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The upcoming BMR bill - draft

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Urban DevelopmentGovernance

Continuing from the mention of two clear asks post BBMP elections, here is a regional governance reform proposal being prepared by Abide. The close to final draft of Bangalore Metropolitan Regional governance act is attached. Here are some mention worthy points. Detailed review will be very much appreciated by those who may be looking for them. Talk sense and less-rhetoric as much as possible please.

  • It incorporates recommendations from Kasturirangan Committee report as well as Abide task force's regional governance act, 2009
  • Talks of amendments to several existing acs including Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, BMRDA act, BDA act etc.
  • Talks of a broader Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC), 2/3rd members elected from amongst the elected members of the municipal corporation and municipalities, 1/3rd nominated by state government.
  • MPC to be responsible for creating development plan with due regards to plans prepared by local authorities in the Bangalore Metro Region.
  • MPC would have a smaller, 7 people strong Metro Planning Board (MPB. MPB would be the executive head of MPC.
  • MPB is supposed to create multiple separate committees with focus on areas of Planning, Transportation, Environment, Sanitation, Arts/Heritage etc. Total 6 such Sectoral committees.
  • There would be a Bangalore Metropolitan Traffic and Transportation Authority, seems to be a replacement from our toothless BMLTA.

Need to read more. If someone could picture a clear picture of how MPC sits as the umbrella planning body on top of local autorities, that will help make the draft document easy to read for many.

AttachmentSize
BMR Bill Draft - March 26 2010.pdf183.33 KB

Comments

silkboard's picture

Yet to read

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Yet to read and understand this in detail. Sounds very confusing  if you don't read carefully. The councillors and corporators stay, but there would be Metropolitan Council (MPC) on top that would bind multiple local areas from planning perspective. How will the MPC work with local authorities in the BMR region to write development plans?

BTW, some very basic questions

  • How many local governemnts do we have in the BAngalore Metro Area. BBMP, and?
  • What will make MPC's master plan recommendations binding to the local governments it is built on top of?
  • Will BMRDA, BDA continue to exist along with MPC?
  • What will make BMTTA (the rehashed BMLTA in the proposal) recommendations binding to BMTC, BMRC, BARL etc?

Need to read carefully. Don;t think I am in a position for a critical review yet.

Public Agenda's picture

NCR based idea

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It is really quite retrograde to move in on the Greatest Bangalore which eveloed as a revenue / admin classification in 1950s. This is cloase to theNCRPB model in Delhi. Delhi is excused from having an MPC becoz it is state and national capital also

all other places over 1 mn popln shd have an MPC. The only exp of practice of MPC is Kolkatta, iether Mumbai, Pune or chennai or even Hyd have formed

There are also DPCs for districts

8000sqkm is huge but once upon a time it was one district and now is three. But expanding BDA to 8000 from 1032 sq km and then removing the planning powers from BDA and etc etc is a mammoth reco

 


murali772's picture

the Upper House

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With this, praja.in is perhaps moving a step closer to becoming the the Upper House for the city, as also the state. And, indeed that's the way things needs to be.
 

Muralidhar Rao
Public Agenda's picture

evaga bekagilla

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evaga bekagilla


idontspam's picture

Section 58, ward committes

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Section 58, ward committes should be allowed to vote on housing & commercial structures coming up in that ward.

sanjayv's picture

A fundamental question

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 Why is this a Bangalore focussed Bill?  Eventually, this problem will hit all tier II and tier III cities.  Does it not make sense to have a more generic regional governance act for all Municipal Corporations?

n's picture

BMR Bill - comments

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Some comments:

Sec. 4.4, pp. 5: It would make sense to appoint at least one technical expert per broad topic (say IISc professor for all Environment and Ecology, ISEC expert for Water, drainage and sanitation) in advisory capacity.

Sec. 5, pp. 5: Hopefully, the vice-chair will automatically be the in-charge minister for Bengaluru development. I can already see a tussle between Benguluru in-charge, BWSSB in-charge ministers and MP from Bengaluru. ;-)

Sec. 6.1, pp. 6: Member size of 7 sounds about right (w/ chair being missing most of the time, vice-chair would officiate and that is total of 6).

