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Urban Local Bodies, History, Objective, Types and Challenges

Urban Local Bodies

Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are essentially little local public organizations that govern or administrate a particular city or municipality. The state governments have given ULBs a plethora of responsibilities. India has a variety of urban local entities, including townships, port trusts, cantonment boards, notified area committees, municipal corporations, municipalities, urban area committees, special purpose agencies, and municipal corporations. The Urban Local Bodies is an important part of Indian Polity which an important subject in UPSC Syllabus. Students can also go for UPSC Mock Test to get more accuracy in their preparations.

Urban Local Bodies History

In 1687, Madras became the first Indian city to establish a municipal corporation. Bombay and Calcutta followed in 1726. Local self-government was made possible by Lord Mayo’s resolution for financial decentralization from 1870. The government of Lord Ripon published the renowned resolution, often known as the Magna Carta of Local Self Government, on May 18, 1882.

Local self-government was given to ministers who reported to new provincial legislatures under the Government of India Act 1919. In Madras, the District Municipalities Act of 1920 and the Municipal Act of 1919 granted the Councils the authority to choose their own chairman and create their own budgets. The city municipalities with a population greater than one lakh were rendered entirely elective by another Act approved in 1925.

Local self-government was made a provincial topic under the Government of India Act, 1935, which also introduced provincial autonomy. In 1948, the National Government established the Local Finance Inquiry Committee to examine methods to increase the financial resources available to local organizations.

The National Commission on Urbanization was established by the Central Government in 1985, and it issued its findings in 1988. A commission was created to look into every aspect of urban management and make recommendations. The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act of 1992 is a key measure made by the Indian government to enhance local self-governance in cities and municipalities.

Urban Local Bodies Objective

Urban Local Bodies is designed to deliver urban services effectively, efficiently, and fairly. Urban local governments also prepare plans for social and economic growth. They control how land is used and how buildings are made. They control the flow of water to homes, businesses, and industries. They uphold solid waste management, sanitation preservation, and public health. They oversee a variety of laws and rules. They carry out grassroots implementation of central government policies. They are succeeding in eradicating poverty.

Urban Local Bodies Municipality

Municipal Corporation

Acts passed by state legislatures in the US and by Parliament in the UK established it. The council, standing committees, and commissioner are the three organizational divisions of each corporation. The mayor is in charge of council, a legislative body, and the deputy mayor is at his side. Counsellors make up the council, and they are chosen by popular vote. A permanent committee supports the council’s operations. It covers things like government job, education, taxes, health, and finances. The corporation’s top executive officer, the municipal commissioner, is in charge of carrying out council and standing committee decisions.


For the management of towns and smaller cities, the municipalities are constituted by the relevant state legislature’s acts. They are also known by other names, including municipal council, municipal committee, municipal board, borough municipality, and municipal city municipality. The same three bodies that make up the municipal corporation exist in the municipality as well: the council, the standing committee, and the chief executive officer.

They are relatively similar to municipal corporations in terms of composition, with the exception that instead of a commissioner, they have a chief executive officer or chief municipal officer. The council is also led by a vice president who serves as vice chair. The state government appoints the Chief Executive authority, who is in charge of daily administration.

Notified Area Committee

For the management of an area that is either an industrialized town that is rapidly developing or an undeveloped town that does not yet meets the requirements for the formation of a municipality, a notified area committee is constituted. A notification published in the gazette creates it.

The only provision that applies to the Notified Area Committee’s job is the one that is listed in the government gazette notification. A committee in a notified area has the same authority as a municipality. The Notified Area committee is made up solely of nominees. The State government nominates all of the committee’s members, including the chairman, to a notified area committee. Thus, it is not an elected body nor is it a statutory body.

Town Area Committee

A tiny town’s administration is handled by a Town Area Committee. It is a semi-municipal authority with a small number of civic responsibilities, including conservancy, drainage, roadways, and street lighting. A state legislature act establishes it. The Town Area Committee’s makeup, responsibilities, and other issues are discussed in the act. It may be a body wholly appointed by the state government, a body wholly elected, or a body that is both entirely appointed and half elected.

Cantonment Board

In the cantonment zones, Cantonment Boards are set up to oversee municipal affairs for the civilian population. The union government established it and is in charge of running it. It was established in accordance with the Cantonments Act of 2006’s stipulations. The Union Defence Ministry exercises administrative supervision over a cantonment board.

