity
  • Ensure a robust mechanism for optimal utilisation of resources
  • Bring greater transparency, improved governance and
  • And more efficient delivery of civic service

“Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the Central Government may, if necessary, appoint a person to be called the Special Officer, to exercise the power and discharge the functions of the Corporation until the date on which the first meeting of the Corporation is held after the commencement of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022,” it stated.

Erstwhile, Delhi Municipal Corporation was trifurcated into three municipal corporations including South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) in the year 2011, as per Delhi Municipal Corporation Amendment Act, 1911 (Delhi Act, 12 Of 2011).

The reunification bill reportedly says that after the delimitation process, the Central government could announce –through an official gazette :

  • Number of wards
  • Extent of each ward
  • Reserved wards for SC & Women
  • Rotation of reserved seats

Trifurcation of the Municipal Corporation (Amendment ) Bill

The MCD was trifurcated by the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government in 2012. The Congress was in power at the Centre as well at the time. The split’s stated purpose was to decentralise power for better governance.

However, the division into South, East and North Delhi Municipal Corporations resulted in unequal distribution of sources and funds, leading to delayed salaries and lack of resources for infrastructure projects.

The trifurcation of the corporation was uneven in terms of the territorial divisions and revenue-generating potential of each corporation. As a result, there was a huge gap in the resources available to the three corporations, vis-a-vis their obligations.

The gap has widened over a period of time, increasing the financial difficulties of the three Municipal Corporations, leaving them incapacitated to make timely payment of salaries and retirement benefits to their employees and thereby creating serious impediments in maintaining civic services in Delhi.

The second half of the Budget session of Parliament began on March 14 and will conclude on April 8. The first half of the Budget session began on January 31 and concluded on February 11.

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