Beyond MCD election 2017: How 5 municipal bodies manage Delhi

Delhi is the political hub of the country. Not because, the Delhi votes in the MCD election every five years, but the fact that Delhi is compartmentalised and ruled by at least seven elected governments makes it what it is today.

Besides, a central and a Delhi government, the city has five municipal corporations. By the way, there are two more civic bodies in Delhi than the NDMC, SDMC and EDMC - the survivours of the trifurcation of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

These municipal corporations are:

- the North Delhi Municipal Corporation

- the South Delhi Municipal Corporation

- the East Delhi Municipal Corporation

- the New Delhi Municipal Corporation

- the Delhi Cantonment Board


The three MCDs, which are going to polls tomorrow, cover nearly 96 per cent of the about 1,485 sq km geographical area of Delhi. Over 95 per cent of Delhi's population lives in these regions.

Before 2012, this vast region was under one municipal body called the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. There were complaints about running the administration efficiently, which prompted the then UPA government to trifurcate the MCD into NDMC, SDMC and EDMC. Though, the BJP, which ruled the MCD and was in the Opposition at the Centre, alleged that the Congress divided the MCDs to gain political advantage.

Picture Credit: TK Prajapati

Prior to 2009, MCD worked directly under the Union Ministry for Home Affairs. But, that year the UPA government gave yielded effective control on several subjects including building by-laws and allocation of central funds for various projects.

The MHA, however, still holds control over issues like appointment of commissioners in the municipal corporations.

The Directorate of Local Bodies (DLB), constituted in 2011, functions as the coordinator between the three municipal corporations and the Delhi government. The DLB is headed by a senior secretary of the Delhi government.

The three MCDs cover 68 of 70 Assembly constituencies of Delhi leaving out New Delhi and Delhi Cantonment seats.


The New Delhi Municipal Corporation roughly covers the national capital of India - New Delhi, which houses almost all major government offices, residential complexes and diplomatic missions. The NDMC directly comes under the Centre.

Election is not held for the NDMC. The councillors are nominated in the NDMC by the Centre in consultation with the Delhi government.

To give the NDMC some kind representational characters, the elected MLAs of Delhi Assembly are also nominated on the board of the NDMC.


The civic matters of the Delhi Cantonment area are looked after by the Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB). The Delhi Cantonment Board functions directly under the control of the Ministry of Defence.

The DCB is headed by the station commander of the Indian Army, who is the ex-officio president of the Board. An officer of the Indian Defence Estates Service Cadre functions as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the DCB.

Election is held for the DCB and eight members are chosen on the basis of popular voting. The last election was held in 2015. The BJP won five, the Congress two and AAP won one seat in the DCB.


Like any other municipal body, the five civic bodies of Delhi carry out the administrative functions of the city.

- They manage water supply in the city

- They are responsible for construction and upkeep of drainage system

- They run hospitals an dispensaries for free or nominal charges

- They are responsible for garbage management and keeping the city clean

- They maintain birth and death records

- They manage cremation and burial grounds

- They are responsible for maintenance of certain identified roads and foot-over bridges

- They ensure maintenance of market places

- They have to maintain the street lights

- They run primary schools

- They keep records of the residential buildings

- They collect property and professional taxes

- They collect toll taxes


In the North MCD the BJP has 59 councillors, the Congress 29, the Bahujan Samaj Party 7 while others have 9 seats in the House.

In the South MCD, the BJP leads the tally with 44 members, followed by 29 of Congress, five of the BSP while others have 26 seats in the House.

In the East MCD, the BJP has its own majority with 39 seats, followed by Congress' 19 and BSP's three.

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