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Muhamma Panchayat Office, Kerala, India
In India, the
Panchayati Raj generally refers to the system introduced
by the constitutional amendment in 1992, although it is based upon the
traditional panchayat system of South Asia. The modern Panchayati Raj
Gram Panchayats are not to be confused with the
Khap Panchayats (or Caste Panchayats) found in
northern India. The
Panchayati Raj system was formalized in 1992,
following a study conducted by a number of Indian committees on
various ways of implementing more decentralized administration.
Open Panchayat near Narsingarh, Madhya Pradesh, India
Mahatma Gandhi advocated
Panchayati Raj as the foundation of India's
political system, as a decentralized form of government in which each
village would be responsible for its own affairs. The term for
such a vision was Gram
Swaraj ("village self-governance"). Instead,
India developed a highly centralized form of government. However,
this has been moderated by the delegation of several administrative
functions to the local level, empowering elected gram panchayats.
There are significant differences between the traditional Panchayati
Raj system, that was envisioned by Gandhi, and the system formalized
India in 1992.
In India, the
Panchayati Raj now functions as a system of governance
in which gram panchayats are the basic units of local administration.
The system has three levels:
Gram Panchayat (village level), Mandal
Parishad or Block Samiti or
Panchayat Samiti (block level), and Zila
Parishad (district level). It was formalized in 1992 by the 73rd
amendment to the Indian Constitution.
Various committees on Panchayati Raj:
Balwant Rai Mehta: established 1957
V.T. Krishnammachari: 1960
Takhatmal Jain Study Group: 1966
Ashok Mehta Committee: 1978
G.V.K. Rao Committee: 1985
Dr. L.M. Singhvi Committee: 1986
P. K. Thoongan committee: 1988
1 Recommendations of Balwant Rai Mehta Committee
2 Block level panchayat
3 District level panchayat
3.3 Sources of income
4 Village level panchayat
5 Reservation for women in PRIs in India
6 See also
7 Notes and references
7.1 Further reading
7.2 External links
Recommendations of Balwant Rai Mehta Committee
The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee, headed by MP Balwantrai Mehta, was a
committee appointed by the Government of
India in January 1957 to
examine the work of the Community Development Programme (1952) and the
National Extension Service (1953), to suggest measures to improve
their work. The committee's recommendation of the committee by NDC in
January 1958, and this set the stage for the launching of Panchayati
Raj Institutions throughout the country. The committee recommended the
establishment of the scheme of ‘democratic decentralization’,
which finally came to be known as Panchayati Raj.
This led to the establishment of a three-tier
Panchayati Raj system:
Gram Panchayat at the village level,
Panchayat Samiti at the block
level, and Zila Parishad at the district level.
The Panchayat Raj system was first adopted by the state of Rajasthan
Nagaur district on 2nd Oct 1959. The second state was Andhra
Maharashtra was the Ninth state. State governments
during the 1950s and 60s adopted this system as laws were passed to
establish panchayats in various states. It also founded backing in the
Indian Constitution, with the 73rd amendment in 1992 to accommodate
the idea. The Amendment Act of 1992 contains provision for devolution
of powers and responsibilities to the panchayats, both for the
preparation of economic development plans and social justice, as well
as for implementation in relation to 29 subjects listed in the
eleventh schedule of the constitution, and the ability to levy and
collect appropriate taxes, duties, tolls and fees.
The Act aims to provide a three-tier systems of
Panchayati Raj for all
states having a population of over 2 million, to hold Panchayat
elections regularly every five years, to provide seats reserved for
scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women; to appoint a State
Finance Commission to make recommendations regarding the financial
powers of the Panchayats and to constitute a District Planning
Committee, to prepare a development plan draft for the district.
The Panchayats receive funds from three sources:
Local body grants, as recommended by the Central Finance Commission
Funds for implementation of centrally sponsored schemes
Funds released by the state governments on the recommendations of the
State Finance Commissions
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. This act was
extended to Panchayats in the tribal areas of eight states, namely:
Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya
Pradesh, Odisha, and
Rajasthan beginning on 24 December 1996.