Sec. 7.1, pp. 6: b) The equally important Pedestrian Facilities should be included as the broad topic. Also, Accessibility (for differently-abled) needs to be included. Best to expand it to Traffic and Transportation, Pedestrian Facilities and Accessibility or simply "Mobilicty" :-)
c) Ideally, KPSCB should be expanded to include all kinds of conservation
e) Urban Art and Heritage should be renamed to Art, Heritage and Cultural Retention to include encouragement and preservation of local talent (similar to Bengaluru Habba)
f) Urban Poverty Alleviation should be renamed to Social Alleviation (or Security) to include social services (food coupons, NREGA employment etc.) to economically backward.
Sec. 7.2, pp. 6: Depending on number of sectoral committees, the burden on having two MPC members may be high. One may be a better number.

Sec. 8, pp6: At last - Bangalore Metropolitan Traffic and Transportation Authority to cover road, rail, air, and water (lakes - leisure rides, private boats) etc. than the very narrow BMRoadCL. Hopefully, better seamless transfer and feeder services will ensue

Sec. 9, pp7: Better to include ASI (Archeological) members.

Sec. 11, pp8: While I understand that this is a "high-level" draft, the penal powers need to be included. The MPB should have the right to penalize the different sectoral authorities and the "chain of command" needs to be more clearly stated

OK that got too long (comments for pp. 1 to 10). Will have to see if am patient enough to go thru the rest. Some general thoughts:
- Power and responsibility distribution between MPC and councillors is not very clear
- Power and responsibility distribution between MPC/MPB and parastatal agencies (BWSSB) and other entities (BDA, BMRDA, LDA, Forest Dept.) etc. is not clear
- Mayor and deputy mayor (whether direct or council elected) should have the same term as the councillors (i.e. close to 5 years). Not greater than 6 months is too long; should be cut down to one month.
- The term of the 1/3 rd members should also be limited to same 5 years.
- The maximum no. of terms of any one person should not exceed (say) 2 - i.e. 10 years. Also, very important to set retirement age. Exceptional members could be retained in advisory (emiretus-like) capacity. Gives opportunity to more people and also brings in new ideas.

At sanjayv: you had earlier commented in this thread and seem to have forgotten ;-) Hopefully if BMR matures in about 5 years, it can be replicated to other metropolitan regions in the state.


sanjayv's picture

Comments-round 2 after some reading

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 I think this is a very important bill that should be gotten right.  Looks like what we have here is a *draft* in the truest sense.  There are many details that have to be filled in.  I am yet to read the Kasturirangan cmte report or ABIDE's recommendations.

 Some initial comments:

MPC

  1. The MPC consists of elected representatives from among the various municipal bodies and panchayats in the BMR.  1/3 of the MPC is nominated by the state govt.
  2. A MPB and select committees form the executive portion of the Planning Unit.
  3. Some planning roles are given to the local bodies (municipalities etc.) which are supposed to align with the MPC plan.

It is not clear how the MPC is responsible to the people.  How would citizens provide input and feedback to MPC plans? How binding are MPC plans?  Why is the chief minister the chair of the MPC.? The CM has enough to do and a board like this needs a full time, effective chair person.

Two authorities are proposed as a pat of MPC for traffic and transport as well as Heritage and Art.  There is a need to really define these authorities better.  A key concern is the capacity building needed to make these authorities effective.

Municipal Governance

       Why does the state government get to nominate members to the municipal council.  That provision should be removed.

       Chairperson and deputy chairperson to be elected annually and rotated among various sections of society.  An un-necessary sop.  The chairs should have the respect of the council and have a good understanding of how to move business along.  Rest is useless.

       Section 20.1 and 20.3 are contradictory.  How can new chairpersons be elected each year and yet the term be 20 months?

       Section 21 – Mayoral elections 6 months after council elections?  Why.  I would rather it happens simultaneously.  A waste of money to hold a separate new election. Similarly section 28 for municipality president.

       Mayoral term is 4 years?  What is the logic there? Do we need term limits for the mayor’s post?

  • There is still not a clear delineation of the executive and legislative functions of the mayor/president vs the councils.It would be good to have the directly elected mayor running a professional staff. Not sure why the mayor has to pick from the council or use state govt appointed officers to be the executive

Ward committee and Neighborhood Committee

  • No budgeting and planning functions mentioned.  It is imperative to have those included

Other functions

There are a lot of 74th amendment functions that are missing. A lot of other laws have to be redone.  Organizations have to be re-orged such as the BDA and BWSSB. The draft recognizes it, but that is part of pending work.

