National Panchayati Raj Day

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    In News 

    • Recently, the Prime Minister of India  addressed India’s ‘gram sabhas’ from Jammu’s Palli village on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day

    About 

    • Prime of India  laid the foundation of multiple development initiatives worth Rs 20,000 crore in the Union Territory.
      • The Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel, built at a cost of over three thousand one hundred crore rupees was inaugurated. 
        • The 8.45-kilometre long tunnel will reduce the road distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 kilometres and reduce journey time by around one and a half hours. 
      • The foundation stone of three road packages of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway was laid down .
        • It is being built at a cost of over seven thousand 500 crore rupees.
      • Amrit Sarovar initiative was also launched 
        • It is aimed at developing and rejuvenating 75 water bodies in each district of the country.

    About the Panchayati Raj Day

    • Every year, the National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated on 24th April.
    • It is commemorated by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
    • History :
      • It marks a defining moment in the history of decentralisation of power, with the institutionalisation of Panchayati Raj, through the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 which came into force with effect from 24th April 1993.
      • The day was first celebrated in April 2010 making it one of the most important days in Indian history.
    • It provides an opportunity for direct dialogue with Panchayat representatives from all over the country as well as recognising their achievements to empower and motivate them further.
    • National Panchayat Awards
      • Every year, the Ministry awards the best performing Panchayats/States/UTs under the Incentivization of Panchayats in recognition of their good work for improving delivery of services and public goods.

    Panchayati Raj in India

    • The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 came into force with effect from 24th April 1993 and vested Constitutional status on Panchayati Raj institutions.
    • Panchayat raj is the oldest system of local government.
    • The word ‘Panchayat’ is an amalgamation of two words where ‘Panch’ means ‘five’ and ‘Ayat’ means ‘assembly’ and ‘Raj’ means ‘rule’.
      • Rajasthan was the first state in the country where the Panchayati Raj system was implemented. It was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 2nd October 1959 at Nagaur district.

    Genesis

    • Balwant Rai Mehta Committee, 1957: Suggested a three-tier Panchayati Raj system of Gram Panchayats at the village level, Panchayat Samiti at the block level and Zilla Parishad at the district level.
    • Ashok Mehta Committee, 1977: Incorporated novel thinking in the concepts and practice of the Panchayat Raj and recommended a two-tier Panchayat Raj structure consisting of Zilla Parishad and Mandal Panchayat.
    • G V K Rao Committee, 1985: Recommended making the district as the basic unit of planning and holding regular elections.
    • L M Singhvi Committee, 1986: Recommended providing more financial resources and constitutional status to the panchayats to strengthen them.
    • Other Contributing Committees: Hanumantha Rao Committee (1983), Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State relations (1988), P.K. Thungan Committee (1989) and Harlal Singh Kharra Committee (1990).
    • 1991: P V Narashima Rao’s government introduced a bill for this purpose in Lok Sabha in September and the bill finally emerged in 1992 and got enforced in 1993.

    73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments

    • Both were passed by Parliament in December 1992 and introduced local self-governance in rural and urban India.
    • The Acts came into force as the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 on 24th April 1993 and the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 on 1st June 1993.
    • The 73rd Amendment Act added Part IX titled “The Panchayats” and the 74th Amendment Act added Part IXA titled “The Municipalities”.

    Salient Features of these Acts

    • Basic units of democratic system, Gram Sabhas (villages) and Ward Committees (Municipalities) comprising all the adult members registered as voters.
    • Article 243B: The three-tier system of panchayats at the village, intermediate block/taluk/Mandal and district levels except in States with the population are below 20 lakhs.
    • Article 243C (2): Seats at all levels to be filled by direct elections
      • Seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and chairpersons of the Panchayats at all levels also shall be reserved for SCs and STs in proportion to their population.
    • Article 243D: One-third of the total number of seats to be reserved for women. One-third of the seats reserved for SCs and STs are reserved for women. One-third offices of chairpersons at all levels reserved for women.
    • Article 243E: Uniform five-year term and elections to constitute new bodies to be completed before the expiry of the term. In the event of dissolution, elections are compulsory within six months.
    • Article 243K: Independent Election Commission in each State for superintendence, direction and control of the electoral rolls.
    • Article 243G: Panchayats to prepare plans for economic development and social justice in respect of subjects as devolved by law to the various levels of Panchayats including the subjects as illustrated in Eleventh Schedule.
      • The Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution places as many as 29 functions within the purview of the Panchayati Raj bodies.
    • Article 243ZD: 74th Amendment provides for a District Planning Committee to consolidate the plans prepared by Panchayats and Municipalities.
    • Article 243H: Budgetary allocation from State Governments, the share of revenue of certain taxes, collection and retention of the revenue it raises, Central Government programmes and grants, Union Finance Commission grants.
    • Article 243I: Establish a Finance Commission in each State to determine the principles on the basis of which adequate financial resources would be ensured for panchayats and municipalities.

    Significance

    • Panchayati Raj has increased cooperation among people, their democratic participation and representation.
    • It has played an important role in decentralisation of power and has made India more inclusive.
    • Gram Panchayats provide basic services in villages and also plan for local economic development of the population.
    • Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) improves efficiency of public services.
    • It includes less privileged sections of society and ensures their participation in the village level governance wherein they can advocate their developmental aspirations.
    • It helps in ensuring Good Governance as the Panchayati Raj system works on the pillars of ‘Consensus’ and ‘Participation’ which form an important part of Good Governance.

    Source:ET