Applying Service Quality Metrics for E–Urban Governance: A Case Study of Lucknow Municipal Corporation

Applying Service Quality Metrics for E–Urban Governance: A Case Study of Lucknow Municipal Corporation

Anurag Kumar Srivastava (Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5146-3.ch011
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The local government constitutes the core area of governance with which most of the citizens remain connected. In India the institution of local governance has a long history of existence, but it is interesting to see how these institutions can continue to deliver qualitative services when the problems have added up multifold. The ephemeral tendencies and myopic vision of authorities and elected representatives coupled with public apathy and disillusionment has further deteriorated the interactional processes among the stakeholders and has affected the service delivery outcomes. This chapter explores this crucial underpinning and throws a light on the intricacies of municipal governance by analyzing the role of e-Governance in the municipal service delivery. The empirical data collected is analyzed to see the dependency between the variables. Even though the results are obtained from the moderate sample limited to Lucknow, results predict certain trends having larger applicability, especially in the developing countries. The chapter analyses the application of service quality parameters with the help of e- governance in urban institutions.
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The earliest evidence of local management of civic administration in India can be traced to Indus Valley civilization around 2300 B.C, which was essentially an urban civilization. The Indus Valley civilization still remains one of the best examples in Indian context of municipal government which had well planned streets with scientific system of drains. The nature of society and governance at local level underwent a significant transformation over the changing course of Indian history.The first municipal organization in India came into being during the British period in 1687 in Madras. This was the first organized municipal set up in India. Calcutta and Bombay followed the same later on. The pioneering efforts in regard to creation of municipal bodies and institutions of local self governments were made by Britishers. Lord Rippon was rightly termed as father of Local self Government in India. His endeavors resulted in creation of municipal bodies in India. The Royal Commission on Decentralization (1907-09) further strengthened the cause of local government in India.

After independence the things started to change but not in favor of municipal bodies. Municipal administration being part of local self government belong to the States. The States in various parts y were not very enthusiastic about the continuance of the municipal bodies. As the existence of these bodies gave state government some political and financial discomfort hence the state governments showed their utter neglect for such institutions by and large. There was no fixity of tenures of the urban local bodies. These bodies largely depended on the will of concerned State governments for their existence. The funds, the infrastructure and the resources were quite meager in proportion to their demands. No certainty of continuous funds and financial means somehow paralyzed the effective functioning of these bodies. There were other problems as well such as lack of uniformity in the structure of municipal institutions all across the country. As a result of urbanization some challenges are now been faced by local bodies (Mathur, 1999). And therefore the functions and powers assigned to them were somehow beyond their existing capacities. Local government being such a vital and important issue remained largely neglected. However the 74th Amendment provided for three categories of urban local bodies:

  • 1.

    Nagar Panchayats(City council) for areas in transition from a rural area to urban area;

  • 2.

    Nagarpalika (Municipal Councils for smaller urban areas)

  • 3.

    Nagarnigam (Municipal Corporations for larger urban areas); “District” means a district in a State; “Metropolitan area” means an area having a population of ten lakhs(one million) or more, comprised in one or more districts and consisting of two or more Municipalities or Panchayats or other contiguous areas, specified by the Governor by public notification to be a Metropolitan area for the purposes of this Part; “Municipal area” means the territorial area of a Municipality as is notified by the Governor; “Municipality” means an institution of self-government.

Article 243Q of the 74th Amendment requires that municipal areas shall be declared having regard to the population of the area, the density of population therein, the revenue generated for local administration, the percentage of employment in non-agricultural activities, the economic importance or such other factors as may be specified by the state government through public notification for this purpose. Among all urban local governments, municipal corporations enjoy a greater degree of fiscal autonomy and functions although the specific fiscal and functional powers vary across the States; these local governments have larger populations, a more diversified economic base, and deal with the state governments directly. On the other hand, municipalities have less autonomy, smaller jurisdictions and have to deal with the state governments through the Directorate of Municipalities or through the collector of a district. These local bodies are subject to detailed supervisory control and guidance by the state governments.

Municipality is an organ of state within the local sphere of government exercising legislative and executive authority within an area determined in terms of the local government.

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