Saturday, April 12, 2014

Panchyati Raj

1.       In the history of Panchayati Raj in India, on 24 April 1993, the Constitutional (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 came into force to provide constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj institutions.
2.       Panchayati raj system exists in all the states except Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram. Also all the UTs except Delhi.
3.       The 3-tier system of Panchayati Raj consists of a) village level panchayat b) block level panchayat c) district level panchayat.
4.       Powers and responsibilities are delegated to Panchayats at the appropriate level :-
a) Preparation of plan for economic development and social justice.
b)Implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice in relation to 29 subjects given in Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution.
c)To levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls and fees.
5.       Panchayatsamiti is a local government body at the tehsil or Taluka level in India. It works for the villages of the Tehsil or Taluka that together are called a Development Block. The PanchayatSamiti is the link between the Gram Panchayat and the district administration.
a)Function of Panchayatsamiti:-Implement schemes for the development of agriculture.
b) Establishment of primary health centres and primary schools.
c) Supply of drinking water, drainage, construction/repair of roads.
d) Development of cottage and small-scale industries and opening of cooperative societies.
e) Establishment of youth organisations
6.       In the district level of the panchayati raj system you have the "zillaparishad". It looks after the administration of the rural area of the district and its office is located at the district headquarters. The Hindi word Parishad means Council and ZillaParishad translates to District Council. It is headed by the "District Collector" or the "District Magistrate" or the "Deputy Comminissioner". it is the link between the state government and the panchayatsamiti (local held government at the block level)
7.        The Royal Commission on Decentralisation - 1907 under the chairmanship of C.E.H. HOBHOUSE recognised the importance of panchayats at the village level.
8.       Mahatma Gandhiji favoured Village Swaraj and strengthening the village panchayat to the fullest extent and on the other end, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar opposed this idea.
9.       The Balwantrai Mehta Committee (1957):- In 1957,BalwanRai Mehta Committee studied the Community Development Projects and the National Extension Service and assessed the extent to which the movement had succeeded in utilising local initiatives and in creating institutions to ensure continuity in the process of improving economic and social conditions in rural areas. The Committee held that community development would only be deep and enduring when the community was involved in the planning, decision-making and implementation process.The suggestions were for as follows  :- a) an early establishment of elected local bodies and devolution to them of necessary resources, power and authority, that the basic unit of democratic decentralisation was at the block/ samiti level since the area of jurisdiction of the local body should neither be too large nor too small. The block was large enough for efficiency and economy of b) administration, and small enough for sustaining a sense of involvement in the citizens,
c) such body must not be constrained by too much control by the government or government agencies,                                                                                                     d) the body must be constituted for five years by indirect elections from the village panchayats,                                                                                                                     e) its functions should cover the development of agriculture in all its aspects, the promotion of local industries and others                                             f) services such as drinking water, road building, etc., and the higher level body, ZillaParishad, would play an advisory role.
10.   With the coming of theJanta Party into power at the Centre in 1977, a serious view was taken of the weaknesses in the functioning of Panchayati Raj. It was decided to appoint a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Ashok Mehta to exa¬mine and suggest measures to strengthen PRIs. The Committee had to evolve an effective decentralised system of development for PRIs. They made the following recommendations  :-A)  the district is a viable administrative unit for which planning, co-ordination and resource allocation are feasible and technical expertise available, B) PRIs as a two-tier system, with MandalPanchayat at the base and ZillaParishad at the top,C)  the PRIs are capable of planning for themselves with the resources available to them,D) district planning should take care of the urban-rural continuum,E) representation of SCs and STs in the election to PRIs on the basis of their population, F) four-year term of PRIs,G) participation of political parties in elections,H) any financial devolution should be committed to accepting that much of the developmental functions at the district level would be played by the panchayats.
11.   The G.V.K.RaoCommittee was appointed to once again look at various aspects of PRIs. The Committee was of the opinion that a total view of rural development must be taken in which PRIs must play a central role in handling people's problems. It recommended the following  :-I) PRIs have to be activated and provided with all the required support to become effective organisations, II)PRIs at the district level and below should be assigned the work of planning, implementation and monitoring of rural development programmes, and III) the block development office should be the spinal cord of the rural development process.
12.   L.M. Singhvi Committee studied panchayatiraj. The Gram Sabha was considered as the base of a decentralised democracy, and PRIs viewed as institutions of self-governance which would actually facilitate the participation of the people in the process of planning and development. It recommended : A) local self-government should be constitutionally recognised, protected and preserved by the inclusion of new chapter in the Constitution, B)non-involvement of political parties in Panchayat elections.
13.   The suggestion of giving Panchayaticonstitutional status was opposed by the Sarkaria Commission, but the idea, however, gained momentum in the late 1980s especially because of the endorsement by the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who introduced the 64th Constitutional Amendment Bill in 1989. The 64th Amendment Bill was prepared and introduced in the lower house of Parliament. But it got defeated in the RajyaSabha as non-convincing. He lost the general elections too. In 1989, the National Front introduced the 74th Constitutional Amendment Bill, which could not become an Act because of the dissolution of the Ninth LokSabha. All these various suggestions and recommendations and means of strengthening PRIs were considered while formulating the new Constitutional Amendment Act.
14.   The Constitutional (73rd Amendment) Act, passed in 1992 &came into force on April 24, 1993. It was meant to provide constitutional sanction to establish "democracy at the grassroots level as it is at the state level or national level". Its main features are as follows :
• The Gram Sabha or village assembly as a deliberative body to decentralised governance has been envisaged as the foundation of the Panchayati Raj System.
• A uniform three-tier structure of panchayats at village (Gram Panchayat — GP), intermediate or block (PanchayatSamiti — PS) and district (ZillaParishad — ZP) levels.
• All the seats in a panchayat at every level are to be filled by elections from respective territorial constituencies.
• Not less than one-third of the total seats for membership as well as office of chairpersons of each tier have to be reserved for women.
• Reservation for weaker castes and tribes (SCs and STs) have to be provided at all levels in proportion to their population in the panchayats.
• To supervise, direct and control the regular and smooth elections to panchayats, a State Election Commission has to be constituted in every State and UT.
• The Act has ensured constitution of a State Finance Commission in every State/UT, for every five years, to suggest measures to strengthen finances of PRIs.
• To promote bottom-up-planning, the District Planning Committee fDPC} in every district has been accorded constitutional status.
• An indicative list of 29 items has been given in Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution. Panchayats are expected to play an effective role in planning and implementation of works related to these 29 items.
15.   Ministry of Panchayati Raj looks into all matters relating ofPanchayati Raj and Panchayati Raj Institutions. It was created in May 2004.
16.   The launching of Community Development Programmed on 2nd October 1953 the National Extension Service was launched.
17.   On 2nd October 1959, Rajasthan came to be the first State to establish Panchayati Raj.Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, the 1st Prime Minister of India had inaugurated Panchayati Raj in India at Nagaur in Rajasthan on 2nd October, 1959.
18.   Madhya Pradesh was the first state in the country to comply with the spirit and letter of the act-1992
19.   Amendment to article 243D of the Constitution of India for enhancing reservation for women in Panchayats to 50 %.
20.   Art.40 – the state shall take steps to organise village panchayats&endow them with such powers & authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self government.
21.   Part IX of the constitution envisages three tier system of panchyats. Art. 243 to 243-O contain provision of panchyat.
22.   A person who has attained the age of 21 years is eligible to be a member of panchyat.
23.    S K Dey : The first Minister for panchayati raj in India. 
24.    The K. Santhanam Committee was appointed to look solely at the issue of PRI                         finance, in 1963.