The recommendations of the National Commission on Urbanisation led the Govt. of India to constitute a Parliamentary Standing Committee which recommended 74th Constitution Amendment Act. in 1993. This amendment conferred a constitutional footing on Urban Local Bodies and assured a Uniform Urban Administrative pattern in the Country following principle of democratic decentralisation - envisaging more powers to the elected body, more power to the women, more transparency in administration, widened harizons of activities and less but limited control of the State Govt. State Finance Commission, District Planning Committee, reservation for women, Scheduled Caste & Tribes were made. Ward Committee were set up, elections at regular intervals were made compulsory, new powers were delegated to them to raise more funds through taxation and levy of fees to become self-reliant. This State has implemented all the provisions of the 74th C.A.A. Many of these provisions were in fact, in existence in the State’s decentralised Urban Administration policies since late seventies but now they enjoy better backup by constitutional sanction.
One of the important programmes taken up and implemented in this Municipality is S.J.S.R.Y. It was started in 1997. Prior to this, other programme for Eradication of Poverty of Urban poor people were in operation. The keynote of success in the implementation of SJSRY in this Municipality is also peoples active participation. Active involvement of the local resources and people have resulted in forming 182 NHG. 22 NHC. 1-CDS. 115 Thrift & credit groups.
There is an amount of more than 5 lakhs deposited in Savings Bank Account in bank by the Thrift & Credit Groups. We have 8 DWCUAs and Bank loan has been received by 79, while DWCUA-loan by 1. About 600 men and women have been trained in various self-employment trades. Loan to the extent of Rs. 6 lakhs have been given from Revolving Fund. The most outstanding feature is that till date there is hundred percent loan repayment in time. Such an achievement has been possible because the people participated actively in every step of this poverty eradication programme.
The encouraging part of these programs including SJSRY was that peoples' participation constituted the basic principle in designing and implementing these programs. This approach is no doubt a break through in the strategy of improving the lifestyle of the Urban poor and to prepare the Urban Community to shoulder higher responsibility in improving the Socio-Economic and political picture of the Country.
In SJSRY programme formation of Neighbour-hood groups (NHG), Neighbour-hood Committees(NHC) and Community Development Society (CDS) as the apex and coordination body have been establishing far-reaching impact on the overall development. The responsibility of the community structure envisaged and developed in the SJSRY Programme is mainly restricted to poverty eradication through a set of given and innovative programme now being implemented.
The functioning of these Community Organisation manned by women selected by the community from below the Poverty line and named as Resident Community Volunteers (RCV) has already attracted attention and it is expected that this strategy will revolutionise the Urban Development in foreseeable future. Towards late eighties, some programme for implementation with the method of participatory approach as a tool to improve the quality of life of Urban poor deserve special mention. Such alternative approach marked a Distinct departure from the earlier and traditional concept of top-down planning and implementation in Urban areas of this State. CUDP-III (Calcutta Urban Development Programme), CSIP (Calcutta Slum Improvement Programme), IPP-IV & IPP-VIII (India Population Projects) are some of such programs planned and implemented through participatory approach. Women and their children were given due priority and women of the low economic strata came to the forefront to became the main architects of their future with new leadership and empowerment.
SJSRY rest on foundation of Community empowerment and its implementation is thorough community Organisation established for the purpose. Community Organisation like neighbourhood Group (NHG), NeighbourHood Committees (NHC) Community Development Societies (CDS) have been set up in target areas on prescribed pattern. The CDS is the focal point for purposes of identification of beneficiaries, preparation of applications monitoring or recovery and generally for providing whatever other support is necessary to the programme. The CDS also identify viable projects suitable for the particular area. The CDS may also set themselves up as Thrift and Credit societies to encourage community savings as also other group activities. CDS is a registered body, hence has been authorised to have access to funds under various schemes as also wider finance and credit base. CDS is the nodal agency of this programme. CDS lay emphasis on providing the entire gamut of social sector imputes to their areas including health, welfare, education etc. thorough establishing convergence between schemes implemented by different departments.