Panchayati Raj system exists in all states except
Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, and in all Union Territories except
Block level panchayat
Panchayat Samiti (Block)
Newly elected panchayat in Punjab, India
Panchayat Samiti (block panchayat) is a local government body at the
tehsil level. This body works for the villages of the tehsil that
together are called a "development block". The
Panchayat Samiti is the
link between the
Gram Panchayat and the district administration. Just
as the tehsil goes by other names in various parts of India, notably
mandal and taluka, there are a number of variations in nomenclature
for the block panchayat. For example, it is known as Mandal Praja
Parishad in Andhra Pradesh, Taluka Panchayat in
Gujarat and Karnataka,
Panchayat Samiti in Maharashtra. In general, the block panchayat
has the same form as the gram panchayat but at a higher level.
Membership in the block panchayat is mostly ex-official; it is
composed of: all of the Sarpanchas (gram panchayat chairmen) in the
Panchayat Samiti area, the MPs and MLAs of the area, the sub-district
officer (SDO) of the subdivision, co-opt members (representatives of
the SC/ST and women), associate members (a farmer from the area, a
representative of the cooperative societies and one from marketing
services), and some elected members.
Panchayat Samiti is elected for a term of five years and is headed
by a chairman and a deputy chairman.
The common departments in the Samiti are as follows:
Water Supply Department
Animal Husbandry and others
There is an officer for every department. A government-appointed Block
Development Officer (BDO) is the executive officer to the Samiti and
the chief of its administration, and is responsible for his work to
the CEO of ZP.
Implementation of schemes for the development of agriculture and
Establishment of primary health centres and primary schools
Supply of drinking water, drainage and construction/repair of roads
Development of a cottage and small-scale industries, and the opening
of cooperative societies
Establishment of youth organisations
District level panchayat
Main article: District Councils of India
The governing of the advance system at the district level in Panchayat
Raj is also popularly known as Zila Parishad. The chief of
administration is an officer of the IAS cadre. and chief officer of
the Panchayat raj for the district level
The membership varies from 40 to 60 and usually comprises- Deputy
Commissioner of the District. Presidents of all Panchayat Samitis in
the district, and heads of all Government Departments in the
district;members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies
in the district; a representative of each cooperative
society ;some women and Scheduled Caste members if not adequately
represented; and co-opted members having extraordinary experience and
achievements in public service.
Provide essential services and facilities to the rural population
Supply improved seeds to farmers and inform them of new farming
Set up and run schools and libraries in rural areas
Start primary health centers and hospitals in villages; start
vaccination drives against epidemics
Execute plans for the development of the scheduled castes and tribes;
run ashram shalas for Adivasi children; set up free hostels for them.
Encourage entrepreneurs to start small-scale industries and implement
rural employment schemes.
Construct bridges, roads and other public facilities and their
Sources of income
Taxes collected locally such as on water, place of pilgrimage, local
mandirs (temples), and markets
A fixed grant from the State Government in proportion to the land
revenue and money for works and schemes assigned to the Parishes
Village level panchayat
Main article: Gram panchayat
A gram panchayat is a village level administrative body, with a
Sarpanch as its elected head. The members of the gram panchayat are
elected for a period of five years by the members of Gram Sabha.
Reservation for women in PRIs in India
On August 27, 2009, the Union Cabinet of the Government of India
approved 50% reservation for women in PRIs (Panchayati Raj
Institutions). The Indian states Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh,
Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh
Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan,Sikkim, Tamil Nadu,
Tripura , West
Bengal and Uttarakhand have implemented 50% reservation for women
in PRIs. The majority of candidates in these Panchayats are
women. Currently 100% of elected members in
Kodassery Panchayat in
Kerala are women.
Panchayati Raj Day
Local self-government in India
Notes and references
^ Mullick, Rohit & Raaj, Neelam (9 September 2007). "Panchayats
turn into kangaroo courts". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 June
^ Sisodia, R. S. (1971). "Gandhiji's Vision of Panchayati Raj".
