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Essay on Panchayati Raj System
- Essay on the Introduction to Panchayati Raj System
- Essay on the Features of 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 Regarding Panchayati Raj System
- Essay on the Organizational Structure of Panchayati Raj System
- Essay on the Standing Committees of Panchayati Raj System
- Essay on the Power and Functions of Panchayati Raj System
- Essay on the Sources of Income for Panchayat
- Essay on the Gram Sabha
Essay # 1. Introduction to Panchayati Raj System:
Rural development had engaged the attention of the Indian leadership even before Independence. The goals of development in general and rural development in particular have been placed in the Constitution and the Five Year Plans. The Constitution has laid down the goal in terms of building a socialist, secular and democratic society.
In order to realize these goals it become necessary to devise institutional mechanisms, mobilize resources (both human and material), and transform existing institutional structures and value patterns with a view to build a new social and economic order based on the values of equality, freedom and justice.
Changing the existing institutional structures and social relationships is not an easy task. Thus, it became necessary to simultaneously initiate two processes- one for reorienting and, if necessary, even restructuring existing institutional structure and secondly, of building new institutional structures which could provide a base for the accomplishment of new goals.
The philosophy of development that emerged in India after Independence emphasized the involvement of the people into a structure that would enable them to actively participate in the process of decision-making. In order to bring democracy to the grass roots level and involve people in decision-making, an experiment was made with the devolution of power to the elected representatives and allocation of responsibility and financial resources as it was felt that this would be a major institutional device for the development of rural areas.
In order to evaluate the working of Community Development Programme and to suggest ways and means to overcome the shortfalls of the programme, the Study Team on Community Projects and National Extension Service with Balvantray Mehta as Chairman was appointed by the Committee on Plan Projects of the Planning Commission in 1957. The committee observed that one of the least successful aspects of CD and NES work is its attempt to evoke popular initiative and recommended Democratic Decentralisation.
The word ‘Democracy’ is derived from the Greek word ‘demos’ meaning the people and kratos meaning authority, i.e. in democracy all authority originates from the people. Decentralisation means distribution of functions and powers from a central authority to regional and local authorities. Democratic Decentralization means that the government which has derived its authority from the people redistributes it to some extent to the people for decision and action at the local level. This is popularly known as Panchayat Raj in India.
The policy of democratic decentralization envisages:
1. The establishment of elected and organically linked democratic bodies at the village, block and district level;
2. The entrustment of all planning and developmental activities to these bodies; and
3. Transfer of adequate resources to these bodies to enable them to discharge duties.
Panchayati Raj system came into existence in 1959 with the twin objectives of democratic decentralization and local participation in plan programmes. The states of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh became the pioneers. The other states followed and by the end of a decade Panchayati Raj had been established in different states of the country. It was hailed as a revolutionary and historical step in the context of development.
The Balvantray Mehta report recommended a three-tier system of Panchayati Raj Institutes (PRI) with the village Panchayat at the lowest level, a Zilla Parishad at the apex (district level), and a Panchayat Samiti at the intermediate (block level).
Asoka Mehta Committee (1977) again evaluated the Panchayati Raj Institute (PRI). They abolished three tire system of PRI and introduced two tires by abolishing middle tire i.e. Panchayat Samiti. During the decade of 1990, it was realised that without constitutional power, the self-government can’t be fruitful; therefore the Central Government passed the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1992, which became effective from 20th April 1993 (from the date of publication in the Gazette of India). The Act again introduced three tire system of PRI.
Essay # 2. Features of 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 Regarding Panchayati Raj System:
The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act was passed in 1992 but became effective from 20th April, 1993 after being published in the Gazette of India. This was included as Part IX of the Constitution of India. The rights and duties of the Panchayats have been included in schedule XI of the Constitution.
Three Leveled Systems:
The Legislature of a state may, by law, make provisions for three leveled system of panchayat at village level, intermediate level and district level.
The representatives are elected for 5 years by the electorate of a Panchayat area.
Reservation of Seats:
Some seats in the Panchayat shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Women. The number of reserved seats for Schedules Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be proportionate to the ratio of population of SCs and STs to total population of the Panchayat area. One third of the total seat will be reserved for women. It will include the reserved seats for SCs and STs.
Panchayats have two main responsibilities:
1. To plan for economic development and social justice.
2. To implement these plans.
Powers and Authorities:
According to the Constitution, Panchayats shall be given powers and authority to function as institutions of self-government.
The following powers and responsibilities are to be delegated to Panchayats at the appropriate level:
1. Preparation of Plan for economic development and social justice.
2. Implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice in relation to 29 subjects given in Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution
3. To levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls and fees.
It may also provide the Panchayat for making grants-in-aid to form the Consolidated Fund of the State. These funds can be used for implementing the plans.
Constitution of Finance Commission:
Finance Commission has to be constituted in every state to review the financial position of the Panchayats and to make recommendation to the Governor regarding the allocation of fund to be Panchayats.
This is at the lowest level.
It consists of:
(a) One president – directly elected by people.
(b) One vice president – to be elected from among the members of Gaon Panchayat.
