Next NMC poll may see a Mayor with more powers to make Nagpur a Smart City

The February elections of Municipal Corporations in Maharashtra could see a major change. If the ruling BJP grabs Mayor’s posts in the politically significant civic bodies, then the Mayors could be vested with more financial and administrative powers to enable better performance. If the plan sees the light, the Mayor’s funds could witness a quantum jump.

Currently, the Chairman of Standing Committee wields much more financial powers as compared to Mayor and Municipal Commissioner. Without powers, a Mayor is just a “decorative” post. In other words, a “gun without bullets.” If a Mayor is empowered and if the State and Centre is ruled by his party, implementation of development projects is an easy job. With this advantage in mind, the BJP-ruled government in the State has drawn a scheme to vest more powers on Mayors if the party grabs the posts at maximum Municipal Corporations. Issuance of a government notification could just be a formality.

In today’s scenario, there is a wide gap between the Mayor’s funds and development projects expected from him/her. Another aspect weighing on the minds of rulers is that many cities in the State are in the list to be developed as Smart Cities. If one wants the Mayor to perform, it is important to empower him with enough powers, is the scheme of things. Smart City is not merely about technology, but about involving people and understanding their needs.

In its Smart City proposal submitted to the Central government, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) had submitted details on the infrastructural facilities and amenities of the city, its vision for the future. It also suggested giving more powers to the City Mayor. The Mayor should have a say in the utilization of funds.