The Nagarpalika Act, i.e. the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 has been enacted to accord constitutional recognition to the Urban Local Bodies as third tier of Government. In the said Constitution Amendment Act (CAA) it was made mandatory to implement the provisions of the said Act in all the States within one year from the date of enactment of the said Act.
West Bengal is a State where all the provisions of CAA, except the provision of State Election Commission, were incorporated in various statutes and Executive Orders long before the provisions of the CAA were conceived and came into force. The process of decentralisation of powers started in West Bengal in 1977 and with this objective in view, necessary changes in the legislations were made and Executive Orders issued to transfer powers to the Local Bodies, both Urban and Rural. Our State Government, therefore, became the pioneer in implementing the provisions of the CAA because in our case minor changes had to be made to accommodate the provisions of the CAA. Though the status shows the positions in respect of the Municipalities governed by the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993, the position in respect of the Municipal Corporations including the Calcutta Municipal Corporation which are administered by other legislations are exactly similar. The Local Bodies are actually exercising these powers in reality.
Similarly, West Bengal is pioneer in the matter of constitution of the State Finance Commission. Before the CAA came into force two Municipal Finance Commissions were constituted to look into the financial aspects of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and to adopt measures to strengthen their resource base. As per the provision of the CAA the first State Finance Commission was constituted in this State and almost all of its recommendations have been implemented.