Kurukshetra April 2023



Panchyati Raj Institutions:

‰      Panchayati Raj Institutions is a system of rural local self-government in India. It is the management of local affairs at the local level by such local bodies who have been elected by the local people.

‰    PRI were made the part of Constitution of India through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 to build democracy at the grass roots level and was given the task of rural development in the country.

‰    Part IX (Article 243) of the Indian Constitution is the section of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats. It stipulates that in states or Union Territories with more than two million inhabitants there are three levels of PRIs:

  • the Gram Panchayat at village level
  • the Mandal Parishad or Block Samiti or Panchayat Samiti at block level and
  • the Zila Parishad at district level.


History of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs):

‰    Panchayati Raj has its origins in India since Vedic Period (1700 BCE). Since Vedic times, the village (gram) in the country is considered as the basic unit for regional self-administration.

‰      Mahatma Gandhi advocated Panchayati Raj as the foundation of India’s political system, as a decentralized form of government in which each village would be responsible for its own affairs. It was termed as Gram Swaraj (“village self-governance”).

‰    Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated Panchayati at Nagaur (Rajasthan) on October 2, 1959. The day was selected on the occasion of Gandhi ji’s birthday. Gandhi wanted Gram Swaraj through Panchayati Raj. Rajasthan was the first state to implement it.

‰      The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee, headed by the Member of Parliament Balwant Rai was appointed by the Government of India in January 1957, recommended the establishment of the scheme of ‘democratic decentralization’, which finally came to be known as Panchayati Raj.

Ministry of Panchayati Raj:- Ministry of Panchayati Raj looks into all matters relating to the Panchayati Raj and Panchayati Raj Institutions. It was created in May 2004. The ministry is headed by a minister of cabinet rank. The ministry is now headed by Shri Giriraj Singh.


Capacity Building of PRIs:

‰    MoPR  has  been implementing  schemes  to  fund  the  capacity  building and  training (CB&T)  of  the  Elected Representatives (ERs). At present, it is implementing the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA).

‰      During 2022-23 more than 33 lakh participants have been trained.

‰    An amount of Rs. 2149.09 crore has been spent under RGSA from 2018-19 to 2021-22 towards capacity building of Panchayats and during 2022-23 an amount of Rs. 610.05 crore has been spent.


Thematic Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP)

‰    As Panchayats are constitutionally mandated to prepare their developmental plan, the Ministry has been emphasising through special campaign, CB&T and orientation to prepare Panchayat Development Plan.

‰    MoPR has taken a novel initiative of adopting thematic approach for localisation of Sustainable Development Goals (LSDGs) where 17 SDGs have been mapped into 9 themes for preparation of targeted developmental plan.


‰      These 9 themes are as follows:-






Poverty         Free        and         Enhanced Livelihoods Village

It aims to create avenues of enhanced income level of the poor and to ensure eligible beneficiaries covered under Social Protection Schemes and MGNREGA like employment oriented scheme.


Healthy Village

to ensure healthy lives and well being for all through health checkup, 100 per cent immunisation, institutional delivery, nutrition and early child care through ICDS etc.,


Child-Friendly Village

that strives to attain 100 per cent enrolment in the school, reduce drop-out ratio, quality education, 100 per cent immunization of children, 100 per cent child labour free village, no child trafficking, protected environment from all kinds of violence against children etc.,


Water Sufficient Village

ensuring access to potable water facilities to every household, grey water treatment and purification, address groundwater depletion, arsenic contamination, rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge etc.,


Clean and Green Village

aiming for 100 per cent ODF villages, solid and liquid waste management, shift to renewable source of energy, enhanced green cover, conservation of biodiversity etc.,


Village            with            Self-Sufficient


With the objective of providing basic infrastructure in villages such GP Bhawan, AWC, Schools, Health Centre, CSC, separate toilets for boys and girls in schools with water, all- weather roads, solar street lights etc.,


Socially  Just  and  Socially  Secured Villages

for improving living standards of the BPL, disabled, destitute, socially disadvantaged groups, social protection through various schemes to the eligible, infrastructure facilities for person with disability etc.,


Village with Good Governance

ensuring better public delivery, regular ward/ Mahila/Bal- Balika/Gram Sabha, functional standing committees, involvement of SHG/ village committees in localisation of SDGs, coordination and convergence among various institutions/stakeholders for preparation of GPDP


Women Friendly Village

to ensure 100 per cent immunisation of pregnant women, 100 per cent institutional delivery, 100 per cent ANC/ PNC, reduce crimes against women and girls, participation of women in socio- political, economic activities etc.


