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National Panchayati Raj Day: History and its Significance

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj organizes the National Panchayati Raj day or the National Local Self Government Day. After the approval of 73rd Amendment bill, 1992 that came into force from April 24, 1993, formed the Panchayati Raj system across the country through the village, intermediate and district-level panchayat celebrates the National Panchayati Raj Day. India observed the first National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April 2010. The then Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh initiated for this nationwide celebration for the local self-government day. This year also Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with Gram Panchayats via video conferencing.

History

India, as we all know, is a very large country and also the world’s largest democracy. Due to the high population and large area, the person who is at the highest post in the state is unable to get the ground reality of the problems faced by the people of rural areas. Due to this reason, it was decided that the power of democracy must remain decentralised. To fulfill this requirement, a committee was constituted in 1957 under the chairmanship of Balwantrai Mehta. The so formed committee recommended for the decentralization of the power of democracy. Hence the concept of Panchayati Raj was constituted in India for the first time in history.

Significance

The biggest aspect of National Panchayati Raj day is that the political power is in the hands of common men. Now almost every village, block and district has a separate leader that runs the administration of that particular territory. To supervise the Panchayati Raj System in India, a separate Ministry of Panchayati Raj was constituted on 27th May 2004.

Through the three tiers system of the local self-government, the government of India focuses on the effective implementation of various rural activities that will benefit the lakhs of its rural population. The three tiers of the Panchayat system in India are Village Panchayat, Block panchayat or the Mandal Samithi and Zilla Parishad or the District Panchayat. The Central government also felicitates 170 Panchayati Raj institutions on the National Panchayati Raj Day each year. It awards the three-tier panchayats with the ‘Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar’ for their exemplary work under the Panchayat Empowerment Accountability Incentive Scheme. The best performers will be felicitated with the ‘Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar’.

National Panchayati Raj Day Important Facts:

“Local Government” is mentioned in the State List under the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

Article 40 of the Indian Constitution states: “The state shall take steps to organise Village Panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.”

Various committees on Panchayati Raj:

  • -Balwant Rai Mehta: established 1957
  • -V.T.Krishnamachari : 1960
  • -Santhanam Committee: 1963
  • -Takhatmal Jain Study Group: 1966
  • -Ashok Mehta Committee: 1977
  • -G.V.K. Rao Committee: 1985
  • -Dr. L.M. Singhvi Committee: 1986
  • -P. K. Thoongan committee: 1988

The Panchayati Raj is divided into a three-tier structure, namely:

  • Gram Panchayat (village level)
  • Mandal Parishad or Block Samiti or Panchayat Samiti (block level)
  • Zila Parishad (district level).

Rajasthan in 1959 became the first state in India to launch the Panchayati Raj.
(The institution of Panchayati Raj was inaugurated by Jawahar lal Nehru on October 2, 1959 in Nagaur District of Rajasthan.)

Andhra Pradesh became the second state to launch Panchayati Raj at Shadnagar near Hyderabad

The main feature of the 73rd Amendment, 1992 are as below:

  • -By inserting ‘Part-IX: The Panchayat’s in the Constitution of India, the Panchayat Raj Institutions in India have become  Constitutional bodies.
  • -Establishment of Panchayats in every states have become mandatory under Article 243-B.
  • -Provisions of mandatory devolution of powers, authority and responsibilities by the state Government to the Panchayats have been  made in Article 243-G.
  • -The tenures of the village Panchayats have been fixed to five years under Article 243-E.
  • -Mechanism of State Election Commission has been provided to conduct Independent Election under Article 243-K.
  • -Provision for giving due representation to SC/ST or Women in the Village Panchayats have been made under Article 243-D.
  • -Provision to review the financial position of the Panchayats once in 5 years through State Finance Commission has been made under  Article 243-I.
Panchayati Raj is seen as Good Governance at the village level that can help in developing any village’ – Mahatma Gandhi

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