(c) Ten members – directly elected by people.
The Office of the president is of great importance. He is charged with the responsibility of supervision and coordination of the activities of the Panchayat. He is an ex-officio member of the Panchayat Samiti and participates in its decision-making as well as in the election of the Pradhan and of the members of various Standing Committees.
He acts as the executive head of the Panchayat, represents it in the Panchayat Samiti as its spokesman and coordinates its activities and those of other local institutions like cooperatives. The Panchayat secretary and the village Level Worker are the two officers at the Panchayat level to assist the President in administration.
As the funds of the Panchayats are meager, the Panchayat Secretary is usually appointed by the Panchayat, on part-time basis. He mainly assists the Panchayats in recording decisions, keeping minutes, preparing budget estimates and reports, and does other sundry jobs like preparing notices, explaining circulars, or legal provisions, helping in organising Gram Sabha meetings etc.
This is at the middle level.
It consists of:
(a) One president – to be elected by the elected members of the Panchayat Samiti.
(b) One vice president – to be elected by the elected members of the Panchayat Samiti.
(i) One member from each Gaon Panchayat area to be directly elected by people.
(ii) President of the Gaon Panchayats falling within the jurisdiction of the Panchayat Samiti.
(iii) Members of Parliament and Legislative Assembly.
As the Chief Executive Officer of the Panchayat Samiti, the Block Development Officer is responsible for implementing the resolutions of the Samiti and its Standing Committees. He prepares the budget of the Samiti and places it before the Samiti for approval. He prepares the annual report of the Samiti and sends it to the Zilla Parishad and the State Government. He receives policy guidance from the Panchayat Samiti and is responsible to the President of the Samiti for his actions.
It is at the top level.
It consists of:
(a) One president – elected from among the directly elected members of Zilla Parishad.
(b) One vice president – elected from among the directly elected members of Zilla Parishad.
(i) Members directly elected from the Zilla Parishad constituencies of the district,
(ii) Presidents of the Panchayat Samiti.
(iii) Members of House of People and Member of Legislative Assembly.
Essay # 4. Standing Committees of Panchayati Raj System:
There are three standing committees of Gaon Panchayat, they are:
(a) Development committee.
(b) Social justice committee and
(c) Social welfare committee.
Members – Each committee shall consist of not less than three or more than four members elected from among the elected members of the Gaon Panchayats.
Functions – The standing committee shall perform the functions relating to the development of the rural areas and its people to the extent powers are delegated from the Gaon Panchayat.
There are four standing committees of Zilla Parishad. These are general standing committee, finance and audit committee, social justice committee and planning and development committee.
Members – Each standing committee shall consist of such number of members not exceeding five including the Chairman as specified by the Zilla Parishad from amongst its members whose terms will be one year at a time.
Functions – Standing committees shall perform functions to the extent; powers are delegated to them by the Zilla Parishad.
There are three standing committees of Panchayat Samiti. These are general standing committee; finance, audit and planning committee and social justice committee.
Members – Each standing committee shall consists of such number of members not exceeding six including the Chairman, as may be specified by the Panchayat Samiti and chosen by the Panchayat Samiti from amongst its members.
Functions – The standing committee shall perform the functions relating to the development of the rural areas and its people to the extent powers are delegated from the Anchalik Panchayat.
Essay # 5. Power and Functions of Panchayati Raj System:
Gaon Panchayats have two-fold functions-civic and developmental. Civic functions include sanitation, water supply, construction and maintenance of roads, lighting, maintenance of burial grounds, primary education etc. In addition, the Panchayat also acts as the agent of the Panchayat Samiti in executing schemes of development at the village level. Powers are vested to Gram Panchayat to perform various functions.
Some important functions are as follows:
i. Prepare annual plan and annual budget for Gram Panchayat area, organising relief operation during natural calamities, removing encroachment from public places, organizing voluntary services and collecting donations for public works and maintaining vital statistics of the villages.
ii. Identification and implementation of programmes of below Rs.50,000/- in collaboration with agriculture cooperation, irrigation and allied departments. Development of waste land, grazing land etc.
iii. Improvement of local breed of live stocks, development of fodder land etc.
iv. Development of village’s fisheries.
v. Planting of roadside trees, social forestry etc.
vi. Organising awareness camp, exhibition, training programmes etc. on agriculture, Khadi and village industries etc. and works for their development.
vii. Construction of rural housing and allotment of land for constructing residential house
viii. Protecting drinking water scheme/plant.
ix. Construction of rural road, drain etc.
x. Rural electrification including selection of site for electrification, providing and maintenance of lighting system at public places.
xi. Increasing source for non-conventional energy including improved chullah maintenance of implements of non-conventional energy source installed at rural areas.
xii. Increasing awareness and participation of rural peoples for income generating and poverty eradication programmes, selection of beneficiaries for such programme.
xiii. Increasing awareness and participation of rural people for primary and middle school education. Confirming the attendance of teachers and students for such school.
xiv. Implementing adult education programme and non-formal education
xv. Establishing rural library
xvi. Propagating social and cultural activities.
xvii. Controlling cattle-buffalo market
xviii. Maintaining village sanitation.
xix. Implementing family welfare programme, preventive and controlling measures against epidemics.
xx. Involvement in women and child development programmes.
xxi. Participating in welfare programme for physically and mentally handicap persons.
xxii. Any other functions as instructed by Panchayat and Rural Development Department
The Panchayat Samitis are entrusted with developmental functions. They have executive responsibilities in the matter of primary education, health, sanitation and communication. They also supervise the work of Village Panchayat. The Panchayat Samiti is the most powerful body entrusted with developmental functions like planning for increased agricultural production, animal husbandry, and village industries; improvement and construction of irrigation wells, promotion of cooperatives, provision of hostels for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/Backward Classes, planting of trees, input supplies and their distribution, women and child welfare, family planning etc.
