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Rural local bodies and function Panchayati Raj System (PRIs)

  1. Rural Local Bodies and Power Structure MOHD ANJUM AFROZ MSW-II year (Community Development) Department of Social Work Pondicherry University, Pondicherry  +91 9718269166 
  2. Contents Introduction Rural Local Bodies Panchayati Raj System (Brief History) - Origin - During British Time - Post independence till 1992 Salient Features of 73rd Amendment Act of 1992 Three-tier structure of Panchayati Raj Functions of Panchayati Raj Institutions Power of Panchayati Raj Institutions
  3. Rural Local Bodies Introduction • Local bodies are institutions of the local self-governance, which look after the administration of an area or small community such as villages town or cities. • The local bodies are broadly classified into two categories that is: - Rural Local Bodies - Urban Local bodies • The local bodies constituted for local planning, development and administration in the rural areas are referred as Rural Local Bodies.
  4. Panchayati Raj • The concept of Panchayati Raj is linked with ancient Indian belief that Panch Parmeshawar i.e. “God lives in the Panch” which has been propounded by Mahatma Gandhi as “Gram Swaraj” which means Village Self-governance. • Under British rule, Panchayats lost the respect and power which they had enjoyed earlier, because of new system of courts, laws and revenue collection. • In independent India, one of the Directive Principal of State Policy in the Constitution directed the State Government to try to take step to organize village Panchayats and give them such powers and authority as may be necessary to make them as a unit of self-government. • Panchayati Raj was not taken up seriously by the states.
  5. Series of Committees and their suggestions • In January 1957, the Government of India appointed Balwant Rai Mehta committee to examine the working of the Community Development Program (1952) and the National Extension service (1953) and to suggest measures for their better working. • Recommendation of Balwant Rai Mehta Committee: • This Committee Suggested ways of democratic decentralization in a three-tier structure of Panchayati raj. - Zila Parishad at District level - Panchayat Samiti at intermediate level or block level - Village or Gram Panchayat at village level • They should be furnished with sufficient powers and resources. • Panchayat Samiti was to be the most important and 3 bodies were interlinked. • Panchayati Raj of Banlwant Rai Mehta Committee pattern was first introduced in Rajasthan in 1959, some other states also followed. • Initially both People and State were enthusiastic about Panchayati Raj, but later declined very soon.
  6. …continued • Recommendation of Ashok Mehta Committee: • Ashok Rai Mehta Committee submitted their report in 1978 and felt that Panchayati Raj inculcated political awareness among rural masses. • Panchayati Raj failed in carrying out economic development. • Ashok Mehta Committee suggested 2-tier structure of Panchayati Raj: - Zila Parishad at District Level - Mandal Panchayat, an administrative unit between Village Panchayat and Panchayat Samiti • Zila Parishad was to the most important. • However, Ashok Mehta Committee couldn’t be implemented due to collapse of Janta Party Government in 1980. States like Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pardesh did not hold elections to panchayat for long time, at the same time many developmental agencies were set up by Central Government like District Rural Development Agency, to take up developmental programs in collaboration.
  7. Salient Features of 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act 1992 The 73rd amendment to the Constitution enacted in 1992 made statutory provision for the establishment, empowerment and functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).  Some of the compulsory provision of the new law are:  Creation of 3-tier Panchayati Raj structure at Zila, Block and Village levels  Almost all posts at all level to be filled by direct election.  Minimum age for contesting elections to the Panchayati Raj institutions be 21 years.  The post of Chairman at the Zila and Block level should be filled by indirect election.  There should be reservation of seats for SC/ST in Panchayat in proportion to their population, and for women in Panchayats up to 1/3 seats.  State Election Commission to be set up in each state to conduct elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions.  The tenure of Panchayati Raj Institutions is 5 years.  State Finance Commission is set up in each state every 5 years.
  8. …continued  Voluntary provisions which are not binding by state but only guidelines are :  Giving voting rights to members of Central and State legislatures in these bodies.  Providing reservation for backward classes.  The Panchayati Raj should be given financial powers in relation to taxes, levy fees etc. and efforts shall be made to make Panchayats an autonomous body.  Making Panchayat institutions as an autonomous body.  Devolution of powers and responsibilities upon Panchayats to prepare plans for development and social justice.