There are currently 62 cantonment boards in the nation. There are four categories of cantonment boards: Category I, which has a population above 50,000; Category II, which has a civil population between 10,000 and 50,000; Category III, which has a civil population between 2500-10,000; and Category IV, which has a population below 2500. Members of it are chosen and nominated alternately. The President of India appoints the executive officer of the cantonment board.


Large public enterprises create a township to offer civic amenities to their employees who live in housing colonies constructed close to the plant. All of its members, including the town administrator who oversees the township’s administration, are appointed by Enterprise; it is not an elected body.

Port Trust

The country’s port cities, like as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc., are where the port trusts are founded. The management, security, and provision of public facilities are the goals of the port trust’s establishment. A Parliamentary Act established it. Members of the port trust are both elected and nominated. Its Chairman is a representative. Its duties resemble those of a municipality in more ways than one.

Special Purpose Agency

In addition to the seven categories of urban organizations mentioned above, the states may establish particular agencies to handle particular tasks that “legitimately” belong to any of the aforementioned local urban governments. Unlike other metropolitan bodies, special purpose organizations are function-based rather than area-based.

Town improvement trusts, water and sewerage boards, pollution control boards, electricity supply boards, urban development authority, city transit boards, and housing boards are a few examples of these organizations. These are created as departments by an executive order or as statutory bodies by an act of the state legislature. They undertake the tasks given to them as autonomous organizations separate from the local urban administrations. They are not a part of the local urban bodies’ hierarchy.

Urban Local Bodies Provision

The constitutions of the Nagar Panchayat, Municipal Council, and Municipal Corporation are mentioned in Article 243Q. The Composition of Municipalities is covered in Article 243R, which stipulates that all of its members are chosen by direct vote of the residents of the municipality, which is divided into wards.

Ward committees are described in Article 243 S as being composed of members who represent that ward in the municipality and members of the ward. The subject of seat reservations in each municipality is covered by Article 243 T. Urban planning, financial and social development and other municipal duties are covered in Article 243W, which also deals with the rights, obligations, and powers of municipalities.

According to Article 243X, the constitution has given the Legislature of a State the authority to specify by legislation issues connected to the imposition of taxes. According to Article 243 ZE, each Metropolitan region will have a Metropolitan Planning Committee to create a preliminary improvement plan for the entire Metropolitan region.

Urban Local Bodies Challenges

Urban local authorities (ULBs) have not been able to do their duties efficiently because the majority of state governments have not granted them with authority. Instead of acting as change agents for desired urban improvements, mayors and council members utilize their positions to advance their political careers. Local governments are not responsible for parastatal organizations like urban development bodies and state-owned businesses.

Lack of funds is the first and most important issue affecting urban local communities. In many small towns, municipal committees struggle to pay their employees’ salaries on time. The administrative tools at these local administrations’ disposal are insufficient. Underpaid employees frequently engage in dishonest behaviour, which has led to revenue loss. Municipal organizations receive funding, yet they are simply unable to operate efficiently. The majority of the money paid to ULBs is limited money.

Urban Local Bodies Reforms

Urban service and local government reforms are being implemented with the goal of bolstering state funding for urban local governments. Urban Local Bodies would be able to offer their inhabitants improved public health and sanitation services thanks to these improvements. Goa has joined the group of five states, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, and Rajasthan that have finished the ULB reform process.

Urban Local Bodies UPSC

Significant progress has been made in the framework for reform-related investments in urban infrastructure. Population forecasts for 2026 indicate that different states will experience urbanization to different degrees. Future urban design in India needs to take these distinctions into account. To improve urban government and service delivery, constitutional changes and appropriate administrative measures are required. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.

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Urban Local Bodies FAQs

Which are the urban local bodies?

There are several types of Urban Local bodies in India such as Municipal Corporation, Municipality, Notified Area Committee, Town Area Committee, Special Purpose Agency, Township, Port Trust, Cantonment Board etc.

What are the types of local bodies?

Types of local bodies are:
• Municipalities.
• Regional Municipalities.
• Rural Communities (RC)
• Local Service Districts (LSD)

How many urban bodies are there in India?

After the 74th Amendment was enacted there are only three categories of urban local bodies.

What are urban local bodies and their functions?

The urban local bodies prepare the budget for the development of the urban area and get it approved by the council.

What are rural and urban local bodies?

The local bodies constituted for local planning, development and administration in the rural areas are referred as Rural Local Bodies (Panchayats) and the local bodies, which are constituted for local planning, development and administration in the urban areas are referred as Urban Local Bodies (Municipalities).

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