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Municipalities Act to be amended to make councilors more accountable

Panjim: The State government is set to redraft the Goa Municipalities Act 1968, as it completes 50 years. The amendment bill, which will be introduced during the monsoon session of the State Assembly, will enable action against councilors who fail to submit their annual assets and liabilities statement, before the Goa Lokayukta.

Of the total 12 municipal councils, only Mapusa municipal council has submitted suggestions to the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA), on amendments to the Act.

Speaking to media persons, Urban Development Minister Francis D’Souza said that the existing Act, which was drafted on the basis of Maharashtra Municipalities Act, will be drastically amended and in tune with requirements of the State civic bodies.

“The Act will make councilors more accountable. They will be liable for disqualification if they fail to make the financial statement submission before the Goa Lokayukta, which will be now mandatory,” Minister said.

“Though under the Lokayukta Act it is mandatory, there is no stringent action against those who fail to submit the details. It is also not part of the Municipalities Act and hence councilors do not take it seriously. We have to now incorporate it in the Act,” he added.

“We will just be introducing the Bill in the House. I will refer it to the House Committee to undertake necessary changes by taking all stakeholders into confidence. Will pass the Bill only in the winter session,” he said.

The Minister also contemplated the possibility of bringing the municipal chief officers under a common cadre along with other staff. “There is a strong demand for common cadre and we are working on it,” he said.

He said that currently only engineers and accountants are under a common cadre and there are plans to get the chief officers too. [H]

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