Cities, acting as engines of economic growth and generators of public finance for development, will usher in an urban revolution in the developing world. Such an urban revolution is sure to bring in opportunities to millions through the increasing level of urbanisation. This rising trend of urbanisation coupled with the increasing functional responsibilities of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) has been creating serious problems for the provision and financing of urban infrastructure. The resource crunch at each level of government in general, and the local level in particular, has instigated the need for analysing the causes behind such adverse state of municipal finance. Against this background, this paper attempts to evaluate the state of municipal finance in West Bengal by performing a comparative analysis of relevant indices. Acknowledging the potential of municipal finances in improving the delivery of basic services, the present study uses secondary data to demonstrate that the higher availability of essential urban services is associated with higher levels of revenue generation. This study presents a spatial and town class-based pattern analysis of the finances of ULBs of West Bengal in terms of their financial base, its adequacy, and their revenue and expenditure performance. The main thrust of this study is to examine the patterns of finances in ULBs in West Bengal and to present a comparative picture thereof along with per capita analysis of revenue and expenditure components based on size categories of the ULBs.
Urban Local Bodies (ULB), District-Level Analysis, Municipal Finance, Urban Infrastructure, West Bengal
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