Provision of Basic Services through Finance Commission Funding

‰    Panchayats provide basic services to rural population such as supply of drinking water, maintenance of sanitation and ODF status etc. They also maintain water sources, village wells, tanks and pumps, street lighting and drainage system.

‰    Panchayats receive funds through the Central Finance Commission, State Finance Commission and a number of Centrally sponsored schemes.

‰      Fifteenth Finance Commission has recommended Rs. 2,36,805.00 crore for the award period 2021-2026.

‰    Through the recommendations of State Finance Commissions too, Panchayats receive approximately Rs. 30,000 crore annually. Through the various Centrally sponsored schemes, it is estimated Rs. 1.5 to 2.00 lakh crore reach Panchayats annually.


National Panchayat Awards

‰    To encourage competitive spirit among PRIs and States/UTs, awards including financial incentives are given under the Incentivisation of Panchayats scheme to best performing Panchayats and States/ UTs in recognition of their good work for improving delivery of services and public goods.

‰    The National Panchayat Awards have been revamped w.e.f. year 2022 aligning with nine LSDG themes. The revamped National Panchayat Awards will enable theme-wise ranking of all Gram Panchayats and also Block Panchayats and District Panchayats on the basis of performance of their Gram Panchayats.

‰      More than 2.00 lakh Panchayats have participated in this revamped thematic award competition in

‰    2022-23. The awards will be conferred under the categories of Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Satat Vikas Puraskar for the performance under individual LSDG theme and Nanaji Deshmukh Sarvottam Panchayat Satat Vikas Puraskar for the aggregate performance under all 9 LSDG themes.


  1. Governance and ICT Initiatives

‰      Simplified Work Based Accounting Application, e-Gram SWARAJ, was launched on April 24, 2020.

‰      To ensure better financial management of Panchayats for enhancing transparency and accountability in maintenance

of accounts, Ministry has integrated e-GramSwaraj with PFMS.

‰      e-GramSwaraj PFMS Interface (eGSPI) is one of its kind for Gram Panchayats to make real time payments to vendors/service providers.

‰      Now, the e-Gram SWARAJ is also being integrated with Government eMarket place (GeM) to enable seamless procurement and accounting experience to the Panchayats.

‰      AuditOnline Application has been developed to allow online audit of Panchayat accounts and to enhance transparency and accountability in audit.


Citizen Charter Campaign

‰      The Ministry carried out the Citizen Charter campaign under the aegis of Meri Panchayat, Mera Adhikaar- Jan Sevaayein Hamare Dwaar from 1st July - 30” September, 2021.

‰      With an intent to making the Panchayats and their elected representatives directly accountable to the people.


Common Service Centers (CSCs)

‰      CSC act as single access points for delivery of all digital services in Gram Panchayats and to

‰      It also generate opportunities of employment by promoting rural entrepreneurship.

‰      Around 52,409 CSCs have been co-located with Panchayat Bhawans as on date.



About E-Gram Swaraj

‰      To strengthen e-Governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) across the country, Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) has launched eGramSwaraj, a user friendly web-based portal.

‰      It is a Simplified Work Based Accounting Application for Panchayati Raj.

‰      eGramSwaraj aims to bring in better transparency in the decentralised planning, progress reporting and work- based accounting.

‰      eGramswaraj Portal has been developed with a vision to strengthen digitisation in Panchayats.

‰      It enables uploading of Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDP) and financial and physical progress reports

by Gram Panchayats.

‰      Being integrated with the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), it is able to facilitate online payments to material vendors and service providers.


‰      The linkage with PFMS ensures easy reporting and timely tracking of Gram Panchayat’s activities.

