Campaigning for Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections is at its zenith. The polls are to be held on December 4 and counting is scheduled for December 7.
Earlier this year, the Union government passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022. With the amendment, the East, North, and South municipal corporations of Delhi were unified into one Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The entire MCD is divided into 12 zones: Central, City–SP, Civil Lines, Karol Bagh, Keshav Puram, Najafgarh, Narela, North Shahdara, Rohini, South Shahdara, South and West.
The State Election Commission (SEC) said a total of 1,349 candidates are in the fray for the polls to 250 wards of MCD. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which currently governs the MCD, will try to retain its control over the civic body even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is set to give it a tough fight.
Until 2012, the MCD used to be unified, but later, it was divided into three parts, East, North, and South civic bodies. This was done to decentralize the civil bodies so that resources were equally distributed, and responsibilities were clearly marked. The aim was to bring about financial viability of various departments.
However, things didn’t go according to the plan. And the purpose of trifurcation was defeated as it couldn’t address the vexing problems. The financial crisis continued to ail the civic bodies. As a result, the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was passed and the MCD is once again unified.
Due to the delimitation before the 2017 elections, in order to maintain balance in the regional offices in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, a new zone Keshavpuram was created, while the urban and Sadar Paharganj zones were merged to form the City-SP zone.
ROLES of MCD
The MCD is one of the largest municipal bodies with around 1.1 crore people under its jurisdiction. It comes second only to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which oversees an estimated 1.4 crore people in Tokyo’s villages, towns, cities and special wards..
The MCD was formed as an independent body in 1958 through a Special Act of the Parliament.
Its roles and responsibilities are all-encompassing and diverse that aim at providing civic amenities to the citizens. These include promoting health care facilities and taking measures to prevent any outbreak of diseases; cleaning of roads (smaller than 60 feet wide), pavements and markets. The MCD’s education department has to ensure proper functioning of primary schools and build education infrastructure.
The construction and maintenance of public infrastructure such as roads, over-bridges, public toilets and public transportation is looked after by the engineering department of the MCD.
It has to take care of water supply, manage the drainage system, develop slum areas, upkeep designated parks, libraries, street lights, and parking areas. Many parking contracts are given by the MCD.
Another key function of the MCD is solid waste management, which includes making sure garbage is collected from each house and from collection points. Maintenance of sewerage is one of its crucial duties. The civic body is also supposed to crack down on encroachments on the roads.
It has to ensure that the buildings are constructed as per the guidelines set by it. The MCD is responsible for collecting property, professional and toll tax as well as running cremation grounds and keeping record of births and deaths. Registration of birth and death can be done online now. The MCD has also made applying for veterinary and factory license, filling property tax returns and getting information under the Right to Information Act a seamless process.
OVERLAP OF DUTIES BETWEEN MCD AND DELHI GOVT.
There’s an overlap in some duties between the MCD and the Delhi government. Both are involved in the education sector. The MCD is entrusted with the responsibility to support the primary schools, while the Delhi government has to take care of the higher and secondary schools as well as colleges.
As far as roads are concerned, the MCD is responsible for cleaning and maintaining roads smaller than 60 feet. On the other hand, the Delhi government has to oversee roads that are wider than 60 feet. While the MCD collects toll, property and professional tax as well as revenues from advertisements, the Delhi government collects value-added tax, service tax and excise duty. It drafts the budget of the city.
The Delhi government takes care of the licenses and plying of larger motorized vehicles including buses, the MCD deals with small vehicles including cycle rickshaws and hand-driven carts. The MCD is also responsible for running some dispensaries and hospitals, while the Delhi government is entrusted with taking care of bigger and more specialized hospitals, including mohalla clinics.