Draft Bill proposes to introduce proportional representation in ward committees

It will empower all contestants in the civic polls to nominate one member for every 10% vote share they secure

Published - July 11, 2024 09:28 pm IST - Bengaluru

The draft Bill proposes to empower ward committees by giving it a share of property tax it collects.?

The draft Bill proposes to empower ward committees by giving it a share of property tax it collects.? | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K.

The draft of the Greater Bengaluru Governance Bill, 2024, reimagines ward committees by introducing proportional representation empowering all contestants in the civic polls to nominate one member for every 10% vote share they secure. This, if implemented, will probably be the first time proportional representation will make its way into our elections, in a country that has adopted the first-past-the-post system for elections.?

This will also change the makeup of ward committees, which are practically packed with nominees of the councillor now, and empower them. Proportional representation in ward committees will make them more representative of the voters of the ward, and since representatives of multiple parties will be there, it will make the committee meetings more democratic as well, as per the draft Bill. The councillor will chair the ward committee.?

The structure

Of the 20 members of a ward committee, 10 members will be nominated through proportional representation. Each contestant seeking to be elected as a councillor has to name his nominees, at least three and a maximum of 10 persons, who will be nominated for the ward committee based on his vote share. However, if more seats are vacant after proportionally representing all the contestants who have secured at least a 10% vote share, the remaining seats will be filled by nominees of the councillor.?

The remaining 10 members of the ward committee will have nominees from civil society, including three from local RWAs, two from local NGOs, two from slum associations, two from professional groups/industry bodies, and one social worker. These 20 members will have voting rights. The ward committee will also have representatives from all the parastatals as ex-officio members, who will not have voting rights. The draft Bill also provides for area sabhas, and representatives from area sabhas can participate in the meetings of the ward committees but they are not empowered to vote.

The draft Bill proposes to empower ward committees by giving it a share of property tax it collects. The ward committees will get a share of up to 50% of the increase in collection of property tax in the ward through collection of arrears, underassessed and unassessed properties, in comparison to the baseline of the previous year. The draft Bill also makes approval of the ward committee mandatory for change of land use plan in the ward.

(This is part of a series on the draft of Greater Bengaluru Governance Bill, 2024)

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