Tag Archives: municipal ecosystem


The who’s who of BBMP: the officials and their offices

 By Girisha Shankar and Aparna Ravikumar

The BBMP (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) is an urban local governmental body whose working keeps Bangalore functional. It takes decisions and implements projects relating to roads, bus stations, schools, hospitals, and a lot more. As the core municipal body that governs Bangalore, BBMP has both elected representatives of city residents as well as appointed or nominated officials in various roles. This blog post takes a look at the people who run the BBMP.

The city of Bangalore is broken up into 198 wards. Each ward has a population of roughly 30,000-40,000. As of 2011 data, Horamavu ward has the largest population of 93,830. Representatives, called councillors, are elected every 5 years from each of these 198 wards.  The BBMP elections, unlike the state elections that are held by the Election commission of India, are held by the Karnataka State Election Commission, in accordance with the rules underlined by the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) act. The BBMP is constituted when at least 2/3rd of the elected councilors are present and the Government has passed corresponding the Gazette notification. The fully constituted BBMP has a strength of 270 members, of which 198 are the elected councillors, 28 are members of legislative assembly (MLAs), 8 are members of legislative council-the upper house at the state level, 12 are Rajya Sabha MPs, 4 are Lok Sabha MPs and 20 are nominated members.  As of February 2014, the employed staff strength of BBMP was around 10,000 people, and around 15,000 people were contract workers.

City governance begins at the level of Area Sabhas. Area Sabhas constitute 1-5 polling booths within a ward. All registered voters of that area are its members. The representative of the Area Sabha is appointed by the Commissioner. Higher up the ladder of governance, at the ward level, is the ward committee. Each of the 198 wards has a ward committee of 10 nominated members, chaired by the councillor. The councillors elected from each ward, in turn elect the mayor and deputy mayor from their own ranks. The ruling party usually elects the mayor and deputy mayor from its ranks. The mayor and the deputy mayor have a ruling term of one year.

An important figure of authority in the BBMP is the commissioner. He is appointed by the Government for term of 2 years. He heads the executive wing of BBMP. The various departments of BBMP, like the Revenue department and Administrative department among other departments, operate under his supervision. He is assisted by the deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners. The various departments that are headed by the Commissioner, have a number of officers, like the engineers, who carry out BBMP’s ground work and handle its daily activities. These officers and engineers report to the Commissioner and form a major part of the BBMP workforce.

Standing Committees are formed to address specific issues of city governance. The committees also register complaints from the public. There are 12 standing committees in the BBMP currently that address issues like Public Health, Taxation and Finance and Major Public Works, among others. The committee consists of ten members and one chairman. The standing committees are formed for a period of one year.

Non statutory roles in the BBMP include the roles of the leader of the opposition party, the leader of the ruling party among others. These roles are not a legal requirement but conventionally command positions of influence within the BBMP offices.




A Brief History of Bangalore’s Governance

by Girisha Shankar
Edited by Apoorva Tadepalli

Local governance has existed in India since the Vedic days. The Indus Valley civilization had well planned towns and governing bodies that took care of civic infrastructure. Municipalities were established by the East India Company in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras, and were later empowered to enact their own bylaws. Lord Ripon instituted a major reform in 1882 paving the way for representative form of governance in municipalities. This resulted in elected councils in several municipal bodies – including one in Bangalore as described below.

Municipal governance in Bangalore

Bangalore Town and Bangalore Cantonment, analogous to modern wards, had separate committees with several divisions, with two councillors for each division. By 1892, both these municipalities were free from direct British rule and elections were introduced. The Cantonment municipality, unlike Bangalore town municipality, saw communal representation of councilors. This arrangement continued until independence. This period saw Bangalore Town municipality under the administration of eminent personalities such as Arcot Srinivasachar, K P Puttanna Chetty and A S Nagarkar.


In 1949, City of Bangalore Corporation Act merged the two municipal committees in Bangalore and all their constituent divisions were brought under a single corporation. The resultant body was what we now know as Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, or BMP. At the same time, there was another corporation in operation in Karnataka- Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Council.

The State Government of Karnataka intended to bring these two bodies under the purview of same act. Hence the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act -1976 (KMC Act) was introduced. This act with its various amendments continues to govern the Bangalore Corporation even today.

One of the major amendments done to the KMC Act was the Karnataka Amending Act 35 of 1994, after which Bangalore Corporation got reconstituted with larger urban area under its jurisdiction, and an election commission was set up for running the elections to local bodies in the state. A finance commission was constituted to review the financial position of Corporation vis-à-vis that of state government. This was the first time that state government endowed power and authority to local urban bodies in general and BMP in particular. This included powers to prepare and implement plans for economic development and ensuring social justice.

The next major change into Corporation came in 2007, when the state government issued a notification to merge the BMP with adjoining 7 city municipal councils (CMC), one town municipal council (TMC) and 111 villages. This resulted in a much bigger area of administration for the Corporation which was rechristened “Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike”, or the BBMP.

Electronic City, one of the city’s fastest growing areas, remains out of BBMP’s jurisdiction; in June 2007, BBMP passed a resolution to bring the Electronic City under its administration. However, Electronic City Industries’ association has stiffly opposed this move. This tug of war is went on till March 2013, when a Karnataka state government order declared the creation of an independent Electronics City Industrial Township Authority or ECLIA.

Girisha Shankar is an urban policy analyst with the Takshashila Institution and a student of the B.CLIP pioneer batch. Apoorva Tadepalli is an intern at the Takshashila Institution.

Introduction to the Bangalore municipal ecosystem

The second session was taught by Saurabh Chandra and Pavan Srinath on Introduction to the Bangalore municipal ecosystem. This session looked at the role and importance of different municipal bodies existing in Bangalore such as the BBMP, BMRDA, traffic, BESCOM, BDA, BWSSB, Police, RTO, BMTC, Forest, KSCB, Metro, CDA, and Indian Railway etc. among others. To execute any plan with regard to Bangalore city and its infrastructure, a healthy interaction with these agencies becomes a must. For example, if one wants to build a footpath, it becomes important to go through BBMP, Gail, traffic and BMTC. The need to know and understand the functions of each of these agencies was emphasised on.

A part of the class was spent discussing the importance of persuasion while dealing with the municipal ecosystem of Bangalore. How does one approach the different bodies and convince them to participate in solving a particular problem? It therefore becomes important to understand the ward one wants to change, identify the problem one wants to address and then approach the agencies that will be involved. It is only then can one start persuading them to participate.

This session also talked about the importance of maps in understanding Bangalore city and a particular ward. Using examples of different maps, it was explained how they elucidate the boundaries, layouts, infrastructure, roads and the complete geography of a city. The class learnt how BBMP zones, BBMP wards, BMRDA jurisdiction, MLA constituencies in BBMP, BWSSB subdivisions etc. can all be easily seen and understood by looking at a map. It was also explained how maps can be used to understand the geography of the city: Bangalore’s watershed map and authority of society and economy. The class ended with a short session on the particular websites that can be used for ward analysis.