With 400 wards, five parts and five mayors, committee unveils its plan for Bengaluru

The BBMP Restructuring Committee, in its final report, has recommended the splitting of BBMP into five corporations and integrating them under an umbrella institution called the Greater Bengaluru Authority. The Committee has also advocated for introducing a three-tier system in Bengaluru for efficient governance. The committee which was constituted by the State government to study and prepare a report on restructuring Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had submitted an interim report earlier.

The Committee submitted its final report to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday, July 13th 2015. The State government had formed the BBMP Restructuring Committee with retired IAS officer B S Patil as its chairman, retired IAS officer Siddaiah, urban expert V Ravichandar and IAS officer V Manivannan as its members. The Committee formed in November 2014 held a series of consultation programmes and met a large number of stakeholders while working on the report. Preliminary report was submitted to the government in December 2014 and the second interim report was submitted in March 2015.

In its final report, the BBMP Restructuring Committee has come to the conclusion that the current single BBMP model is unsustainable, and it should be replaced by multiple city corporations. From their study, the Committee members have found out that top megacities follow multi-municipal structures for efficient administration.

The report says that the existing 198 wards in the BBMP area of 709.5 sq km formed during the amalgamation of 2007 were based on the 2001 census. During the decade 2001-11, Bangalore grew by 44.6 per cent, the highest in its comparable class in the world.

During 2001-11 the inner core grew by about 18 per cent, the outer periphery grew by over 100 per cent. As many as 21 wards have a 2011 population of more than 30,000, while 43 wards have a population more than 50,000. The largest ward Horamavu (95,368 in 2011) is well over 1.1 lakhs currently. An ideal ward size should be fixed between 20,000 (growth areas) and 30,000 (core areas).

 

Problems faced by BBMP highlighted by the Committee are as below:

  • Ineffective governance and administration
  • Lack of citizen participation at the third tier of city governance
  • Ward committees with poorly defined roles and responsibilities
  • Lack of coordination between various service provider organisations like BWSSB, BESCOM, BDA, BMTC that operate outside the control of the city leadership
  • Overriding influence of the State over Bengaluru manifested through a weak, one year term mayor system and financial control through the grants process
  • Ineffective standing committees in BBMP
  • Leakages in civic works, inflated contract values creating financial indiscipline
  • Poor infrastructure, lack of accountability
  • In-house employees lack urban expertise
  • Staff shortage (about 35 per cent of the sanctioned posts are vacant)
  • Lack of transparency in terms of financial management
  • Financial mismanagement
  • Planning deficiencies for the local planning area. Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) produces static land use maps and regulations that are obsolete when compared to need and changing pace of the city
  • Loopholes in implementation part like lose planning, bypassing project pre-audits, lack of inter-agency coordination

Major recommendations:

  • The Committee suggests 400 wards for the current population as against the existing 198 wards
  • Three-tier structure of governance
    • Tier 1 – Formation of Greater Bengaluru Authority to integrate all the civic activities and takes responsibility for planning and administration of Bengaluru metropolitan activities in sync with building brand Bengaluru image
    • Tier 2 – Formation of five municipal corporations
    • Tier 3 – Devolution of power to wards by forming ward committees
  • Doing ward delimitation before restructuring
  • Formation of ward committees with following composition
    • Councillor as the Chairperson
    • 10 members in the elected category
    • 10 members in the nominated category
  • Proposal to set up Greater Bengaluru Finance Commission for monitoring equitable distribution of resources.
  • Constituting Greater Bengaluru Services Ombudsman to address the grievances of citizens pertaining to service delivery failure of civic agencies. Ombudsman is an independent body with the mandate to investigate and resolve only service related complaints.
  • Formation of a Municipalisation Committee to ensure a transition path for village areas within Greater Bengaluru Authority.
  • Each corporation will have a mayor, commissioner, standing committees and councillors.
  • Fix five years’ term for a Mayor
  • Mayor to be directly elected by the citizens during elections, rather than selection of the Mayor by the councillors post-election
  • Rationalising the number of standing committees to three, for framing rules and policies
  • Two zones per municipal corporation, with each managing 35-40 wards and zonal commissioners will be in charge of it
  • Decentralised handling of solid waste management, with zones handling waste management.
  • The waste of a set of wards within a zone should be predominantly managed within its boundaries or at least within the relevant Municipal Corporation boundaries. And if there are constraints in doing so, they need to forge arrangements with other corporations to take their waste on commercial terms.
  • Service level promise (time taken to provide a service) to the citizens in zonal level
  • Strengthening the ward committees at the lowest level
  • Change in the ward budget on a fair basis. Currently they are given Rs 2 to 3 crore annually. Also incentivise the ward to enhance property tax collection
  • Wards that have historical infrastructure deficiencies need additional intervention through the proposed GBA.
  • Each of the government service providing agencies should have a designated ward ‘Single Point Of Contact’ (SPOC) officer who is well versed with the agencies organisation structure, jurisdiction, processes and activities.
  • Convene monthly coordination meetings at the zonal level to achieve an integration among departments.
  • Revision of draft Cadre and Recruitment Rules 2013-14, focus on human resource, minimise dependency on deputation
  • Reorganisation of departments
  • The Committee recommends that a new Act to enable the governance of Bengaluru as per the three-tier framework set out be done at the earliest to substitute the KMC Act
  • Amend Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTCP) Act in such a way that it addresses Bengaluru’s concerns separately

Recommendation for a new Act

While recommending the structure of governance, the Committee kept in mind the deep sentiments expressed by large sections of the society that ‘Brand Bengaluru’ should not lose its identity, says the report. The Committee by recommending Greater Bangalore Authority has ensured Bengaluru remains as one city governance just the way London is today. The Greater Bengaluru Authority is formed to retain the image of brand Bengaluru.

