The case of Tamilnadu
The Tamilnadu State Election Commission established under the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments, gives a brief account of the status of local government in the state of Tamilnadu.
As stated by the Tamilnadu State Election Commission, under the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act (Rural Local Bodies) the government of Tamilnadu as a constitutional obligation has taken into account important points including: formation of Gram Sabha in every village with powers of general supervision over the elected village Panchayat and the power to grant approval to the annual plans of the Panchayats; formation of three tier Panchayats i.e., District Panchayats, Panchayat Unions and Village Panchayats made obligatory; reservation of seats for weaker sections of society like SCs, STs and Women; powers to impose taxes and provision for grants , assignments etc., from government funds through constitution of a State Finance Commission.
Under the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, devolution of more functions and taxing powers; revenue sharing with state governments; regular conduct of elections; reservation of seats for SCs and STs and for women; uniform composition of the urban bodies throughout the country were provided.
Following 73rd constitutional amendment the Tamilnadu Panchayats Act was passed in 1994, which replaced the earlier Tamilnadu Panchayats Act, 1958. The Tamilnadu Panchayats Act, 1994 was amended in 1996. The Act of 1996 provided as far as Panchayats are concerned : to plan for their developmental needs, constitution of District Planning Committee; constitution of State Election Commission and constitution of State Finance Commission. In the first elections under the 1994 Act, 1,17,000 representatives were elected for the three different tiers of local government across Tamilnadu.
Urban Local Governments
As far as urban local bodies are concerned, the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, paved the way for setting up urban local bodies in various states. Elections were held to the rural and urban local bodies in Tamilnadu in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011.
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