Meaning, Nature and Importance of Local Government
Local Government means, the government which manages services and amenities in our villages, towns and cities with focus on local problems. The local governments normally functions within a specified limited territory of a village, a town, a city and also a large metropolitan city. The local governments function as the basic link between the people in a village or town with the government. As and when people have problems such as road repairs, water stagnation in the streets, non functioning of street lights and construction of small water bodies recreation parks, etc. The local governments have the responsibility to attend to any emergency situations, birth or death of persons in the village or town. The local governments are the institutions, which issues certificates of proof of residence, birth, death and incomes etc to the residents in that area. In total, the local governments are the institutions which are responsible for all such local needs of the people. They are the lowest unit of administration in the administrative structure of the government. The local government has council, which is normally elected by the people of the village or town concerned, which is responsible for the representing the problems of the citizens in the council and find solutions to the problems. The council representatives are elected once in five years, or four years, depending upon the law in operation in the country.
The local governments are representative institutions, representating people in the council. There are legally mandated to discuss and give solutions to the problems of the people of that area and also represent the problem to the higher levels of the government such as state. Since the local governments are established on the basis of democratic process, all the problems discussed by the council of the local governments should go through the process of discussion, debate and deliberations and unanimously accepted by the council. The members of the council are given freedom to discuss and also to take decisions at same time within the framework of the fundamental law of the land called Constitution.
The importance of the local government lies in the nature of the problems handled by the local governments, which are basically “local” in nature and also the variety of problems attended by the local government cannot be attended by the higher levels of the government like state or central governments. Because the local problems are specific to the local areas and the solutions found for those problems should also be relevant to the situation. An irrelevant solution to the problems may hamper the situation and also it is also concerned with the spending of the taxes collected from the people. If solutions are irrelevant to the local problems, the resources used for that programme may by wasted and it gives more burden on the people again.
Therefore, local governments are the institutions created for the purposes of solving the local issues and addressing the local level problems. The local governments normally consist of elected representatives drawn from the local population representing the local people and they represent the local issues in the council and try to find solutions to the problems. The local governments are the important channel of flow of resources and programmes to the people at the lowest levels normally called “grassroots” level. No country today afford to ignore local governments because of the fact that local issues at present becomes global issues. With development of Information and communication Technology (ICT), the whole world have become global village.