Wednesday, 3 February 2016



Panchayats used to be the seat of justice.Local disputes and other problems were referred to Panchayats and their decisions used to be respected by one and all. Our national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi had a firm faith in this system. The Constitution makers also considered this system to be very important and made provisions for it in the Directive Principles of State Policy. The Constitution states that the State shall take steps to organize Village Panchayats and empower them with such powers and authorities as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of local self government.

As a follow up, the present day Panchayats began functioning under the Community Development Programme introduced during the first Five year Plan. To make the system more effective a Committee was formed under the Chairmanship of Balwant Rai Mehta that went into its details. 

The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee in its report submitted in 1957 recommended the establishment of a three-tier Panchayati Raj System: Gram Panchayats at the village level, the Panchayat Samitis at the block level or intermediate level and the Zila Parishad at the district level. In 1958, the National Development Council also recommended a similar structure of local government where village was at the bottom of the system and district at the top. However, it is the 73rd Constitutional Amendment 1992 that provided the present shape to the Panchayati Raj System. Now the Panchayati Raj Institutions in most of the States have been set up at three levels, village, intermediate and district levels. But in smaller States having a population of less than 20 lakh, there are only two tiers, the village level and the district level

                                            The three tier structure of Panchayati Raj System

 The 73rd Constitutional Amendment 1992
The passage of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 marks a new era in the federal democratic set up of the country and provides constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). The main features of the Act are: 

(i) establishment of a three-tier structure: Village Panchayat (Gram Panchayat); intermediate panchayat (Panchayat Samiti; and the district panchayat (Zila Parishad);

(ii) regular elections, every five years;

(iii) reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population;

(iv) not less than one-third reservation of seats for women at three different levels of PRIs;

(v) establishment of State Finance Commissions to recommend measures to improve the finances of panchayats;

(vi) establishment of State Election Commissions to conduct election to the PRIs;

(vii) establishment of District Planning Committees to prepare development plans for the districts;

(viii) preparation of plans for economic development and social justice and their execution concerning 29 subjects listed in the 11th Schedule of the Constitution;

(ix) establishment of Grama Sabha (village assemblies) and their empowerment as a decision making body at the village level; and

(x) rotation in accordance with the reservation of seats for women and the Scheduled Castes in the PRIs.

By the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, the Panchayati Raj Institutions have been given such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function. It contains provisions for devolution of powers and responsibilities related to 
(a) the preparation of plans for economic development and social justice; and 
(b) the implementation of such schemes for economic development and social justice as may be entrusted to them.

NOTE: Consequent upon the enactment of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, almost all the States/UTs, except J&K, NCT Delhi and Uttaranchal have enacted their legislation. Moreover, almost all the States/UTs have held local body elections. As a result, 2,32,278 Panchayats at village level; 6,022 Panchayats at intermediate level and 535 Panchayats at district level have been constituted in the country. These Panchayats are being manned by about 29.2 lakh elected representatives of Panchayats at all levels. This is the broadest representative base that exists in any country of the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment