Previously the Municipal Affairs of this State was administered by the Bengal Municipal Act, 1932. Later, in the end of '80s it was felt necessary to replace the said Act with an updated legislation. Accordingly the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993 has been enacted on the 13th day of July, 1994 and the said new Act has replaced the Bengal Municipal Act, 1932.
Salient features of the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993 are as follows:
Fixing Conditions and procedure
for constitution of a new Municipality or inclusion of an area within an
existing municipal. For constitution of a Municipality an area shall have
to fulfill the mandatory conditions of a minimum total population of
30,000 (as per last preceding census), a population density of 750 per sq.
km., at least 50% adult population of the area shall have to be engaged in
non-agricultural pursuits and probable municipal income from the area
should be adequate to run the functions of the proposed municipality. If
any area is already urbanized but does not comply with any of the above
mentioned conditions this area may be declared as a Notified Area.
Clear determination of
administrative structure of the Municipality. As per these provisions the
Chairman is the executive head of the Municipality. The Chairman nominates
one Councillor as the Vice Chairman. In Group A, B and C Municipalities
there are Chairman-in-Councils. Apart from the Chairman and the Vice
Chairman there are other members (for Gr. A -5, for Gr. B – 4, for Gr. C –
3) nominated by the Chairman from among the Councillors. In Group D and E
Municipalities the powers and functions of the Chairman-in-Council
devolves on the Chairman. Apart from provisions have been made for
empowering the Municipalities to constitute Advisory/ recommendery bodies
to seek expert help in their work by constitution of Standing Committees,
Special Committees, and Joint Committees.
Constitution of ward committees
is each ward of every municipality to involve general citizen in civic
Detailed provision for the
procedure for conduct of business of different elected functionaries and
municipal officials and their powers.
Power and functions of the
Procedure for custody,
applications and use of municipal fund.
Power of the municipalities to
hold, acquire and dispose of movable and immovable properties.
Provision for preparation of
Accounts is Municipal fund annual statutory audit and internal audit
thereof and constitution of Municipal Accounts Committee.
Powers of the Municipalities to
impose different taxes and fees. The municipalities are empowered to
impose fees on congregation, tourists, toll in heavy truck, and levy of
special conservancy charges. Apart from this the Municipalities are
empowered to impose fees for licenses issued and permissions granted under
the provisions of the Act. The main plank of internal resource of the
Municipalities is property tax on lands and buildings. Provisions have
been made to determine such property tax on the basis of a formula. But
such tax (annual) shall not exceed 30% of the annual value of the land or
building concerned. Though the Union Government proportions are exempted
from property tax but the Municipalities are empowered to impose service
charge on such properties at such rates as may be determined by the
Central Government. As per provision of this Act Diplomatic Missions,
places of public worship, Government or Government aided educational
institutions, holdings used for charitable purposes, welfare homes run by
the Government and the buildings with a valuation of Rs. 500/- or less are
exempted from payment of property tax. In every five years the periodic
assessment of holdings is done. Detailed procedure fro such assessment is
made in the Act.
Apart from the above the Municipalities are entitled to impose, -
fee for enlistment of
profession, trade end callings at a maximum rate of Rs. 1500/- per annum
[The State Government, in Municipal Affairs Deptt., has circulated as
model regulation is the matter for adoption by the Municipalities];
fee for issue of license for
use of a site for advertisement and also a tax on advertisement on the
basis of a regulation made by the Municipalities with the approval of
the State Government [The State Government, in Municipal Affairs Deptt.,
has circulated as model regulation is the matter for adoption by the
tax for registration of
carts and carriages [the rates have been mentioned in the West Bengal
Municipal (Finance & Accounting) Rules, 1999];
tolls on ferries and bridges;
stallage, rent and fee on
fee for issue of hawking
licenses and the licenses for sale of flesh, fish or poltry;
Provisions for realization /
recovery of taxes.
Powers to control and regulate
all public through fares including public streets and private streets.
Power of the Municipalities to
regulate building activities and to ensure structural safety. Through
building rules and sanction building plan on realisation of fees as per
provisions of the West Bengal Municipal (Building) Rules, 2007.
Provision regarding power of
the Municipalities in regard to supply of water and issue permission for
digging wells and sinking tube wells, and realization of fees therefor.
Power and function of the
Municipality to control, maintain and regulate drains and sewerage.
Manner of solid waste
management to be followed by the Municipalities.
Provisions regarding control
and maintenance of markets and slaughter houses by the Municipality.
Provision regarding fire
prevention and fire safety.
Detailed procedure regarding
preparation of Draft Development Plan.
Special Provisions regarding
hill Municipalities with an emphasis to safety measures required to be
taken in such areas.
Power of the Municipality to
ensure public safety by removing nuisances and restraining infection.
Provision delineating the role
of the Municipality for maintenance of vital statistics and disposal of
Separate Chapters related to
Notified Area Authority and Industrial Townships.
Rules famed under the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993:
To implement the provisions of this Act the following rules have been made.