BBMP to get its own law for better governance
Both the Houses of the Karnataka Legislature on Thursday passed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Bill, 2020, to give a separate law for the city corporation that ensures a new municipal governance, increases the number of wards from 198 to 243 and empowers it to levy a fee on advertisement and entertainment tax.
The Bill was passed amidst boycott of the session by the principal Opposition Congress and the absence of JD (S) members. Opposition members argued that it was passed without due consultation.
The Bill, that runs into 109 pages, was drafted based on a report of the Legislature’s Joint Select Committee headed by BJP MLA S. Raghu. The Bill, among other things, increases the term of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor from one year to 30 months. With this Bill, the BBMP comes out of the governance structure under the Karnataka Corporation Act (KCA), 1976.
The KCA “is inadequate in administrative and structural matters to govern Bengaluru,” said the bill, adding that there is “an urgent need to formulate an independent legislation for the working of the BBMP for the purposes of improving, decentralization, integration of public participation at various levels of the BBMP.”
The Bill allows the government to nominate residents of the city, such as experts in the fields of health, town planning, education, but the number of such members should not exceed 10% of the councillors. The nominated members won’t have the right to vote in the meetings of the corporation.
Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J.C. Madhuswamy, who tabled the Bill, said only MLAs whose constituencies are within the BBMP limits and MLCs who are registered voters in the corporation would become members of the corporation. The Bill also tweaks functions of standing committees, he said.
The Bill empowers the BBMP to levy a fee on advertisement and entertainment tax. It said no hoardings would be allowed to be displayed in the city without the written permission of the commissioner. The fee to be collected is not for more than one year period. “After introduction of GST, we could not levy tax on advertisements. Instead of a tax, there will be a fee,” he said.
Entertainment tax should be levied and collected by the BBMP over any ticket-based, non-ticket-based, and televisied entertainment, in accordance with the Act.
Rainwater harvesting has been made mandatory for houses built on 60 x 40 sq.ft. and more area. The Bill envisages a disaster management unit and grievances redressal authority in the BBMP.
On expanding the BBMP limits, Mr. Madhuswamy said, “Villages just 100-400 meters away from the one km radius will be brought under the BBMP by way of separate notification.”