Amendments made to lay education conditions for candidates for MC polls

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The Haryana assembly on Wednesday passed the Haryana Municipal (amendment) Bill, 2016 and Haryana Municipal Corporation (amendment) Bill, 2016, making educational and other conditions mandatory for the candidates of urban local body polls. This will ensure that only educated and non tainted candidates should represent people in local bodies.

The Amendments aims at strengthening the Urban Local Bodies, the third tier of the Governance and improving the efficiency, transparency and accountability by making education as a necessary qualification for the office bearers of the Urban Local Bodies.

The Amendments were also necessitated because with the 74th Constitutional Amendment, the Urban Local Bodies are being vested with more powers and funds which requires the members of Urban Local Bodies to discharge executive functions like planning, implementation of infrastructural projects, resource allocations, disbursements of funds, purchase of goods, regulation of activities in urban area and laying down of procedures for their day-to-day functioning. Prescribing minimum standards of education will not only help in augmenting performance of the members of Urban Local Bodies, but also reduce chances of them being misled and ensure their accountability. In view of good literacy rate in the State, election of educated candidates for Urban Local Bodies will prove to be a catalyst for faster and sustainable development of cities.

Another objective of the Amendments is that elected members of Urban Local Bodies are leaders of society and their conduct should be impeccable. There are instances where persons have been let off because of shortcomings in the investigation process and non-fulfillment of technical specifications like absence of sanction of prosecution or lack of strong prosecution by the public prosecutor. Therefore, conviction of charges framed against any person by a court in a criminal case for an offence, punishable with imprisonment for not less than ten years is being made as a disqualification for contesting the election of Urban Local Bodies.

The Urban Local Bodies are also expected to lead social change and foster economic development in the cities. All this requires educated and informed leadership, which can lead by example. Therefore, default of payment of electricity bill or of loans of cooperative institutions is being made as disqualification for contesting the elections of Urban Local Bodies.

The appropriate sanitation arrangements in the residential areas of urban population is the main attention of the time and in this scenario the provision of functioning toilets in each and every house is must. To boost and encourage such type of provision of toilet must be started from the elected representative of the Urban Local Bodies. Therefore, non-provision of functional toilet at the place of residence of a candidate has been made as disqualification.

According to these Bills, new clauses shall be added namely clause (e) if he has been convicted or charges have been framed against him by a court in a criminal case for an offence, punishable with imprisonment for not less than ten years or clause (f) if he fails to pay an arrear of any kind due to him to any Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society, District Central Cooperative Bank and District Primary Cooperative Agriculture Rural Development Bank, clause (g) if he fails to pay arrears of electricity bills or clause (h) if he has not passed matriculation examination or its equivalent examination from any recognised institution or board. Provided that in case of a woman candidate or a candidate belonging to a Scheduled Caste, the minimum qualification shall be middle pass. In case of a woman candidate belonging to Scheduled Caste, the minimum qualification shall be fifth pass and clause (i) if he fails to submit a self declaration to the effect that he has a functional toilet at his place of residence.

Earlier similar conditions were made mandatory for the candidates of the panchayati raj institution (PRI) polls by the state government.

The Bills were moved by urban local bodies minister Kavita Jain.

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