GRASSROOTS OF SELF-GOVERNMENT

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Political Terminology, The NamoLeague Times
Tags: , , , ,

India is a collection of small and big villages. In addition, Panchayats have been the backbone of Indian villages since the beginning of recorded history. Gandhiji, the father of the nation, in 1946 had aptly remarked that the Indian Independence must begin at the bottom. He wished that every village should be a Republic or Panchayat having powers. He named this as ‘Gram Swaraj’ (Village Self-rule).
On 15th May 1989, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had introduced a constitutional amendment bill in the Lok Sabha. This was initiated to make Panchayati Raj a truly representative and effective system in India. The bill could not become a law, as it was not passed by the Rajya Sabha. It was reintroduced in the new parliament by the Narasimha Rao Government.
And the wish of Gandhiji came true, when through the 73rd Amendment in 1992; on April 23, 1993 the Institution of Panchayati Raj was accorded the constitutional status.

THE FOUNDATION

Panchayati Raj is a system of governance in which Gram (village) Panchayats are the basic units of administration. It is a decentralized system of self-government, where each village is responsible for its own affairs.
The concept comes from the traditional assemblies that settled individual and village disputes. ‘Panchayat’ literally means assembly (yat) of five (panch) wise and respected elders chosen and accepted by the village community.
The main aim of Panchayati Raj is to see that the community at large participates in strengthening of the systems and in the development journey along with the Government. This aim has been translated into reality with the introduction of the three-tier system viz.

  • Gram Panchayat
  • Taluka Panchayat
  • District Panchayat

In Gujarat, there are 26 District Panchayats, 224 Taluka Panchayats and 13,693 Gram Panchayats, while the revenue villages are 18,356.
The Panchayati Raj system exists in all the states of India except Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

THE 73RD AMENDMENT

The Amendment Act of 1992 contains provision for devolution of powers and responsibilities to the Panchayats. These are delegated to Panchayats at the appropriate level:

  • Preparation of plan for economic development and social justice
  • Implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice in relation to 29 subjects given in 11th schedule of the Constitution
  • To levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls and fees

The provisions of the Act are as follows:

  • Establishment of a three-tier structure
  • Establishment of Gram Sabhas at the village level
  • Regular elections to Panchayats every five years
  • Proportionate seat reservation for SCs/STs
  • Reservation of not less than 1/3 seats for women
  • Constitution of State Finance Commissions to recommended measures to improve the finances of Panchayats
  • Constitution of State Election Commission
  • Others

To support this Act and to look after all the matters related to the Panchayati Raj, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj was formed on 27th May 2004. The Ministry advocates the working and implementation of this Act and ensures systematic function of the Panchayati Raj.
Panchayati raj is indeed the grassroots of any self-government. It ensures greater participation of people and more effective implementation of rural development programs. Freedom and development can be sustained only when it begins from the bottom. And thus, every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs even to the extent of defending itself against the whole world. What can be a better system than Panchayati Raj for achieving this goal?

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=GrassRoots%20Of%20Self-Government_622

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