The Telangana Assembly on Tuesday passed amendments to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Act 1955, which among other things, made it mandatory for the State Election Commission to take the state government's concurrence while conducting GHMC elections.
The Assembly, which is holding a special session to pass amendments to various laws, passed the GHMC Amendment Bill 2020 by a voice vote. Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development KT Rama Rao told the House that the government's concurrence for conducting the polls is necessary in view of any contingency like COVID-19 pandemic and heavy rains.
The amendment comes at a time when the poll body is making preparations for the ensuing elections. The term of current GHMC ends in February next year and the polls are likely to be held in November-December.
KTR, as the minister is popularly known as, said the amendments were aimed at making the elected representatives more accountable and provide better services to people. He said no government in the past amended GHMC Act to ensure development of Hyderabad as a world-class city.
The amendment has also given legal status to 50 per cent reservation for women in GHMC.
The minister recalled that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government through a Government Order in 2015 provided 50 per cent reservation to women in 150-member GHMC.
He said it was because of TRS that the urban body now has 79 women corporators.
One of the amendments to GHMC Act also provides for creation of four committees in each division - youth committee, women committee, senior citizens committee and eminent citizens committee. Each panel will have 20 members.
"This move will prepare 1,500 member army in the city to ensure things like increasing green cover, checking unauthorised construction and encroachments, solid waste management, development of parks and sports infrastructure," he said adding that the committees will enhance people's participation in governance.
KTR reiterated that the government is committed to develop Hyderabad as a world-class city. He said under the leadership of Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao the city was on the path of speedy development. The amendment to GHMC Act would also make it mandatory for adaptation of TS-BPASS, the online building permission system with self- certification which was passed by the Legislature last month.
Through another Bill, the government proposed to amend Indian Stamp Act to take away the land registrar's power to fix the land price. A third Bill was tabled to amend the New Revenue Act to make the process of converting agricultural land to non-agriculture land hassle free. With this amendment the conversion can be done online through Dharani portal which is set to be launched from Dasara.
The government also tabled a Bill for amendment to Code of Criminal Procedure.
As soon as the House met for the special session, the ministers concerned tabled the Bills. The House dispensed with the Question Hour to directly take up the Bills.
The Bills, after their passage by Assembly on Tuesday, will be sent to the Legislative Council, which is meeting on Wednesday to pass the amendments.
Earlier, Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy and Legislative Council chairman Gutha Sukhender Reddy reviewed the arrangements for the conduct of the brief session amid the Covid -19 incidence in different parts of the State, especially the GHMC limits.
Last month, the Legislature Session had to be cut short after a couple of legislators and some members of Legislature staff and security personnel had tested positive for Covid-19.