  9. 3-tier Structure of Panchayati Raj Union State Panchayati Raj Municipality 3. Zila Parishad 2. Block/Taluk Panchayat 1. Village Panchayat Autonomous Councils for Tribal Areas . 3. Municipal Corporation 2. Municipal Council 1. Nagar Panchayat Gram Sabha (Village Assembly) Ward Meetings
  10. Name of States and Number of Panchayats (as of 31-03-2012) Sr. No. State (districts) Panchayat Raj Institutions including ADC Numbers 1. Assam (27) 1. Gaon Panchayat 2. Anchal Panchayat 3. Zilla Parishad 4. Autonomous District Councils 2206 19121 21 4 2. Bihar (38) 1. Gram Panchayat 2. Panchayat Samiti 3. Zilla Parishad 8474 534 38 3. Kerala (14) 1. Village Panchayat 2. Block Panchayat 3. District Panchayat 977 152 14 4. Tamil Nadu (32) 1. Village Panchayat 2. Panchayat Unions 3. District Panchayat 12528 385 31 5. Meghalaya (7) 1. Autonomous District Councils 3
  11. 3-tier structure of Panchayati Raj explained • Village Panchayat: This is basic or grassroots level of Panchayati Raj. Panchayat of village or group of villages which includes: - Gram Sabha (symbol of direct democracy) - Gram Panchayat (lower tier of Panchayati Raj system in country) - Nyaya Panchayat (Judicial Panchayat which reminds of ancient villages)
  12. Village Panchayat in detail o Gram Sabha:  Gram Sabha consist of all adult residents within a village or group of villages  Generally 2 meetings of Gram Sabha held in a year and in these meetings Gram Sabha as a General Body of the people hear Annual Statement of the Account, Audit or Administrative Report of Panchayat.  It recommends new development projects to be under taken by Panchayats.  It also helps in identifying poor people of the village so that they may be given economic assistance. o Gram Panchayat:  The members of Gram Panchayat are directly elected people.  The number of members of Gram Panchayat are fixed on the basis of population.  Election held on the basis of single member constituency. 1/3 of seats are reserved for women.  Chairperson of Gram Panchayat are called as Sarpanch/Pradhan/President in different states.  Gram Panchayats generally held their meetings once in a month. o Nyaya Panchayat:  Nyaya Panchayats are set up to provide speedy and inexpensive justice.  One Nyaya Panchayat are set up for 5 or more Gram Panchayats for tenure 3 to 5 years.  Nyaya Panchayats generally deal with petty civil and criminal cases and can impose fine up to Rs. 100
  13. Panchayat Samiti in detail • The second or middle tier of Panchayati Raj Institution, which provides link between Gram Panchayat and Zilla Parishad. • Strength of Panchayat Samiti depends on population. • Some members are directly elected. • Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat are Ex-Officio members of Panchayat Samiti. • Chairperson of Panchayat Samiti are generally elected from among directly elected members. • Panchayat Samitis are headed by Block Development Officers (B.D.O.)
  14. Zila Parishad in detail • Zila Parishad at district level is upper most tier of Panchayat Raj System. • Some members are directly elected. • Chairperson of Panchayat Samitis are Ex-Officio members of Zila Parishad. • Member of Parliament, Member of Legislative Assemblies and Councils belonging to district are Nominated Members of Zila Parishad. • Chairperson of Zila Parishad, called Adhyaksh or President, is elected from among the directly elected members. Vice-President is also elected similarly. • Zila Parishad meetings are conducted once in a month. • Zila Parishad prepares District Plans and integrates with Samiti Plans into district plans for submission to State Government.
  15. Functions under 11th Schedule of Indian Constitution 11th Schedule of Indian Constitution contains devolutions of Powers and functions to the Panchayat. There are 29 functions as follows: 1. Agriculture, including agricultural extension 2. Land improvement, implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil conservation. 3. Minor irrigation, water management and watershed development 4. Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry 5. Fisheries 6. Social forestry and farm forestry 7. Minor forest produce 8. Small-scale industries, including food processing industries. 9. Khadi, Village and cottage industries. 10. Rural Housing 11. Drinking water 12. Fuel and fodder 13. Roads, Culverts, Bridge, Ferries, Waterways and other means of communication. Note for Color Code:  At its best effort  Convincing effort  Alarming conditions  Need to pay more attentions
  16. Functions under 11th Schedule of Indian Constitution 14. Rural Electrification, including distribution of electricity 15. Non-conventional energy sources 16. Poverty Alleviation Programme. (Need to check how effective schemes are?) 17. Education, including primary and secondary schools (Quality and Equity?) 18. Technical Training and Vocational Education 19. Adult and Non-formal Education 20. Libraries 21. Cultural Activities 22. Markets and Fairs 23. Health and Sanitation including Hospitals, Primary Health Centers and Dispensaries. 24. Family Welfare 25. Women and Child Development 26. Social Welfare including welfare of Physically Challenged and Mentally Retarded 27. Welfare of the weaker sections, and in particular, of SC & ST 28. Public Distribution system 29. Maintenance of Community Assets
  17. Powers of Panchayati Raj Institutions  The State Legislature may endow the Panchayats with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government.  Such a scheme may include devolution of powers and responsibilities upon Panchayats at the appropriate level with respect to:  The preparation of plans for economic development & social justice  The implementations of schemes for for economic development may be entrusted to them.
  18. Reasons for ineffective performance  Lack of adequate decentralization: Many of States have not taken adequate steps to devolve 3Fs (i.e. Functions, Funds and Functionaries) to the PRIs. Excessive control by bureaucracy: Keeping Gram Panchayats in Subordinations. Sarpanchs have to visit Block Offices for funds and technical approvals. Tied nature of funds: Certain schemes are not always appropriate for all parts of the Districts. Unsuitable schemes lead to under-spend funds. Overwhelming dependency of government funding: Panchayats do not raise resources and hence people are less likely request a Social Audit.
  19. … continued Reluctance to use fiscal power: An important power devolved to Gram Panchayat is the right to levy toilets tax on Property, Business Market, Fairs, and also for services provided like street lighting or public etc. but Very few Panchayats use their Fiscal Power to levy tax and collect taxes. Status of Gram Sabha: A number of State Acts have not spelt the power of Gram Sabha nor any procedure has been laid down for the functioning of these bodies or penalties for the officials. Poor Infrastructure: A large number of Gram Panchayat in the country do not have even full time secretary. Around 25% of Gram Panchayats do not have basic office buildings. The database for planning, monitoring etc. are lacking in most of the cases. A large number of elected representative of PRIs are Illiterate or Semi-literate and know little about their roles & responsibilities, programs, procedures systems.
  20. References • Laxmikanth M, Indian Polity 5th Edition (2017) McGraw Hill Education (India) Private Ltd, Chennai. •
  21. Thank you