We need some anti corruption sections.

The bill has to be really strengthened.  I would love to see more detail.  Our legislators have a tendency to put out a bill low on detail and then the officials define "rules" that really define the bill.   That should not happen here.

More review and input later.

murali772's picture

an idea whose time has come

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@ Public Agenda - Evaaga ildre, mathu yaavaaga?

A comment like yours, without listing valid reasonings, even as some of the regular naysayers have more or less corroborated it, is perhaps an indication that praja.in as the debating platform of the upper house is an idea whose time has come.
 

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Why managment of $$$ is left

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Why managment of $$$ is left out? How is that going to work? Same way as it is now? When wards get responsibilities they should also get $$$. Maybe in proportion to revenue generated. Else only headaches are getting shared no rewards.

n's picture

Comments clarification

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Why is the chief minister the chair of the MPC.? The CM has enough to do and a board like this needs a full time, effective chair person.
CM is the head of legislature of state that is the parent of municipal body; so, by definition he has to be the chair. Since he can't be present (he has the state to look after), the vice chair will mostly officiate. CM has to be chair of all municipal bodies in the state.

Why does the state government get to nominate members to the municipal council.  That provision should be removed.
The nomination exists as a check and balance (similar to upper and lower house). Directly elected members represent majority of people but smaller voices also need to be heard. US had same system; they did away with nomination and the "upper" house (Senate) is also directly elected by people. 2 members per state irrespective of pop. size; that way smaller states (pop.-wise) with smaller no. of representatives will still have 2 more members' voices heard.

Mayoral term is 4 years?  What is the logic there? Do we need term limits for the mayor’s post?
Any post needs to have term limits to prevent (potential) misuse, discourage monopoly status, bring new ideas and give opportunity to more people.

Organizations have to be re-orged such as the BDA and BWSSB. The draft recognizes it, but that is part of pending work.
Laws probably won't change drastically (atleast immediately); existing laws will mutatis mutandis apply to the new MPC (chapter IX, pp25). Amendments are proposed for certain acts mainly on pp. 38 (and functions on pp. 25). Even these small steps would be unpopular with the existing agencies.

Agree for the most part with other observations. Transparency has been limited to RTI requirements; how about regular, updated dissemination through the web? Again this may be too narrow for the draft act but in general needs to be advocated. The various acts currently governing the BMR (bottom of pp. 2 and 3) is mind boggling! No wonder nothing gets done and passing the buck is the norm.


sanjayv's picture

My dissent on couple of comments

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 CM is the head of legislature of state that is the parent of municipal body; so, by definition he has to be the chair. Since he can't be present (he has the state to look after), the vice chair will mostly officiate. CM has to be chair of all municipal bodies in the state.

I disagree with this comment.  As such, the goal of the 74th amendment and therefore this law should be to raise local government to a third, equal arm of government.  Just because the CM is the chief executive of the state does not mean that he has to be chair of the municipal body.  We should drop such symbolism.  As long as the city is financially dependent on the state, they have us in control

The nomination exists as a check and balance (similar to upper and lower house). 

Sorry.  I again disagree that the state government should be big daddy here.  We already have major provisions for reservation of seats for all sections of society.  That should be more than enough. You expect the state to really rebalance anything?

n's picture

BMR comments reply

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As long as the city is financially dependent on the state, they have us in control

The cities or metropolises have to be dependent on state for some grants. Cannot have a truly independent entity. Baby steps first - let there be one over-arching agency first to remove the million acts and parastatals and then try to get autonomy politically. Complete overhaul (like Kasturirangan report) will probably just gather dust.

You expect the state to really rebalance anything?

Nope. But that is the idea. Democracy is not effective in India - can we get rid of it ;-) No entity will agree to a passive stake in another. Ditto with central govt. - grants/funds with strings attached to state govt.; conditional funds from state to MPC and so on. Again, municipalities around the world don't (cannot?) make do without grants.

Not disagreeing; just pointing out that the mindset cannot change drastically or overnight.


Public Agenda's picture

chairperson clause

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for 6 months chariperson / dy chair after that 6 months later direct election for Mayor / Dy mayor is running mate in the US presidential style

shd we have 3rd tier in Presdential from ?

