In an attempt to bring about major changes in the functioning of the rural local bodies in Karnataka, the government on Wednesday tabled a new Bill to reduce the term of the offices of presidents and vice-presidents of gram panchayats, taluk panchayats, and zilla panchayats from five years to 30 months.
The Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2020, tabled in the Assembly by Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K.S. Eshwarappa said no-confidence motion could not be moved against the presidents and vice-presidents of all three-tiers of local bodies before 15 months from the date of election. The Bill is aimed at amending the 1993 Act. At present, no-confidence motion can be moved within 30 months from the date of election.
The Deputy Commissioner would preside over the meeting while no-confidence motion is considered in taluk panchayat and the regional commissioner would preside in the case of ZP. In case the no-confidence moved is defeated, then no such motion is to be moved again in the next six months.
The Bill envisages some electoral reforms and that included closing of liquor shops 48 hour before closing polling of panchayats.
On tax collection
The Bill has rationalised property tax collection that GPs can do with respect to industries and vacant lands. It has proposed no tax on vacant land in airport or industrial area or industrial areas where plantations are grown. It proposes to levy 0.10% tax on the capital value of the property on runway area of an airport.
The Bill also deleted the provision which said that in Bengaluru Urban district, every one ZP member should have a population of 20,000.
The Bill makes it mandatory for GPs to provide sanitary latrines to all new houses. At present, GPs have been asked to provide sanitary latrines to only 10% of the households every year to achieve full coverage as early as possible.
The provisions say that GPs should conduct animal birth control measures to control the number of street dogs. A written permission from the GP would be required to erect advertisement hoarding on buildings. It said that the Panchayat Development Officer has to execute all lawful decisions and resolutions taken by the GP.
With regards to rotation of seats reserved, the Bill said seats reserved for SCs, STs and OBCs will be rotated every five years instead of 10 years.
On abuse of power
The TP and ZP member would be disqualified for six years if he or she found guilty with regard to misuse or abuse of power. Currently, it is three years. Again, the disqualification would cease to operate after the expiry of six years from the date of the order.
In case a member of the TP applies for leave and the TP fails to inform the applicant of its decision on the application within a period of seven days from the date of application then the leave applied would be deemed to have been granted by the TP.
The new Bill has made MLC, registered as voter in that taluk, as vice-chairman of the taluk planning and development committee. The MLA was the chairman. Currently, the MLC was not part of the committee. The TP president is co-chairman.