Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has said more powers and funds should go to municipal bodies.
“Decentralisation does not mean from Centre to state alone, but it has to be a transition from state to local bodies as well. We will move in this direction in the future,” he said.
Naidu added that it was ‘logical’ to have a separate municipal cadre, which is inter-transferable within the state to deal with complex problems thrown up by large cities, he told mayors attending the annual meeting of the All India Council of Mayors in Delhi.
“IAS officers do not have municipal training. The Prime Minister has taken note of this and he has raised this with the UPSC as well,” Naidu said, adding that “constitution and professionalisation of municipal cadre” had already been included in the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
Asserting municipalities needed to explore new avenues for fund mobilisation, he said civic bodies should also be made more accountable.
While lack of funds, both from state and Centre, was a common grievance, the mayors also demanded a uniform code for all municipalities over salaries and other benefits for their members.
“Roads, street lighting, water and sewage are our subjects, but we depend on state funds for all of these functions. We should have floating funds for development of the city,” said Pathankot Mayor Anil Vasudeva.
Pointing out the delay in releasing funds under Smart City and Swachch Bharat schemes, Varanasi Mayor Ram Gopal Mohley said: “Centre should make dispersal of these funds binding on the states.”