Panchayat Aur Insan. 3 (2): 9–10.
^ Sharma, Manohar Lal (1987). Gandhi and Democratic Decentralization
in India. New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications.
OCLC 17678104. Hathi Trust copy, search only
^ Hardgrave, Robert L. & Kochanek, Stanley A. (2008). India:
Government and Politics in a Developing Nation (seventh ed.). Boston,
Massachusetts: Thomson/Wadsworth. p. 157.
^ Singh, Vijandra (2003). "Chapter 5: Panchayate Raj and Gandhi".
Panchayati Raj and Village Development: Volume 3, Perspectives on
Panchayati Raj Administration. Studies in public administration. New
Delhi: Sarup & Sons. pp. 84–90.
^ Nath, Akshaya (24 April 2015). "National Panchayat Raj Day: Here are
few things that you need to know about Panchayat Raj". SaddaHaq.
^ "The Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992". Government
of India. Archived from the original on 5 May 2003.
^ a b
India 2007, p. 696, Publications Division, Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting, Government of India
^ Sapra, Ipsita (February 2013). "Living in the villages". Rural
Democracy. D+C Development and Cooperation. Retrieved 24 April
^ 50% reservation for women in panchayats - Oneindia News.
News.oneindia.in (2009-08-27). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
^ 50% reservation for women in AP,
Bihar Panchayats. Sify.com
(2011-11-25). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
Nepal glossary, United States Library of Congress
Article 333357, zeenews.com
Article India994-07, hrw.org
Panchayati raj Recruitment, Exambuzzer.com
Mitra, Subrata K.; Singh, V.B. (1999). Democracy and Social Change in
India: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the National Electorate. New
Delhi: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-81-7036-809-0 (
ISBN 978-0-7619-9344-5 (U.S. HB).
Mitra, Subrata K.. (2001). "Making Local Government Work: Local
Panchayati raj and governance in India", in Kohli, Atul (ed.).
The Success of India's Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. ISBN 978-0-521-80144-7
Mitra, Subrata K.. (2003). "Chapter 17: Politics in India", in Almond,
Gabriel A. et al. (eds.), Comparative Politics Today. 8th edition. New
York: Addison-Wesley-Longman, pp. 634–684.
ISBN 978-0-321-15896-3 (also reprinted in the 9th (2007), 10th
(2012) and 11th (2015) editions)
Palanithurai, Ganapathi (ed.) (2002–2010) Dynamics of New Panchayati
System in India. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company. in seven
volumes, volume 1 (2002) "Select States" ISBN 978-81-7022-911-7;
volume 2 (2002) "Select States" ISBN 978-81-7022-912-4; volume 3
(2004) "Select States" ISBN 978-81-8069-129-4; volume 4 (2004)
"Empowering Women" ISBN 978-81-8069-130-0; volume 5 (2005)
Panchayati Raj and Multi-Level Planning" ISBN 978-81-8069-244-4;
volume 6 (2008) "Capacity Building" ISBN 978-81-8069-506-3;
volume 7 (2010) "Financial Status of Panchayats"
Shourie, Arun (1990). Individuals, Institutions, Processes: How one
may strengthen the other in
India today. New Delhi, India: Viking.
Sivaramakrishnan, Kallidaikurichi Chidambarakrishnan (2000) Power to
the People: The politics and progress of decentralisation. Delhi:
Konark Publishers. ISBN 978-81-220-0584-4
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Panchayati Raj.
Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India
"Home page". Department of Rural Development, Ministry of Rural
Development, Government of India.
"Panchayat (article 440944)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from
the original on 29 January 2012. about the caste panchayats
The Hunger Project. "Two Million Women Leaders and Counting: Indian
Women Participate in Their Local Government". International Museum of
Women. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015.
National Agriculture Education Institution Image Panchayat Raj Symbol
Local government in India
Nagar Palika (Municipal Council)
Town Panchayat (Nagar panchayat)
District Panchayat (Zila Parishad )
Block Panchayat / Taluk Panchayat /
Panchayat Samiti / Panchayat Union