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  • Category: Panchayat/Municipality/Corporation

    What are the local authorities and what are their functions?


    Searching for information about local authorities? Want to know the need for these when State and Central government are functioning? Then on this page, experts will provide you with inputs.

    We often find references of the local authorities in media. What are the local authorities and what are their functions? Why there are local authorities when Central Government and State Governments are functioning? Are local authorities in urban areas and rural areas same?
  • Answers

    5 Answers found.
  • In addition to Central and State Governments, we also have local self governments(local bodies or local authorities) in India. The purpose of local self governments is to decentralize the administration. There are two types of local bodies exist in India, which are different from each other. The first one is rural local bodies and the second one is urban local bodies. Rural local bodies comprise of 3-tier system organized as zilla panchayat, block(mandal) panchayat and village panchayat. Similarly, urban local bodies comprise of 3-tier system organized as nagar panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations. These local bodies were introduced through 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution. Through these amendments, 29 functions like supplying drinking water, lighting and cleaning the streets, birth and death registrations, etc., were transferred from the State Government to rural local bodies. Similarly, 18 functions like providing infrastructure, public health, public safety, etc. were transferred from State Government to urban local bodies.

  • Local administrative bodies are the most basic structural stones of our democratic system of government. It is a very little away from the real Gram Swaraj.

    Our country has a set up or Union. Central government is the Union government. Except for a few items all other powers of governance are given to states. In each state there are the village panchayats. This set up ha been more organised now under the three-tier set up of local(village ) panchayats, Block Panchayats and District Panchayats. In the urban and city segments they are Municipalities and Municipal corporations.

    Our country is having diversity of local language, local resources, local geography etc. Hence a uniform criteria imposed from either the union government or State government will not satisfy the aspirations of people at the village and town level. So by decentralising the macro level administration subjecting to an overall control and policy guidelines and macro level vision, the micro level (village/town level) administration is given to the local bodies. For more convenience this is then brought in overall plan of revenue district and blocks.

    The local bodies have the authority to prepare annual budget, collect taxes, sanction construction of residential and commercial building etc. They have authority to grant permits and licences for professions and business. They also have the responsibility to health care and sanitation, maintenance of pocket roads and lanes, general hygiene and local developments. The decisions are taken by the local bodies by the elected representatives on ward/division basis limited based on population.
    The elections to the Local self governing bodies in Kerala are going to be held in the first week of November and the process has started after the state election commission has made the required promulgation.

    Local self government bodies are more close to the people at the ground level and hence can satisfy the immediate needs of the local people better than a distant level centralised administration, by using local parameters and cutting down delay.

  • Local authorities are like Grama Panchayats, Municipalities, Corporations and similar institutions. In villages there is a three Tyre system with District Panchayat, Block Panchayat and grama panchayat. But in towns and cities with population above a specified size will have only one local authority. It can be a Municipality or a Corporation again based on population. Perhaps there can be slight differences in this pattern from State to State.
    Local authorities look after the developments of the area within their geographical limit. They maintain the institutions such as Schools, Hospitals, health centres, interior roads, boat services, etc. One has to get permission from the local authority for constructing a new house or a new building. Permission for starting a new shop or a new factory or any venture the permit is a must. Tax will have to be paid to the authority regularly for all these including the residential buildings. In fact local authority is a local Government.

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  • Local authorities are elected local bodies entrusted administration of limited local areas such as village, town, tehsil, city or district. These are created for decentralization of power from the Central Government to the local authorities, in order to empower people and democracy. When people have entrusted authority in them, they are more confident in serving the public and the state.

    Local authorities have administrative and financial controls and can initiate projects such as sanitation, cleaning and lighting streets, providing clean water and local health care facilities. This way, the administration of public interests is more quickly served, then when there are no local government bodies.

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  • India follows a federal structure. Some items of administration are being managed by the Union Government, some items by the State Governments and some other items are included in the Concurrent List, i.e., these items are being managed by both Union Government and State Governments. This is the original provision as enshrined in the Constitution of India.
    However, Panchayats and Corporations/Municipalities have been formed by virtue of 93rd and 94th Constitutional Amendments, respectively. These bodies are generally called local authorities. Some items of administration from the State List have been delegated to these local bodies. These items include sanitation, cleaning, local health care, lighting streets, repair and maintenance of village/local roads, preservation of local water bodies, collection of property tax, etc.

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