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Nagar Raj Bill Act - Town governance bill

Rajastan
India

 

The Nagar Raj Bill Act, which means ‘town governance bill’, was introduced in 2006 under the flagship programme Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). For urban areas, the central government circulated a model of the Nagar Raj Bill Act to all the States. The State governments are required to pass this Bill, with whatever modifications they want, if they wish to access funds available under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The central model proposes to divide each municipal ward into several ‘Areas’, each consisting of about 3000 voters. The voting population of an area would be called an Area Sabha, which has been given some powers.

These amendments have been prepared after a series of consultations with eminent people and grassroots activists, including Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, social activist Anna Hazare, Maharashtra State Information Commissioner Vijay Kuvlekar, former Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh S C Behar, Former Commissioner of SC and ST Commission B.D. Sharma, and others (http://www.lokrajandolan.org/legalframework.html).

The entire programme consists of various policies within its framework, such as the Community Based Governance Policy for decision-making and decision support, called the Model Nagar Raj Bill; Inclusive Slum Development; Inclusive City Planning; and policies emphasizing Public Transport. However, since urban development is a state subject under the federal system, some states, such as Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, developed their own innovative policies in this area, making the community as well as the local authority responsible for inclusive planning processes.

This set of policies and programmes, which is affecting real community-based governance processes to provide and manage basic services and impacts in selected Indian cities, is always interconnected with the individual state government, following the logic of the decentralization of power, and also has some important direct dependencies upon the central power of the Government of India.

Substantially, the Bill creates effective and enduring institutions of local self-governance in urban areas, which enable and empower people to solve their local problems and realize their democratic rights.