‰      Effectively, the single platform s all-encompassing as it covers all aspects of Panchayat functioning viz. planning, budgeting, accounting, monitoring, asset management, etc.

‰      Public Financial Management System (PFMS) is a Government of India public financial management reforms

initiative which monitors programs in the social sector and tracks funds disbursed.


Panchayats and E-Governance

‰      E-governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions is expected to help in enhancing and redefining various socio-

economic, environmental, technological aspects of community development.

‰      In this context, eGramSwaraj has been a potent example of ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’.

‰       Gram Swaraj or self-government is definitely an integral part of Aatma Nirbharata or self-reliance and eGramSwaraj

has a crucial role to play in that.


Good Governance through e-GramSwaraj

‰      Formulation of Gram Panchayat Development Plans are not only for the development of local areas, but also important in ensuring that the development is sustainable.

‰      The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been working with State Governments for localising Sustainable Development Goals in Gram Panchayats.

‰      United Nations lays down eight characteristics of good governance, viz.

    • (i) participatory, (ii) consensus-oriented, (iii) accountable, (iv) transparent, (v) responsive, (vi) effective

and efficient, (vii) equitable and inclusive and (viii) following the rule of law.


Progress of eGramSwaraj

‰      There are 6,62,841 villages in the country, for which there are 2,71,770 Gram Panchayats (GPs)/ Rural Local Bodies (RLBs).

‰      For the financial year 2022-23, as on 05.02.2023, and in 2021-22 as many as 2.56 lakh GPDPs were uploaded, while in 2020-21, the corresponding figures were 2.43 lakh.


Turning Challenges into Opportunities

‰    The Gram Panchayats are constitutionally mandated to examine and review available resources with the community and accordingly, prepare (Gram Panchayat Development Programme) GPDPs for ensuring economic development and social justice.

‰      GPDP should be comprehensive and should be based on a participatory approach involving the community particularly Gram Sabha.

‰      There is a need to ensure feasible convergence with schemes and programmes of all related Central Ministries / Line Departments related to 29 subjects listed for PRIs in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution.

‰      Out of 2,71,770 Gram Panchayats across the country, 51,508 do not have their own buildings. A basic pre-requisite for eGramSwaraj is the availability of internet connectivity.

‰      Encouraging people to adopt digital means is itself a challenge which needs rolling out of a massive awareness generation programme.

‰      Issues such as content availability, information security, information privacy, integrated service delivery, etc. need to be addressed.

‰      Further, the devolution of powers to Panchayats across States needs to be made uniform.

‰      Convergence of CSC with eGramSwaraj will be another bolstered step towards e-governance.



‰      Awareness generation and training of all stakeholders involved are essential so that eGramSwaraj meets its

objectives effectively and efficiently.


‰      The e-GramSwaraj is potent enough to significantly change how the local self-governments function both internally

and outside.

‰      The e-self-government not only improves public service delivery quality, but also it acts as a reform tool for governance transformation.



Rural Governance System: Indian Context

‰      As far back as in Rig Veda, Sabha, Samiti and Vidatha were mentioned as the units of local self units.

‰    In Ramayan, the village level unit of governance used to be called as Janpad, while there used to be a caste panchayat all across the kingdom each of them was represented in the council of ministers in the king’s court by one elected person.

‰      The history of rural governance in India remained strong in almost all the time periods till around 5TH century AD when the Gupta dynasty fell down.

‰      Later in dynasties like Delhi Sultanate, Mughal empire, rural governance system was reinstated to some extent.


Panchayati Raj in British India

‰      Panchayati Raj Institutions found their modern form mostly in British Raj when in 1870 Mayo resolution was brought into.

‰      Mayo resolution was followed up by democratic framework of these institutions through Lord Rippon’s laws in 1882.

‰      Then in 1907, for the first time in British India, the need of panchayats on village level was recognized by a Royal

Commission chaired by CEH Hobhouse.

‰      Mahatma Gandhi was a fierce proponent of the idea of Panchayati Raj. He strongly pleaded for decentralisation

of powers.

‰      But Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was opposed to the idea of panchayati raj. He believed that the villages represented regressive India, a source of oppression.

