In order to enable the urban local bodies to discharge their ever-increasing responsibilities appropriately, Directorate of Local Bodies, Municipal Engineering Directorate, Institute of Local Government and Urban Studies (ILGUS), State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) and West Bengal Valuation Board (WBVB) are giving administrative and technical assistance to Urban Local Bodies. ILGUS has been implementing various training programmes with an object to improve the capacity and efficiency of the chairpersons and as well as of the elected councillors, municipal personnel and community based functionaries. The role of all these government institutions including the Change Management Unit of the KUSP Programme for maintaining financial and administrative discipline, for proper implementation of various development programmes within the stipulated timeframe, for implementing poverty alleviation programme, augmenting municipal revenues and to increase efficiency of the elected councillors and municipal employees is worth mentioning.
Steps have already been taken to appoint in-service officers employed in different departments of the State Government to the post of Executive Officers of the municipalities and twenty-six of them have already joined. In the mean time a process has been initiated to constitute a cadre of the Executive Officers of the Municipalities. Apart from this 40 Engineers from KMDA have been redeployed in ULBs within KMA. Urban Planners are also being posted in 40 ULBs to assist the ULBs in preparation of Draft Development Plan. To ensure financial discipline in the ULBs arrangement for making internal audit has been initiated. For this purpose, several Chartered Accountant firms as well as the auditors of Directorate of Co-operative Audit have been entrusted for preparation of accounts and conducting internal audit of accounts of the Municipal Funds. Necessary rules have been framed and amendments to the rules have also been made in this regard.
Recently, under KUSP programme, it has been decided that the Double Entry Accounting System will be introduced in all the ULBs of the State. A detailed manual has already been published. So far 36 ULBs have prepared balance sheet as on 1.4.2004 under this new provision.
Institute of Local Government and Urban Studies is engaged in training and research activities in the area of municipal administration and urban development. Strengthening capacity of individuals and the institutions and improving quality of governance are the major thrust area for the Institute. Educating large no. of elected representatives, many of them being new to public offices and motivating and sensitising the large number of community based functionaries are other key area for planning the training programmes. After the General Election to the municipal bodies training programmes are arranged centrally or decent rally for all the elected representatives. To strengthen decentralisation in urban planning and municipal administration and to ensure people's active participation in such process training programme are also arranged at ULB level for the members of ward committees and community development functionaries. During the year 2004-05, 3509 persons were covered under different training programmes. Such participants include municipal councillors, municipal personnel, functionaries of Community Development Societies including Resident Community Volunteers and members of Thrift and Credit Groups. Trainers' trainings were conducted to impart training to huge number of grass-root level functionaries.
In order to enable the City Managers to share their experience with their counterpart within the State as well as outside the State, Seminars were organised by the department and ILGUS during the financial year 2004-05 on Property Tax Reforms and Municipal Accounting Reforms and on Best and Innovative Practices of ULBs of the State. The Seminars were attended by the city managers and experts in municipal administration and urban development throughout the country. Another seminar on Major Issues of Urban Development was organised in Collaboration with North Bengal University. A State Level Seminar on Poverty Alleviation which is a major thrust area of the State Govt. was also organised in the year 2005.