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The Government of India, official known as the Union Government is established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the states and union territories, collectively called the Republic of India. The Government in India comprises of three branches i.e. the executive; the legislative and the judiciary. The executive branch is headed by the President, who is the Head of the State. The legislative branch or the parliament comprises of the lower house- the Lok Sabha and the upper house- the Rajya Sabha, as well as the President. The judicial branch has the Supreme Court at its apex, high courts and numerous civil, family and criminal courts at district levels. By the 73rd and 74th Amendments in the Constitution, the Panchayati Raj system has been institutionalized for the local governance, both for rural as well as urban areas.
Local Government (Urban)
Local Government (Urban) comprises of the following types of Government, Semi-Government and Government regulated entities:
Municipal Bodies:
Provision of civic services such as road, street light, water supply, drainage, sewage removal; maintenance of public places, gardens, public buildings; regulation of building and employment activities; maintaining records of births and deaths, fire services, etc. have been traditionally the responsibility of the local bodies in urban areas. Urban Local Governments or Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have a long history in India. The first such body was set-up in Madras (Chennai) in 1688 in the form of a Municipal Corporation. After that such Corporations were established in Bombay (Mumbai) and Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1726.

74th Constitution Amendment Act (CAA74) of 1992 amended the Constitution of India and took democracy to the grassroots by providing for a common framework for urban local bodies and strengthen their functioning as effective units of local self-governance. Consequently, depending on the population of the urban area, a Municipal Body could be a Nagar Panchayat for areas in transition from a rural area to urban area, Municipal Council for smaller urban areas and Municipal Corporation for large urban areas. It details the process for electing local-level governments and for their effective functioning, provides for delegation of political, functional and fiscal powers.

According to Twelfth Finance Commission, there are 3723 ULBs in the country classified into three major categories of Municipal Corporations (109), Municipalities (1432) and Nagar Panchayats (2182). The ULBs consists of members elected from the wards of the city. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are elected by the members among themselves. A Municipal Commissioner, who is from the Administrative Service and heads the staff of the Corporation, assists it in its decision making process, implements its decisions, prepares its annual budget, and undertakes such other activities. Typically, the source of income of a Corporation are water-tax, house-tax, entertainment-tax and octroi (now abolished from many cities). The largest Municipal Corporations in India currently are Mumbai, followed by Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.

Urban Development Authorities :
The urban population of India has rapidly increased in recent years. In 1951 about 62 million persons lived in urban areas of the country, by 2011, their number had gone up to over 286 million in the last six decades. Such explosive growth implies that the pressure on urban civic services and infrastructure would be unbearable unless measures for planned growth of Indian cities are taken in time. This is where the urban development authorities have a major role to play to ensure planned and organized growth of urban areas. Development authorities concentrate on special functions like planning, housing, restructuring and urban development. In fact, these authorities, for that matter have always accorded priority to the lower and the middle-income groups and have made decent accommodation available to them. In the national capital, Delhi Development Authority has been responsible for making Master Plans, providing housing for innumerable residents, undertaking urban restructuring, development of commercial as well as residential properties and balance competing priorities. Development Authorities allot sites for public utilities and create necessary infrastructure for developing satellite townships which has contributed to a great extent to the organized growth in India. All major cities in India have urban development authorities.

Public Utilities and other bodies performing specific public functions:
There are number of number of organizations which play a critical role in the governance and smooth functioning of the urban areas. Few of such organizations are
  • Town and Country Planning Department,
  • Public Works Departments (B&R & PH),
  • Electricity Boards/ Distcoms,
  • Drainage Divisions of Irrigation Department,
  • Urban Improvement Trusts,
  • Slum Improvement Boards,
  • Local Transport Service Departments,
  • Jal Nigams, and
  • Industrial Development Corporations

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