directly elected Mayor of Hyderabad city has a discretionary
power of approving/sanctioning any work up to Rs.50,000
at a time. Contrast this with the powers of the appointed
Commissioner who can sanction works up to Rs. 20,00,000!
The story is the same in smaller Municipalities also - the
power of the chairperson to incur contingent expenditure
is restricted to a paltry Rs 1500-3000.
doesn't get any better in rural governments. A major gram
panchayat can give administrative sanction up to Rs 2 lakhs,
while a Mandal Parishad can approve works up to Rs 75,000
and the Zilla parishad up to Rs 10,00,000. Any works/projects
above these limits have to be approved by the government.
And leaders of these tiers of local governments do not have
any powers of their own, except for the gram sarpanch who
can authorize spending up to Rs 10,000. On the other hand
a Member of Parliament has at his disposal a 2 crore constituency
development fund to spend as he wishes!
is really getting lost in this administrative maze are some
An average district in AP, with approximately 3 million
population is larger than 80 countries in the world
" The local governments have as much constitutional
sanctity as other tiers at the state or the union. It is
not a question of higher vs lower governments, but a matter
of farther vs nearer.
" Therefore, the elected head of the local government
should have the legitimate authority to govern his/her domain
as they are directly accountable to their constituents and
no government has any right to deny these powers.
any form of modern democratic governance structure, local
governments are recognized as the most important tier as
they are the nearest to the people. The case of New York
city exemplifies this. Up to the early 90s, this great city
was gripped by a host of problems ranging from crumbling
infrastructure to high crime and bad schools to high unemployment.
Guiliani took office as Mayor in the early 90s and single
handedly transformed the city into the booming metropolis
that it is today. It was estimated that in 2000, the metropolitan
New York area contributed as much as 1/10th to the American
economy. Even when a tragedy of the magnitude of September
11th with national security implications struck the city,
the American President ceded the primary responsibility
of coordinating the relief, rehabilitation and rebuilding
efforts to the City's Mayor. Contrast this with the Mayor
of Hyderabad City. Over 4 million people in the city have
directly elected him, making him the elected official with
the largest popular constituency. And yet, he has no legitimate
authority to make even the slightest difference. The link
between our vote and public good has been snapped in this
centralized system which has no respect for our needs or
is high time that the governments and parties of the day
recognized the fact that governance cannot be improved until
local government leaders are empowered and made accountable
to the citizens.