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October 31, 2018

Administrative reforms of the Urban Development Department

Administrative reforms of the Urban Development Department

The State Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Department has undertaken several administrative reforms over the last seven years of the Trinamool Congress Government to make the municipal authorities more effective, responsive and vibrant.

The primary reforms are as follows:

Ease of Doing Business: An online system for payment of property tax on land and buildings in municipal cities has been launched on a pilot basis in ten municipalities. It will gradually be extended to other urban local bodies.

Amendment of West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993: An amendment has been made to empower executive officers and finance officers of municipalities in order to strengthen municipal administration.

Parastatals have been restructured, like merging the State Urban Development Agency and Change Management Unit to support the urban local bodies in a coordinated manner and reorganising Kolkata Municipal Development Authority (KMDA) by merging Kolkata Metropolitan Water and Sanitation Authority (KMWSA) and Kolkata Improvement Trust (KIT).

Ensuring use of proper plastic: Legislation has been made for banning the use of and disposal of plastic of improper thickness within municipal areas.

Safety of residents of old buildings: Through the introduction of the section 412A in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Act, the KMC can now enforce owners of dilapidated buildings to reconstruct the buildings for the safety of the residents.

Environment-friendly building rules: An amendment has been made to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Building Rules, 2009, by incorporating additional floor area ratio (FAR) in respect of green and other categories of buildings.

A similar amendment has been made to the West Bengal Municipal Building Rules, 2007 for the other municipal bodies of the State. In both cases, an additional FAR of 10 per cent for green buildings and 15 per cent for mass housing projects, hospitals, IT office buildings, mega commercial projects, etc. have been granted.

Unit area-based assessment of property tax: Amendments have been made in the KMC Act and the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993 to bring about unit area-based assessment of property tax in the areas under Kolkata Municipal Corporation and in other municipal areas of the State, respectively.