‰      As a resultant of these differing views, panchayats could find a mention only in Article 40 of the Directive Principles

of State Policy of the Constitution initially.


Panchayati Raj in Independent India

‰      In 1952, Community Development Programs (CDPs) were started on national level, but it could not cut much ice.

‰      A committee headed by Balwant Rai Mehta was constituted in 1957. This committee concluded that CDP was not able to achieve its objectives because of the lack of public participation in it.

‰      Mehta committee recommended the formation of 3-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI)- Gram Panchayat at village level, Panchayat Samiti at the block level, and Zilla Parishad at the district level.

‰      Later 73” and 74™ Constitutional Amendments together paved the way of local self-governance in rural and urban India. The 73” Amendment actually added Part IX titled “The Panchayats”.

‰      Panchayat is constituted on the basis of Gram Sabha -the basic unit on village level, where all the adult members are registered as voters.

‰      Article 243 of the Constitution deals with the process and structure of the constitution of PRIs.

‰      According to the Article 243B, the panchayats function at the level of village, intermediate block/taluk/mandal and district except in the States where the population is below 20 lakhs.

‰      Article 243C (2) states that all the seats of a panchayat needs to be filled by direct election.

‰      Article 243D deals with the reservation in panchayats.


Panchayati Raj : A tool for Empowering Weaker Sections

‰      PRIs have played a significant role in the political empowerment of women. The 73” and 74” Amendments required

that no less than one-third of the total seats in local bodies should be reserved for women.

‰      Also, districts with female sarpanchs have made significantly greater investment in basic aminities like drinking

water and public goods.

‰      It has also been playing an important role in strengthening weaker social groups like ST/ST and OBC.


Governance by People for People

‰      PRIs being run by the elected representatives of the village only can always identify the problems at the grass root

levels more efficiently, and thus reduce burden from the State administration.

‰      PRIs have 3 sources of funding: grants received from the local bodies, funds from the centrally-sponsored schemes and funds received by the state governments on the advice of State Finance Commissions.

‰      There are two categories of work that PRIs are supposed to do. One is mandatory category and the other is

optional. Optional set of work depends upon the available resources with a PRI.

‰      Some of the works that are optional for Panchayati raj: establishment of reproduction centers for animals, promoting agriculture, plantation alongside the roads, welfare of new born and mother etc.

‰      Under mandatory category comes following set of works: primary health, construction of public wells, construction of public toilets, social health and primary and adult education, vaccination, irrigation, supply of potable water, rural electrification, hygiene, maintenance of public pathways etc.


Schemes for empowering Panchayati Raj institutions

Acknowledging the crucial role Panchayati Raj Institutions can play in the implementation of successful and good governance, the Narendra Modi-government has launched several schemes aimed at strengthening and empowering Panchayati Raj institutions in the country. Some of these schemes are:



Government Scheme



Gram     Panchayat     Development Plan (GPDP)-

A special campaign called “Gram Panchayat Development Plan” was launched with a mandate to prepare the Panchayat  Development Plan (PDP) for economic development and social justice utilising the resources available to them.

The PDP planning process  had  to  be  comprehensive  and  based on participatory process which involves the full convergence with Schemes of all related Central Ministries / Line Departments related to 29 subjects enlisted in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution.

The Ministry of Finance took the initiative of preparing model guidelines for GPDP and circulated the same to all the States where part IX of Constitution is applicable. Based upon these model guidelines, all the states notified their State specific guidelines for GPDP.


Rashtriya  Gram  Swaraj  Abhiyan (RGSA)-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA), the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ program that aims to quickly and effectively transform selected districts in 2018.

These districts were selected on parameters like poverty, public health, nutrition, education, gender, sanitation, drinking water, livelihood generation which are in sync with Social Development Goals (SDGs) and fall within the realm of Panchayats.

RGSA was proposed to be implemented as a core Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).




SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages And Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas)

It was Launched by the Prime Minister on Panchayati Raj Diwas (April 24) in 2020,

SVAMITVA Yojana or Ownership Scheme aims to map residential land ownership in the rural sector using modern technology like the use of drones.



The e-Panchayat scheme aims to bring transparency and efficiency to the functioning of Panchayati Raj institutions through the use of technology.


Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Yojana (DDUPSY)

The DDUPSY scheme was launched in 2014 to strengthen Panchayati Raj institutions by providing them with the necessary resources and capabilities to undertake their constitutional duties.


Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, launched in 2014, aims to make India clean and open-defecation free



About Svamitva Scheme

‰      SVAMITVA stands for Survey of Villages Abadi and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas.

‰    SVAMITVA, a Central Sector Scheme of Ministry of Panchayati Raj was nation-wide launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on National Panchayati Raj Day, 24th April 2021.


Features of scheme-

‰    It is a reformative step towards establishment of clear ownership of property in rural inhabited (Abadi) areas, by mapping of land parcels using drone technology and providing ‘Record of Rights’ to village household owners with issuance of legal ownership cards (Property cards/Title deeds) to the property owners.

‰    The Scheme is implemented with the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, State Revenue Department, State Panchayati Raj Department and Survey of India.

‰    The scheme covers multifarious aspects viz. facilitating monetisation of properties and enabling bank loan; reducing property related disputes; comprehensive village level planning, would be the stepping-stone towards achieving Gram Swaraj in true sense and making rural India Atmanirbhar.


Aim and Objectives: -

‰      Creation of accurate land records for rural planning and reduce property related disputes.

‰    To bring financial stability to the citizens in rural India by enabling them to use their property as a financial asset for taking loans and other financial benefits.

‰      Determination of property tax, which would accrue to the GPs directly in States where it is devolved or else, add to the State exchequer.

‰      Creation of survey infrastructure and GIS maps that can be leveraged by any department for their use.

‰    To support in preparation of better-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) by making use of GIS maps.


Continuous Operating Reference System (CORS)-

‰    CORS network would help in benchmarking the location and provides 5cm level accuracy. It supports in accurate Geo-referencing, ground truthing and demarcation of lands.

‰    There would be Creation of Public Infrastructure of 567 CORS stations, i.e. a geo-positioning infrastructure under the Scheme which can be used to replace the chain surveys practiced in several States.


‰    The CORS once established could be used by any State agency / Department viz Revenue Department, Gram Panchayat (GP), Public Works Department, Rural Development Department, Agriculture, Drainage & Canal, Education, Electricity, Water, Health etc. for the survey and implementing/using GIS based applications.


Four Identified broad areas of Impact-

  1. Inclusive Society- SVAMITVA Scheme aims to have linked ‘Access to Property Rights with ‘Improvement in socio-economic standards of vulnerable population in villages.


  1. Land Governance- Lack of clearly demarcated Abadi area has led to high number of land-conflict cases. The

SVAMITVA Scheme aims to address the root cause for disputes at local level.

3.        Sustainable Habitats- High-resolution digital will lead to improvement in infrastructure like schools, community

health centres, rivers, street light, roads etc. through efficient allocation of funds and increased accessibility

  1. Economic Growth- The key outcome is to help people monetize their property as collateral.


Need of the Scheme

‰      Most villages were surveyed and cadastral maps were prepared at 1:4,000 to 1:10,000 scales during the late 19” and early 20” centuries. The view of widespread development, there is a high need to update these maps

‰      Land disputes have a severe impact on the growth of the nation. India loses nearly 1.3 per cent of economic growth annually as a result of disputed land titles (Mckinsey Global Institute, 2001).

‰      Due to litigation related delays, several projects linked with land become dysfunctional.

‰      Land-related disputes are also a heavy burden on the judiciary of the nation.

‰      These disputes affect the supply of capital and credit for investment adversely and reduce productivity, as insecure landowners have less incentive to invest in their land.

‰      India has improved its Ease of Doing Business ranking from 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2022. It can improve more if litigation-free land can be provided to investors.

‰      If the ownership of rural land is clear, then records of rights can be updated which will enable the gram panchayats to levy property taxes, which will help in rural development.


Achievement/ Progress of Scheme






Drone Survey Completed Villages



Maps handover to states (completed Villages)





Land Parcel Digitized



Maps provided for query (completed Villages)



Cards prepared (completed Villages)



Card distributed (completed Villages)



CORS Monumentation



CORS integrated with control centers



Challenges and Recommendations

‰      The legal sanctity of the property cards issued under the scheme is the biggest challenge under the scheme.

