The full form of ULB is Urban Local Body. Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) refer to small local governing bodies responsible for the administration of cities or towns with specific population criteria. These bodies are delegated a wide range of functions by state governments, encompassing areas such as public health, welfare, regulation, public safety, infrastructure development, and other developmental activities.
In India, there are various types of Urban Local Bodies exist, including Municipal Corporations, Municipalities, Notified Area Committees, Town Area Committees, Special Purpose Agencies, Townships, Port Trusts, and Cantonment Boards.
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In 1687, Madras became the pioneering Indian city to establish a municipal corporation, with Bombay and Calcutta following suit in 1726. The concept of local self-government gained momentum through Lord Mayo’s resolution for financial decentralization in 1870. Lord Ripon’s renowned resolution, often referred to as the Magna Carta of Local Self Government, was published on May 18, 1882, further advancing the cause. With the Government of India Act 1919, local self-government was entrusted to ministers who reported to newly formed provincial legislatures.
In Madras, the District Municipalities Act of 1920 and the Municipal Act of 1919 empowered councils to elect their own chairpersons and establish budgets. Another Act passed in 1925 granted complete elections for city municipalities with a population exceeding one lakh. The Government of India Act, 1935, made local self-government a provincial matter and introduced provincial autonomy.
In 1948, the National Government established the Local Finance Inquiry Committee to explore ways of enhancing the financial resources available to local organizations. The Central Government established the National Commission on Urbanization in 1985, and its findings were published in 1988. This commission thoroughly examined all aspects of urban management and presented recommendations.
A significant step towards strengthening local self-governance in cities and municipalities was taken by the Indian government through the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act of 1992. This act aimed to enhance the powers and functioning of local bodies and ensure their effective participation in decision-making processes.
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Urban Local Bodies have been established with the aim of ensuring the efficient, effective, and equitable delivery of urban services. These local government entities play a crucial role in urban development by formulating plans for social and economic progress.
They exercise control over land use and construction practices, ensuring proper allocation and utilization of resources. Urban Local Bodies are responsible for managing water supply to residences, commercial establishments, and industries.
They also prioritize solid waste management, sanitation maintenance, and public health initiatives. Moreover, they enforce a range of laws and regulations and act as a key implementer of central government policies at the grassroots level. Through their endeavors, Urban Local Bodies contribute significantly to poverty eradication efforts.
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Revenue Streams of ULBs
ULBs primarily derive their revenues through multiple sources, which include:
- Collection of taxes and non-tax sources as specified under the Assam Municipal Act, 1956.
- Devolution of shared taxes and duties based on the recommendations of the State Finance Commission.
- Grants-in-aid provided by the Government of Assam. Grants-in-aid received from the Government of India under Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
- Share of the State Government of Assam for Centrally Sponsored Schemes initiated by the Government of India.
- Allocation from the Central Finance Commission Grant, Government of India.
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