Powers are given to panchayat samiti to carry out the different functions out of which some are listed below:
i. Preparing annual plan for its activities and submitted to Zilla Parishad for incorporating in its district plan. Compilation of annual plans of Gram Panchayats under its jurisdiction and sending to Zilla Parishad, preparation of annual budget of Panchayat Samiti and sending to Zilla Parishad for its approval.
ii. Helping in relief operations during natural calamities.
iii. Identification and implementation of different agricultural schemes (between Rs.50,000/ to Rs.1,00,000/-) in collaboration with agriculture, co-operation, irrigation and allied departments, storage and distribution of pesticides, farmer’s training etc.
iv. Helping governments and Zilla Parishad for their land development and land conservation programmes.
v. Assisting Governments and Zilla Parishad to construct and protecting minor irrigation projects, to implement watershed development programmes etc.
vi. Planning for implementing poverty eradication programmes.
vii. Protecting veterinary services, preventing epidemics against livestock’s.
viii. Expanding fisheries.
ix. Development of village and cottage industries
x. Implementation of house building programmes and distribution of land for residential house.
xi. Construction and maintenance of rural water supply schemes.
xii. Tree plantation at road side and other social forestry.
xiii. Expansion of non-conventional energy source
xiv. Development of primary and middle school building etc.
xv. Organizing training for village craftsman etc.
xvi. Development of social and cultural programmes etc.
xvii. Encouraging voluntary organization to involve in women and child development programmes.
xviii. Implementing programmes for physically and mentally retarded peoples.
xix. Expanding the programmes for welfare of SC, ST, OBC and other weaker section.
xx. Expanding rural electrification.
It should be the function of a Zilla Parishad to prepare plans for economic development and social justice of the district and ensure the co-ordinated implementation of such plan. The Zilla Parishad exercise general supervision over the working of the Panchayat Samities and advises the government on the implementation of the developmental schemes. They have some specific executive function in the establishment, maintenance and expansion of secondary, vocational and industrial school. Zilla Parishad is mainly entrusted with coordinating and planning functions along with a few executive functions.
Some of the important functions of Zilla Parishad are examination and approval of the budgets of Panchayat Samities, distribution of funds between the various Block, coordination and consolidation of Block plans of the activities of Panchayat Samities.
Some important functions of zilla parishad are:
i. Implementing agriculture related programmes for its development.
ii. Implementing various schemes for development of irrigation, ground water and watershed.
iii. Development of horticulture
iv. Maintaining of statistic of panchayats, their activities etc.
v. Implementing and maintenance of rural electrification schemes
vi. Programme for soil conservation
vii. Development of regulated market
viii. Gradation of agricultural products and quality maintenance.
ix. Social forestry
x. Animal husbandry and dairy farm development
xi. Development of minor forest products, energy and fodder
xii. Development of fisheries
xiii. Development of small, cottage and food processing industries
xiv. Development and maintenance of rural road
xv. Development and maintenance of hospital etc.
xvi. Construction of rural house
xvii. Promotion of primary and middle school education
xviii. Welfare of weaver section
xix. Implementing poverty eradication programme
xx. Promotion of small savings
Essay # 6. Sources of Income for Panchayat:
The main sources of income of panchayat are:
1. Share in land revenue.
2. Revenue earned from the settlement of trade and commerce.
3. House taxes & other taxes.
4. Fees for providing amenities, cess and tolls.
5. Contribution and grants.
6. Fine and penalties etc.
Rural people have got a noble duty to ensure that the Panchayati Raj bodies can mobilize resources from the above sources so that these bodies can work for the socio economic development of the areas.
Essay # 7. Gram Sabha:
“Gram Sabha” means a body consisting of persons registered in the electoral rolls relating to a village comprised within the area of “Gram Panchayat”.
The Gram Sabha has been designed to be the place where villagers will discuss development issues, plan accordingly, initiate development programmes and select beneficiaries for the schemes. All the illegible voters of the village are the members of the Gram Sabha. Generally meeting of Gram Sabha is held at an interval of three months.
Functions of Gram Sabha – Gram Sabha shall consider the following matters and may make recommendations and suggestions to the Gaon Panchayats;
1. To report in respect of development programme of the Gaon Panchayat relating to the preceding year and development programme proposed to be undertaken during the current year.
2. The promotion of unity and harmony among all sections of society in the villages;
3. Such other matters as may be prescribed.