‰      The participation of the local population in the whole process is very important.

‰      The implementation of the scheme in the states requires the state governments to amend their various land revenue acts.

‰      The scheme does not spell out the mechanism to resolve these property-related conflicts.

‰      The legislature of some states has not rendered much power to their gram panchayats to function as independent self-dependent unit.

‰      It is quite necessary that while undertaking the mapping exercise, the rights of the weak and marginalized

communities are also preserved.



Overall, the SVAMITVA scheme is a solution-based approach to the land-related woes of rural India. It helps poor rural residents to mobilise funds through the monetisation of their residential assets. Moreover, procuring drone- based technology from Indian vendors will simultaneously help the Indian service sector to grow. Therefore, it will not be an exaggeration to call the “SVAMITVA Scheme” the flag bearer of the new Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.



Women’s Representation in Panchayats Before and after 73rd Amendment-

‰      Before the 73rd Amendment Act, it was not mandatory on the part of the States to provide reservation for women in Panchayats.

‰      The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee Report on the Panchayati Raj (1957) had recommended nomination of two women as members of the Panchayats, who have interest in Women and Child Development.

‰      It was recommended by the Ashok Mehta Committee Report (1987) that two women who got the highest number of votes in Zilla Parishad elections might be made member of it.

‰      The National Perspective Plan for Women, (1988) among others, had recommended 30 per cent reservation of seats for women as members and chairpersons at all levels of the Panchayats.

‰      73rd Amendment Act has provided not less than one-third reservation for women in Panchayats as mandatory. As a result of this provisions, a large number of women were elected as members and chairpersons of Panchayats.

‰     Subsequently, over a period of time as many as 22 States/UTs made 50% reservation for women. These States/UTs are Andhara Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhatishgarh, Daman and Diu, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhaya Pradesh, Maharastra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

‰      National level women as Members and Presidents of Panchayats are about 46% of total elected representatives. In some of the States, their share is more than 50%.


Women Participation in Panchayats: An Assessment

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) conducted a study, entitled “Study on Elected Women Representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions” in 2008. It analyzed different dimensions of elected women representatives’ vis-a-vis their


male counterparts, track record of their political careers over the past three rounds of elections. Following were the


    1. In terms of social groups, a large number were from more marginalized groups of society.
    2. Educationally, 48 per cent were middle and above. Twenty per cent were illiterate, but the gender gap was

significant (women- 24%; men-6%).

    1. As many as 30 per cent husbands and 12 per cent other family members were reported as important motivating persons for women to contest elections.

(d)     Reservation facilitated the first entry into politics for 83 per cent of women elected representatives.

(e)      Proper training was must for effective functioning. But as much as 43 per cent women elected representatives did not get opportunity to attend training due to not holding training (61%) and not called for training (22%).


Quality of Participation of Elected Women Representatives

‰      Overall, the quality of participation of women assessed across various dimensions turned out to be reasonably good.

‰      As many as 86 per cent of female president of Panchayats reported executing important role of being a local Panchayati Raj functionary whereas their counterparts’ percentage in this regards was 93.

‰      But women participation in village development was less than 25 per cent pointing out for better community mobilization by elected representatives.


Determinants of Good Performance

  • The study revealed that the important determinants of a good performance are:
  1. longer duration of being an elected representative
  2. training
  3. education upto middle school and above
  4. active involvement in Panchayat work.

‰      On the basis of the performance index, it is found that the high performers among elected women representatives were from Kerala, followed by Karnataka, Tripura, Maharashtra, Sikkim and West Bengal.

‰      On the other hand, the performance score was on the lower side in Orissa. Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.


Impact of Participation of Women and Community Development

‰    Women participation in PRIs impacted them positively as 79 per cent of women representatives realised enhancement in their self-esteem, 81 percent perceived enhancement of confidence and 74 per cent realised their enhanced capacity in decision-making ability.

‰      67 per cent women opined that after becoming elected representatives of Panchayats their respect has been enhanced within family and 82 per cent women opined enhanced their respect in community.


