The Karnataka State Assembly on Thursday passed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Bill 2020, that proposes a new governing structure for the city. But some citizens have taken a stance against the bill. The bill that decentralises power in Bengaluru, increases the term for Mayor has been met with resistance from various quarters.
Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is one of the non-profit trusts that has raised a few questions pertaining to the bill.“The BBMP bill, 2020 is a missed opportunity for the transformation of Bengaluru’s governance. It should have been far more ambitious and comprehensive and based on a far more systematic, consultative and well-informed process,” read the press note stating that the bill is like “a glass less than half-full”.
They urged the state government to look into the gaping lacunas—lack of provisions for robust metropolitan governance, complete side-step on spatial planning and environment and absence of technology in governance—in the bill that needs to be addressed which could not be beneficial for the citizens.
However, highlighting the better aspects of the bill, they mentioned that the decentralized governance and vesting powers in zonal and ward levels will pave a way for more citizen participation in the affairs. In addition, it will also improve the financial governance of the city.
Srikanth Vishwanathan, CEO of Jannagraha said, “The silver lining to the cloud is the decentralisation of powers and functions to the zones and wards and citizen participation through ward committees and area sabhas. We need to however emphasise to the state government that major missing pieces such as metropolitan governance, spatial planning, and financial and human resource capacities, besides digitalisation need to be addressed soon for meaningful change on the ground.”
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Bill (BBMP Bill), 2020 proposed a new form of governance for the city of Bengaluru. Firstly, the bill decentralizes the power to zones and wards. The city will be divided into 15 zones and further into 243 wards. Each zone will have their committee responsible for the execution of developmental plans. And it will also subsume the gram panchayats, municipal councils which were outside the limits of BBMP.
Secondly, the mayoral term has been increased to 30 months from 18 months. Bengaluru will see two mayors who will get 30-month-tenure each.
A consultative committee will be established and the MLA will preside over the committee but they will constitute members from resident welfare associations.
Lastly, the BBMP will also collect entertainment tax and levy fees for advertisement. According to law minister Madhuswamy, after GST, BBMP couldn’t levy a tax on the advertisement. Instead of a tax, there’ll be a fee and also, we’re allowing the BBMP to levy an entertainment tax,” he said.