CM as Chair of MPC is more violation of 74th cA

also did you see the MPC

buit what about the MPBoard

more nominees running the planning

and then Panchayat powers are withdrwn

its amazing how these bureaucrats think they can always take everyone for a ride


murali772's picture

some movement on

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The State Government is mulling over introducing the Mayoral committee system of administration in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the elections for which were held recently. A Cabinet sub-committee headed by Bangalore in-charge minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, which is drafting the proposed the Bangalore Region Governance Bill, is seriously considering adopting the mayoral committee system for the BBMP, official sources told Deccan Herald.

Under the system, the Mayor will have executive powers. She/he will have a committee comprising a set of corporators to exercise the powers. The mayoral committee will be on the lines of the Cabinet headed by the Chief Minister. However, the sub-committee is yet to decide on the nature of executive powers to be vested with the Mayor and the committee, the size of the Mayoral committee and the fate of present system of standing committees, official sources said.

For the full report in the Deccan Herald, click here

I hope this upper house's views will be taken into consideration

 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

The all powerful duo

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In a virtual snub to mayor S K Nataraj, Bangalore development minister R Ashoka made it clear there's no question of withdrawing the road-widening project completely. "There'll be no stopping road-widening work wherever it has begun" R Ashoka told TOI on Thursday.

The government is clearly fuming over the mayor's announcement that the project will be shelved and that the red markings will be erased. "That created all the confusion. BBMP officials have made efforts to find out the properties and the exact portion of the properties to be acquired. The mayor did not consult officials before making the announcement,'' official sources said.

For the full report in the TOI, click here

Well, we have a Mayor, a Deputy Mayor, and a council of close to 200 Corporators, duly elected to take care of the city's interests. We then have this think-tank called ABIDE, of which the Convenor is a Rajya Sabha MP, and Chairman is the CM himself. This ABIDE besides has on its board an adviser to the CM on Urban Affairs, who was once the Cheif Secretary of the state, and a deputy to him, who is a professor at the IIMB. You then have the Centre for Public Policy of the prestigeous IIMB. Apart from these, there are the other think-tanks like the PAC, ISEC, NIAS, and so many more. There's besides the Civil Society and RWAs.

But, for all that, it's just the two-some, Ministers R Ashoka and Katta Subramanya Naidu, who seem to be taking all the decisions concerning the city, with hardly any semblence of any public consultations even. They even have the audacity to fume over the Mayor's interventions. What kind of a democracy do we have here, one wonders!
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Elected body, or state govt subsidiary?

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Justice Hedge questioned BBMP council  for not functioning as an independent body in taking decisions. "I don't know whether it's an independent body elected by people's mandate or is it functioning as a subsidiary of the state government?" Justice Hegde said.

For the full report in the TOI, click here

Very valid question, Sir!

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

Where is this BMR draft now?

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... and any talk of addressing the fiscal imbalance to local bodies? If this bill goes through without any work on the fiscal side, we will end up with same problems, similar people, only wearting new hats with fancier roles and titles.

murali772's picture

report on 7th Jan seminar

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That there is no consensus on the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Bill, 2010 in its present form, is clear. At a meeting held on Wednesday to discuss the Community Participation Law in the form of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 2011, activists, representatives of RWAs, former and present members of municipalities of other districts, made it clear that they do not want the bill to be discussed, let alone be passed. The attendees of the state-level meeting on — 74th Constitutional Amendment Act (Nagarapalika Act) and Ward committees in Karnataka: Status in 2010 and future — termed the bill elitist saying it would only serve investors seeking access to the state’s resources, mainly land.

S Krishna Kumar, former advisor to the governor, suggested that authors withdraw the bill and give themselves time to reflect on the recommendations. Emphasising on planning at this stage is a misplaced priority when governance at all stages is deteriorating.

For the full report in the DNA, click here.

The event was announced on PRAJA here, and the subject has been discussed on this blog, apart from here, as also in a few other blogs. It's over 8 years since the passing of the 74th amendment (in '93), and the matter has been in the offing from then. All the same, the janata (as well as most of the panelists) that had gathered for the seminar, appeared more keen to put it off indefinitely, rather than engage in any constructive criticism. And, sensing the general mood, some of the panelists, who you would normally have expected to exercise some degree of moderation, surprisingly, turned quite strident. More and more, I find such seminars not leading anywhere, bringing again to focus the relevance of PRAJA as the right kind of platform for such extended debates. And, once some kind of a consensus has been arrived at through these debates, there can be a physical meet for finalisation, before taking the matter to the elected representatives for a last round of debate (if required), and adoption.   

