“The states in India seem reluctant to empower urban local bodies both functionally as well as financially.” Comment.

Sample Answer:


Urban local bodies are mentioned under Part IX A, schedule 12 under article 243 0-243 ZG. Their role in rising urbanisation and sustainable cities is significant, thus requires to be functionally and financially independent.


Reluctant to empower ULB by the State: According to Niti Aayog, only total 11 states and UTs have devolved the functions to urban local bodies.

  1. State Governments have created parallel structures for the implementation of projects around agriculture, health, and education, which undermines the status of local bodies.
  2. District Planning Committees are non-functional in 9 states and failed to prepare integrated plans in 15 states.
  3. Local government expenditure as a percentage of GDP is only 2%, low compared to 7% in Brazil and 11 % in China.
  4. State Finance Commissions are not established as per Constitutional requirements.
  5. The concept of ward committees is just followed in Kerala and in West Bengal Only.


  • Not even a single city in India can be matched with cities like London, Johannesburg, New York.
  • Unplanned Urbanization as World Bank says: India’s Urbanisation is Messy and hidden.
  • Dependent on central and state Government.


  1. Strengthening ULB should be in election manifesto.
  2. Alternative options for funding to be explored. Ex Value capture financing
  3. Credit Rating exercise of ULB, Ex Pune


Praja Foundation, ‘Urban Governance Index” initiative is the right way to make a holistic assessment of the ULB. Devolution is the only key to achieve the SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities”.

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