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As MCD polls approach, News18 explains body unification earlier this year and how it has changed

Last updated: November 21, 2022, 3:28 PM IST

(FILE/Twitter @MCD_Delhi) Officials of Delhi Municipal Corporation take the Oath of National Unity on National Unity Day in the presence of Corporation Commissioner Shri Gyanesh Bharti.

(FILE/Twitter @MCD_Delhi) Officials of Delhi Municipal Corporation take the Oath of National Unity on National Unity Day in the presence of Corporation Commissioner Shri Gyanesh Bharti.

Earlier in May, Delhi’s civil bodies were merged and the civil map of the country’s capital was formally redrawn. News18 explains what’s different in these MCD polls

Parties are pulling out all the stops to come out victorious in the MCD polls that will take place on December 4. Elections are counted on December 7 and the political leaders AAP, BJP and Congress are fighting. Other parties such as BSP and AIMIM (in partnership with ASP) are also entering the election, eager to win in the national capital.

Earlier this year, Delhi’s civil bodies were merged in May and the civil map of the country’s capital was formally redrawn.

The Delhi Municipal Corporation Bill (Amendment), 2022which merged the Delhi Municipal Corporations of East, North and South into a single Delhi Municipal Corporation was passed by the Union government earlier this year despite opposition from the city’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and other opposition parties.

As the polls approach, News18 explains why the move was made and what impact it had on MCD’s functioning:

First the history

  • According to a report by India todaythere was mention of the existence of a congregation in Delhi in 1862. On April 23, 1863, the congregation had its first regular meeting to which local residents were invited. The Delhi Commissioner presided over the meeting on 1 June 1863.
  • on On 7 April 1958, an Act of Parliament formed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Before that, Delhi’s main civil society organization was DMC (Delhi Municipal Committee).

  • From 1866 to the end of 2009, the offices of the MCD were located at Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi at the Delhi Town Hall before moving to the new MCD Civic Center on Minto Road in Central Delhi.
  • The report states that there was a time when the Joint Water and Sewerage Board, Delhi State Electricity Board and Delhi Road Transport Authority used to come under the company. However, in November 1971, a Road Transport Corporation was established as a result of an Act of Parliament separating the Delhi Transport Institute from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
  • Then, a 1993 amendment in the existing law brought about fundamental changes in the composition, functions, management and governance of the company.
Amendment Act, 2011

  • The Municipal Corporation of Delhi was split into three companies in 2011 by amending the Municipal Corporation of Delhi Act: North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations, with 104 awards for the former two and 64 for the latter.
  • A new areaKeshavpuram, was also created as a result of the demarcation ahead of the 2017 elections to maintain balance in the regional offices of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, while the urban and Sadar Paharganj zones were combined to become the City-SP zone to shape .
But what were the issues mentioned under trifurcation?

  • Over the years, triple MCDs have experienced a number of problems, including failure to pay safai karamcharis (sweepers) salaries, the unequal distribution of property taxes among the three civil society organizations, ineffective management, and mounting losses.
  • Uneven distribution: In terms of the territorial divisions and the potential for each company to generate revenue, the trifurcation was uneven. As a result, there was a huge disparity between the available resources of the three firms and their tasks.
  • Widened gaps: The gap has widened over time, making it more difficult for the three municipal corporations to pay their employees’ salaries and retirement benefits on time. As a result, Delhi’s ability to maintain its civilian services would be severely hampered.
What has changed with unification?

  • The whole city, with the except for some isolated areas in Lutyens’ Delhi and billeting, was brought under one body, ending the old boundaries of civil bodies.
  • The second phase would have been to unify the workforce, which is not expected to have impacted lower level staff, but would have decreased to a third of senior positionsaccording to The Indian Expresswhich would have reduced layoff and salary costs.
  • “For example, there will be one director for each department such as horticulture, sanitation, education, health, hospital, etc. in the unified company instead of the existing three directors, one for each of the three MCDs. The same will apply to commissioners, commission heads and mayors,” the IE report said.
Benefits of unification

  • A former director of the North MCD’s press and information department, Yogendra Singh Mann, told The Indian Express that a balance between resources, revenues and expenditures with the unification. The North Wing regularly had to deal with salary delays. After the merger, there will be uniformity, he had said.
  • So would be a centralized authority for things like parking fees, property taxes, and new city projects improve civil planningMann said.
  • According to an article in India Today, settling the power struggle between elected politicians and officials would also be a goal of the merger, along with offering a rescue package to the MCD to clear its backlogs as the North and East MCDs were losing money. “Through MCD unification, the Center could contribute to saving the MCD by offering a one-time package to clear the backlog that has occurred so far. Due to this crisis, workers cannot get their salary on time and they usually have to wait months to get their salary,” he had said.
Uniform MCD so far

  • In May, the center appointed Gyanesh Bharti as commissioner of the unified MCD and IAS officer Ashwani Kumar as special officer.
  • Then, according to the PTI at the time, the exercise to restructure and reorganize the municipal staff began.
  • Civil bodies in the South, North and East saw their terms of office expire in May. After the demarcation process, the special officer and commissioner took over the functions of elected councilors and municipal committees.
The political angle

  • According to a report by the Indian Express in October 2021, sources in the BJP had told the publication that advocating a merger also had political connotations as the MCDs were perpetually out of money due to Delhi’s “AAP-led government blocking it”. .
  • “This would also help the party send a message to the public about how they intend to resolve the financial crisis when they return to power,” said one leader.
  • The Delhi BJP has long called for the companies to be combined. It came up in 2014 and 2017 when Vijay Goel, a former union minister, said unification would improve functioning.

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