Types of Urban Bodies in India

There are several types of urban bodies in India such as Municipal Corporation, Municipality, Notified Area Committee, Town Area Committee, Special Purpose Agency, Township, Port Trust, Cantonment Board etc. Brief detail about them is given below:

Municipal Corporation

Municipal Corporations are created to look after the administrative needs of large cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, etc. The respective state legislatures can establish the municipal corporations by passing an act. In case of union territories, they can be established by the acts of Indian Parliament. There may be a one single act for all municipal corporations in the state or separate act for each municipal corporation.

There are three authorities under a municipal corporation viz. the council, the standing committees and the commissioner. The council acts as the deliberative and legislative wing of the corporation. The council is made up of councillors who are directly elected by the people. The head of the council is called mayor. Mayor is assisted by a deputy mayor. Mayor presides over the council meetings.

As the council is too large in size, standing committees are created to facilitate the working of the council. The standing committees take decisions with respect their field like public works, education, health, taxation, etc. The municipal commissioner is the chief executive authority of the corporation and he implements the decisions taken by the council and its standing committees. State government appoints the municipal commissioner. Generally IAS officers are appointed as the municipal commissioner.


The municipalities are created for the administration of smaller cities and towns. They are set up by the acts of the respective state governments. In case of union territories, they are set up by acts of Parliament of India. Municipalities are called with different names like municipal council, municipal committee, municipal board, borough municipality, city municipality, etc.

A municipality has three authorities viz. the council, the standing committees and the chief executive officer. The council acts as the deliberative and legislative wing of the municipality. The council is made up of councillors who are directly elected by the people. The head of the council is called president or chairman. He is assisted by a vice-president or vice-chairman. President/Chairman presides over the meetings of the council. The standing committees deal with different fields like public works, education, health, etc. They facilitate the working of the council. The chief executive officer looks after the day-to-day responsibilities of administration of the municipality. He is appointed by the state government.

Notified Area Committee

A notified area committee is established to take care of administration of an area which is either a fast developing town from industrialisation or a town not yet developed to fulfil all the conditions to create a municipality but is considered as important by the state government. A notified area committee is created by a notification in the government gazette. The notification also mentions the provisions of the State Municipal Act that are applied to the notified area committee. The state may also entrust to it powers under any other act. The powers of a notified area committee are equal to a municipality. Unlike the municipality, a notified area committee is an entirely nominated body. State government nominates all members including the chairman to a notified area committee. Thus, a notified area committee is neither an elected body nor a statutory body.

Town Area Committee

A town area committee is created for the administration of a small town. It is like a semi-municipal authority. Limited number of civic functions such as roads, street lighting, and drainage are entrusted to it. It is established by a separate act passed by a state legislature. The act mentions the composition, functions, and other matters related to the town area committee. It may be a wholly nominated body by a state government or a wholly elected body or partly nominated and partly elected.

Cantonment Board

They are created for municipal administration for civilian population in the cantonment areas. Unlike other urban local bodies, a cantonment board is created as well as administered by union government. The provisions of the Cantonments Act of 2006, a central government act, are applicable to a cantonment board. A cantonment board functions under the administrative control of union defence ministry. Now, there are 62 cantonment boards in the country.

The members of a cantonment board are partly elected and partly nominated. While the elected members hold the office for a term of 5 years, the nominated members continue as long as they hold the office. The military officer who is commanding the station is the ex-officiopresident of the board and he presides over its meetings.The board’s vice-president is elected by the elected members from amongst themselves and he holds the position for five years.

The functions of a cantonment board are similar to those of a municipality. Their functions are categorised as obligatory and discretionary functions.Its executive officer is appointed by the President of India. He is responsible for implementation of the decisions of the board and its committees. The source of income of the boards includes both, tax and non-tax revenue.


Townships are created by the large public sector enterprises for its staff and workers near to the plant with all civic amenities. A town administrator is appointed by the enterprise to take care of the administration of the township. He is assisted by some engineers and some other staff. The township form of urban government has no elected members.

Port Trust

The port trusts are created in the port areas like Kolkata, Chennai,Mumbai, etc. The objective in their creation is to manage and protect the ports; and to provide civic amenities. A port trust is set up by an Act of Parliament. Its members include both elected and nominated. Its chairman is an official. Its civic functions are almost similar to those of a municipality.

Special Purpose Agency

Along with the above seven types of urban bodies, the states can create certain agencies to look after specific functions that ‘legitimately’ belong to any of the above local urban governments. These agencies are function-based and not area-based like the above seven bodies. They are known as ‘special purpose’ or ‘single purpose’ agencies or ‘functional local bodies’.

They are created as statutory bodies by an act of state legislature or as departments by an executive resolution. They work as autonomous bodies dealing with their allotted functions independently of the local urban governments. They are not subordinated to any local urban governance bodies.

Examples of such bodies are:

  • Town improvement trusts.
  • Water supply and sewerage boards.
  • Pollution control boards.
  • Electricity supply boards.
  • Urban development authorities.
  • City transport boards.
  • Housing boards.


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