Shouldn't Bengaluru be setting such a trend, particularly when it's becoming more and more difficult to convene, or arrive at any consensus, over physical meetings?
 

Muralidhar Rao
rackstar's picture

voting

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@Muralidhar , There should be option in Praja for voting on a perticular subject, which will be open to voting for one week or so. Only 2/3 majority should be considered as consensus to be pursued further. If one voting fails such issue should not be post for voting for at least say 6 months. Otherwise there will be always dissent and no "consensus" can be achieved.

Another voting tactics is initially giving multiple options, later only top 2 voted options going for voting again. In the final voting the issue should get 2/3 majority.

silkboard's picture

shall we do a detailed poll on BMR draft issues?

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@rackstar - good suggestion.

Shall we setup a detailed poll to collect opinion on Local governance bill (draft). If 20-30 of us can get 10-20 of our friends to take the poll, we will have decent sized sample set (300+) to check prajagale's opinion on the draft.

Outline of the poll

Do you like the idea of directly elected Mayor.

  • Yes
  • no

What issues do you see with concept of nominated members?

  • no issues - its a good idea to get quality people involved,
  • nominations can be bought (like Rajya Sabha seats),
  • nominated members don't guarantee quality

What is the top problem with current local governance setup (BBMP) - if you had pick only one of these

  • BBMP lacks financial autonomy,
  • Other non-elected agencies interfere (BDA, BMRDA)
  • Corporators don't involve people
  • Ministers interfere with BBMP functions (refer Ministers in-charge of Bangalore)
  • Key areas are outside of BBMP's control - BWSSB, BMTC

Did you vote in last BBMP elections

  • Yes
  • No - no particular reason
  • No - not happy with candidates in my area

Sounds good?

rackstar's picture

direct mayor

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Direct mayor is not liked by anybody, he will become dictator with veto power. The bill gives option for both direct and indirect mayor. As for BDA and BMRDA are not exactly non-elected bodies, but controlled by state govt which is elected by karnataka people, but not only by bangalore people. And as for corporators involving people i would say the otherwise that people dont contact corporator. All this are my own opinions and go as one vote.

but poll such as "did you vote in last elections" we cant take any action while outcome of other polls can be pursued. if an action gets very high support in a poll then even those who voted no also should join the cause and give basic support for the effort.

murali772's picture

Some worship, this

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The affairs of a cash-strapped BBMP took a nasty turn on Thursday. Mayor R Sharadamma threatened to resign after home and city in-charge minister R Ashoka downsized the mayor and deputy mayor funds. - - -  Sources said the mayor was miffed because she had made commitments to her aides that works would be taken up under her fund to benefit them.

"The minister (Ashoka) was upset that a chunk of the mayor and deputy mayor funds is being misused. The funds have been set up to meet the city's needs. The minister took objection to usage of the funds for works in the wards of the mayor and her deputy at the cost of the rest of the city," sources told TOI. - - - - Ashoka asked Sharadamma as to what inspections she had conducted before asking the commissioner to take up works under the mayor's fund.

The mayor remained incommunicado for four hours after Ashoka gave her a dressing down. - - - - Asked about Ashoka's downsizing of the fund, she said: " I do not want to speak ill of anyone. I have become mayor because of them. I will not resign".


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Now, while the minister's pursuit towards seeking accountability from the Mayor is indeed laudable, what about his own accountability to the public as the Home and Transport minister? His is one name that appears to figure in each and every scam that we have been reading about almost on a daily basis ever since this ministry took charge, the TTMC scam being just one of them. Anyone a bit more knowledgeable than a Sharadamma (check this), I am sure, would certainly have hit back on even terms.

And, that brings us to the question of the standing of the Mayor, as well the Municipal council itself, vis-a-vis the city. The government seems happy to retain things as they are, in total violation of the spirit of the 74th amendment, so that the positions like the Mayor can be doled out to their sycophants as and when it suits them, and thereafter keep them under their thumbs. The biggest irony of it all is that then you go on to refer to them as 'worshipful'.

Muralidhar Rao

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