Main Recommendations of the Study are Given Below

  1. Enhancement of educational levels of elected representatives,
  2. Encouragement of joining of younger women in politics,
  3. Imparting relevant training and capacity building regularly, covering multiple dimensions including rules and

regulations, administrative issues, budgeting and finance and the implementation of development schemes,

  1. Giving adequate honoraria,
  2. Association of women in various groups including Self-help groups and committees for increasing their visibility in villages.


The Task Ahead

The MoPR has brought out the roadmap for the Panchayati Raj ( 2011-17)- An All India Perspective in which a number of steps are suggested for empowerment of women. These are given below.


‰      A provision of women component plans in PRI budgets.

‰      Linkages with SHGs in all levels of PRIs.

‰      Adequate training and capacity building of elected women representatives.

‰      Leadership training programmes for elected women representatives.

‰      Training of other functionaries of gender issues.

‰      Peer-to-peer and horizontal learning from success stories.

‰      Sharing good practices and exposure visits.

‰      Political parties must put women candidates

‰      Women candidates be given opportunity to serve a full term.

‰      Mahila Sabhas may be encouraged to facilitate women’s concerns and be raised on priority

‰      basis in meetings of Gram/Ward Sabhas.

‰      Separate quorum for women participation in Gram/Ward Sabha.



The Constitution has enabled women the be instrumental in deepening decentralized governance through PRIs. They are not only for preparing plans for economic development but also with social justice caring all marginalised groups in rural areas.



‰      The expression ‘Sabka Sath-Sabka Vikas which translates as ‘Collective Effort-Inclusive Growth’ and has been popularised by the Prime Minister, forms the corner stone of India’s National Development Agenda.

‰    To address the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in rural India through Panchayati Raj Institutions, Ministry of Panchayati Raj constituted an expert group to provide recommendations and way forward for localisation of SDGs through PRIs.

‰      Sustainable Development means the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

‰      In a country like India where about 65 per cent of population lives in rural areas, Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) have been a critical component of local self-governance.

‰      The twin objectives of Panchayati Raj System as envisaged by the Indian Constitution are to ensure local economic development and social justice.


Role of panchayats in the attainment of SDGs, is summed up in the following ways

1. Convergent Implementation of the Schemes- Ensure effective implementation of flagship

programmes pertaining to livelihood like NRLM, MGNREGS, SBM etc.

‰      Focus on Swachh Bharat Mission.

‰      Take leadership for behaviour change management for sanitation and hygiene.

‰      Plan and implement drinking water and sanitation projects in panchayats. Focus on poverty reduction through convergent planning integrating MGNREGS and NRLM.

‰      Set local development targets for eradication of poverty and mobilise people’s participation and resources for the same.

‰      Have  equitable  systems  for  management  of  common  property  resources-develop  resource  mapping  based planning.

  1. Participatory Outcome Based Planning for Local Development

‰      Prepare local development plans that touch on economic, social and environmental concerns through participatory processes, integrating ecosystem and biodiversity values.


‰      Effective  functioning  of  the  Gram  Sabha  as  participatory  discussion  and  decision  making  forum  for  local development.

‰      Ensure coordinated functioning in tandem with SHGs and their collectives.

‰      Institute outcome based planning that sets baselines and monitors advancement in development indices.

  1. Specific Governance Interventions in Panchayats

‰      Effective functioning of Standing Committees and Functional Committees of the panchayats.

‰      Strengthening different fora for community participation.

‰      Institution of clear community-based monitoring and tracking mechanisms and information feedback to the community.

‰      Preparation and management of local biodiversity registers by panchayats.

‰      Institution of environment audit into social audit of the local planning and implementation process.

‰      Improvement in revenue generation by the panchayat for finding resources for service delivery.


  1. Interventions across Tiers of Panchayats

‰      Effect convergent planning between the three-tiers of Panchayati Raj.

‰      Effective functioning of the District Planning Committees which link rural and urban planning.

‰      Coordination for service delivery and implementation of flagship schemes.

