Municipalities are not of present growth. They grew up in the Middle Ages or earlier. Now there method of working has completely changed. In ancient India, Greece, Roman Empire and in the Europe of Middle Ages, there were many cities and towns which had their own Municipalities. The present form of Municipal Government of cities and town was started by Lord Ripon in India.
Formerly majority of the members of the municipality used to be an official or a person appointed by the Government. Now most of the members are elected by the citizens themselves. The members in their turn elected their chairman. For the purpose of election of the members a city is divided into a number of wards. The people of every ward elect one member for the committee by means of ballot system. All the members collectively form the Municipal Committee.
The functions of the members of the Committee are many. They look after the roads, education, lightening, cleanliness and other affairs. They take great care of the health of the people. They do a lot of work for the welfare of the citizens.
All the people of Municipal area except the very poor people, have to pay taxes to the Committee. The committee also raise money by levying on all the things that are brought into city for business purposes.
The problems which Municipalities face are many. They have to spend on sanitation, good roads, hospitals, primary schools, water supply and many other need of civic life. But the funds at their disposal are quite insufficient. The people are already heavily taxed. Further taxation by Municipalities will be unjust.
Secondly, there are quarrels and factions in almost every Municipality. Hence smooth working is not possible. Personal differences of the municipal commissioners check the progress of the committee. Honest public men who joint the municipalities to serve the public, often resign their seats in disgust.
Our municipalities will not be able to get funds to meet those demands which are rightly made on them till their economic resources are small. The municipalities of big cities like Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai and Delhi are called Corporations because they govern very big areas and their incomes also are very large.