  • The scope of Greater Bengaluru Authority (GBA) is Bengaluru Metropolitan area also called as Bengaluru Development Authority area at present
  • It is also suggested that, over time, as the system matures (may be from 10 years now), Bengaluru should go for a directly elected Metropolitan Mayor for the Greater Bengaluru Authority.
  • The 34-member GBA should comprise of a chairperson and metropolitan commissioner, 15 representatives selected from among 400 councillors, five out of 27 MLAs from Bengaluru, two Zilla Panchayat representatives from BDA area, five parastatals, five urban experts and a few permanent invitees.
  • The existing Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) should be at BMRDA regional level.
  • The Master Plan, despite splitting the city, should continue to be a single plan as it is one city

The three-tier system for BBMP proposed by the BS Patil Committee for BBMP restructuring.

Why FIVE corporations?

The report explains why the Committee has batted for five corporations instead of three or eight as predicted earlier. Though three municipal corporations were ok in the short term, it does not scale too well in the long term, considering the future growth. Whereas, 8 corporations were too many and getting balance among so many units will be a challenge. The best fit Corporation which ‘balanced’ the various areas and kept intact the essential character of Bengaluru was a five-corporation solution, says the report.

Benefits of five corporations

The benefits of a five-corporation solution was expected in terms of:

  • Significantly better revenue generation due to greater focus on raising resources and incentives for higher property tax collections
  • Garbage issue could be more effectively resolved over five corporations with a focus on segregation at source and decentralised processing by waste streams
  • Five commissioners and 10 zonal commissioners overseeing the administration in their designated areas would be a lot more effective than the current set up
  • It would also make for healthy competitive spirit between the 5 entities

Which are the five proposed municipal corporations?

Bengaluru is divided in the map according to assembly constituencies.

  • North (Byatarayanapura, parts of R R Nagar, Dasarahalli, Yeshwantpura, Yelahanka)
  • Central (Parts of Shivaji Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Hebbal, Pulakeshi Nagar, Malleswaram, parts of R R Nagar, Rajaji Nagar, Mahalakshmi Layout)
  • West (Yeshwantpura, parts of R R Nagar, Govindaraj Nagar, Vijay Nagar, Chamarajpet, Chickpet, Basavanagudi, Padmanabha Nagar)
  • South (Chickpet, Jayanagar, Bommanahalli, Bengaluru South, Shanthi Nagar)
  • East (Parts of Shivaji Nagar, C V Raman Nagar, Sarvagna Nagar, K R Puram, Mahadevapura)

The Committee has recommended to split five  assembly constituencies – R R Nagar, Chickpet, Bengaluru South, Shivaji Nagar and Yeshwantpura and include them in parts among two or three corporations. Restructuring Committee member V Ravichandar said that for administrative purpose. The boundaries will anyway change after delimitation of wards and the  total number of wards might be doubled, if the report is accepted. However, the committee has proposed five corporations based on the existing 198 wards, he said.

Here is the executive summary of the report:

 

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Full report of the Committee can be seen here:

 

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Akshatha M
About Akshatha M 220 Articles

Akshatha M was a Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters. She tweets at @akshata1.

4 Comments

  1. This idea will work out if BBMP has enough funds, egs. BBMP is yet to release funds collected as library cess to library dept. due to this almost all city central libraries were not getting newspapers recently. Added to this what steps BBMP hv taken to generate revenue incl tax arrears frm govt depts. Unless they try on a trial basis in the present setup things will not change. When delegation of powers were not given to ward committee, how administration in each corporator area will work. There are several corporators in the past who hv criminal records got elected, how they can be called city fathers? Hv they taken any police clearance to contest or was there pressure by politicians to clear their names for contesting?. Has any corporator arranged a meeting during their tenure to hv a meeting with the public alongwith service providers such as BESCOM, BWSSB, BMTC etc.

  2. This is a terrible idea. The problem with the BBMP, and municipalities in India in general, will not be solved by expansion. All this will do is increase the size of government, increase regulations and complexities in seeking approvals, and waste taxpayer money. When even New York City and London have only one mayor (who is far more powerful than Indian mayors, BTW), why on earth does Bangalore need 5? Just 4 more offices to eat taxpayer money. Not to mention, now we have to worry about 5 corrupt mayors, instead of one.

    The solution is transparency, efficiency and more power to local govts. The BBMP must publicly disclose its funds, its plans for the funds, and exactly how it has spent each and every single taxpayer rupee. Every corporator must explain what they plan to do, and what they have actually done. No RTI should be required. And the CAG/Lokayukta should audit the disclosure. Combined with citizen awareness, that will lead to greater efficiency and reduction of corruption. Finally, more power to local govts. Like cities in the US, mayors and city administration should be empowered to do most things required for the benefit of the city, without State Govt approval. It is ridiculous to see CMs of states being involved building roads, bridges and public transport in individual cities. That is the sort of job that should be handled at the local level.

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