To enable the urban local bodies to function as a local government in its true sense and to make them responsible and accountable to the citizens, the State Government has been constantly reviewing and amending laws.
The characteristic features or municipal governance in West Bengal are as follows:
The State Government constitutes Municipalities after taking into consideration the public opinion of the concerned areas.
Municipal areas are divided into several wards mainly depending on the population size of the Municipality.
Term of a municipal Board is fixed to 5 years.
Each ward is represented by a member being elected directly by the people of that ward.
One-third of the total seats of a municipality is reserved for women.
Seats are proportionately reserved for the weaker sections viz. Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) of that municipality.
The Councillors elected directly by the people constitutes the Board of Concillors, which governs Municipalities.
Municipal elections are conducted at a regular interval of five years under the direct supervision of the State Election Commission, which is a statutory body.
Mayors/Chairpersons of the municipal bodies are directly elected by the councilors.
The corporations and municipal towns are governed by a cabinet form of local self-government through the Mayor-in-Council/ Chairman-in-Council model in the ULBs.
Mayors/ Chairpersons run the municipal administration with the assistance of their respective council members.
Chairman of the Corporation conducts the business in the meetings of the Corporation.
There are borough committees in municipal bodies having more than 0.3 million population & in the Municipal Corporations to ensure further decentralisation down below the municipal level.
Respective Municipalities appoint their officers and employees with approval of the State Government.
The State Government may appoint officers in the Municipalities from its own cadre of officers to support the municipal administration.
There are Municipal Accounts Committees in the municipalities to keep vigil on municipal accounts.
The Municipalities are required to conduct internal audit.
The Municipal Bodies are to perform obligatory and discretionary functions in the arena of providing Civic Services, development planning & the other socio economic spheres enumerated in the 12th Schedule of the Constitution of India.
To ensure greater citizen's participation in the Municipal Administration in a democratic and participatory manner, constitution of Ward Committees in each ward of all urban Local bodies has been made mandatory by framing Ward Committee Rule, 2001, with subsequent amendment in 2003 and 2004. In order to ensure participation of women of the BPL families in the municipal administration, it has been mandatory to include women representative of BPL families in the Ward Committee. This concept of Ward Committee has widened the scope of public interface by ensuring Half-yearly and Annual General Meeting of the Ward Committee with the general public of the Ward and with their active participation in the matters related to development plans implemented or to be implemented by the municipality.