What is a standing committee in Delhi civic body, how is it elected?

image from dnaindia.com

As violence broke out between Bhartiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi Party councilors and members in the Delhi Municipal Corporation Civic Center on Friday, leaders said this was only the beginning of a controversial tenure. 

the Municipal corporation provides cradle-to-grave services to residents in the city- right from issuing birth certificates, and death certificates, collecting property tax, and passing building plans, apart from discharging other responsibilities such as ensuring cleanliness, controlling the growth of mosquitoes, and managing stray animals. 

The head of the Municipal Corporation is the mayor but only in name. A mayor is a nominal head of the corporation and has very limited powers, such as calling meetings of the house.

The Standing Committee effectively manages the corporation, with functions such as giving financial approval to projects, and discussing, finalizing; and implementing policies. The standing committee is the main decision-making body of the corporation. It has 18 members.

The committee has a chairperson and a deputy chairperson, who is elected from among the standing committee members. Having a clear majority in the standing committee is crucial for any political party to have control of policy and financial decisions. 

Six members of the committee are elected in the MCD house directly, after the mayoral elections. The formula followed is a preferential system in which the councilor getting the first 36 votes wins. The remaining 12 are chosen by ward committees.

In Delhi, the MCD is divided into 12 zones. Each zone has a ward committee, which includes all councilors from the area and any Aldermen nominated by the government administrator. A total of 10 Aldermen can be nominated but there is no set number to be nominated from a particular ward. All 10 can be nominated from a single ward if the administrator so wants. 

While Aldermen do not have powers to vote in the mayoral polls and in the MCD house, they have a vote in the zone committees, including in selecting the zone representative to the standing committee.