The Constitution of India makes it mandatory for the States to set up Metropolitan Planning Committees (MPCs) in the metropolitan areas of the country.
A metropolitan area is defined as an area having a population of 1 million.
Article 243ZE of the 74th Amendment to the Constitution says “There shall be constituted in every Metropolitan area, a Metropolitan Planning Committee to prepare a draft development plan for the Metropolitan Region as a whole.”
Functions and Powers of the MPC
The Constitution is clear about the functions to be assigned to the MPC. It states that the MPC shall be constituted “to prepare a draft development plan for the Metropolitan Area as a whole”.
This then is the main function \ for the MPC. The Constitution leaves it to the legislature of a State to “make provision with respect to the functions relating to planning and co-ordination for the Metropolitan area which may be assigned to such committees.”
At the same time, the Constitution states that “every Metropolitan Planning Committee shall, in preparing the draft development plan, have regard to:
- The plans prepared by the Municipalities and the Panchayats in the Metropolitan area
- Matters of common interest between the Municipalities and the Panchayats, including coordinated spatial planning of the area, sharing of water and other physical and natural resources, the integrated development of infrastructure and environmental conservation
- The overall objectives and priorities set by the Government of India and the Government of the State
- The extent and nature of investments likely to be made in the Metropolitan area by agencies of the Government of India and of the Government of the State and other available resources whether financial or otherwise.
- Consult such institutions and organizations as the Governor may, by order, specify.
The Chairperson of every Metropolitan Planning Committee shall forward the development plan, as recommended by such Committee, to the Government of the State.
An MPC would not be able to alter the plans that have been set up by the urban local bodies, as that is the whole point of decentralized planning.
Whatever is actually reflected in the Local Body plans cannot be changed by the MPC. But they have in their power to do some amount of integration of plans. She says, The MPC can at best act as an arbitration forum when there is conflict between, say, the urban and rural local bodies. There may be conflicts between sharing of resources or issues such as management of pollution, the consequences of economic growth and so on. The MPC will be an ideal place to provide a forum for recourse to such conflicts.
The 74th Amendment, Article 243 ZE leaves it to the State to make provision, by law, with respect to the following:
- Composition of the MPC.
- The manner in which the seats in such Committees shall be filled.
Here however, there is a caveat put forth by the Constitution that “provided not less than two-thirds of the members of the Committee shall be elected by, and from amongst, the elected members of the Municipalities and Chairpersons of the Panchayats in the Metropolitan area in proportion to the ratio between the population of the Municipalities and of the Panchayats in that area.” This ensures the representative nature of the MPC.