    • The 2030 Agenda also puts the principles of equality and non-discrimination at its heart, with a commitment to “leave no one behind” and “reach those farthest behind first”, special attention to marginalised groups and two dedicated goals on combatting discrimination and inequalities (SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 10 on inequalities within and between countries).
    • The overall coordination for implementation of SDGs in India is handled by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), which is driven by the mandate to work in a spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism and has been extensively engaging with governments at national and local levels as well as civil society organisations.


SDG Ranking and India’s position

‰      India slipped spots from last year’s 117 to rank 121 on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted as a part of the 2030 agenda.

‰      Comparing with South Asian Nations: With the latest rankings, India is now behind all south Asian nations except Pakistan.

‰      Kerala ranked first, followed by Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh in the second position. The reasons behind it


  1. COVID-19- The pandemic put a severe brake on the progress. It pushed the countries to impose lockdowns that brought all progressive work towards SDG attainment to a standstill.
  2. Climate Change- As per SDG 2022 report, global temperatures have been rising unabated. The world is facing a major climate catastrophe due to increased heatwaves, drought and apocalyptic wildfires and floods which are affecting billions of people around the globe.
  3. Geopolitical Conflicts The Russia-Ukraine crisis has caused food, fuel and fertiliser prices to skyrocket. It

also disturbed global trade supplies and caused the financial markets to tumble

  1. Data Gaps— The Report also notes that despite some progress, serious data gaps exist in SDG monitoring. This includes data in terms of geographic coverage, timeliness and level of disaggregation.


Way Forward

‰      Village/Gram Panchayats need to develop their own action plan to improve living conditions. There is a need to be more inclusive in addressing the problems of people from different sections.


‰    Many vulnerable families and persons coming from the Dalit community, widows, single women, old people, children without care and protection, persons with disability need special attention from all the service providing agencies and village community as a whole.

‰      Proactive disclosure of various schemes should be displayed in public notice board.

‰    Each village panchayat must assess the status of various public assets and services with regard to their functionality and thus rationalize their usage.

‰      Primary focus must be given to five key services:

  1. Anganwadi- as it has direct link with child development and curbing malnutrition as well
  2. primary education which is linked with universal literacy, particularly among girls
  3. drinking water and sanitation, having direct linkage with the health status
  4. access to public health services, this will improve institutional delivery and healthy life
  5. access to public distribution system and food availability in Anganwadi and mid-day-meal it will address malnutrition.

‰      To conclude, accelerated efforts are needed to boost sustainable solutions to the biggest challenges we face.



‰    World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as ‘All people having access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

‰    Ayushman Bharat- Health and Wellness Centers are envisaged to deliver an expanded range of services to address the primary health care needs of beneficiaries thereby expanding access and universality of healthcare services being provided close to the community.

‰    Such care will be provided/ complemented through outreach services, mobile medical units, camps, home and community-based care.

‰    It covers the full continuum of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. The focus of UHC is on preventing diseases and towards overall health and wellbeing.

‰      In February 2018, Government of India announced the creation of 1,50,000 Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) by transforming existing Sub Centres and Primary Health Centres into Ayushman Bharat- Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs).

‰    These would deliver Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) closer to the homes of people, covering both maternal and child health services along with non-communicable diseases, provisioning of free essential drugs and diagnostic services.

‰      As per National Health Accounts (NHA), a little more than 48 per cent of the Total Health Expenditure (THE) is on out-of-pocket-expenditure (OOPE).

‰      AB-HWCs aims to significantly reduce OOPE and financial hardship through affordable, accessible and quality

healthcare closer to the communities.

‰      As on 10” February 2023, 1,56,960 AB-HWCs centres are operational across States and UTs.


Service Packages

‰    The service packages made available at ABHWC have been expanded to include care in pregnancy and child birth, neo-natal and infant health care services, childhood and adolescent health care services, family planning, contraceptive services and other reproductive health care services.

‰    The services being added in an incremental manner are basic oral health care, care for common ophthalmic and ENT problem, screening and basic management of mental health ailments, elderly and palliative health care services and emergency medical services including burns and trauma.


Key Components

‰      It includes continuum of care from primary to secondary and tertiary levels through the referral mechanism.

‰      use of telemedicine technology in addition to expanded range of health care services,

‰      human resources and their training/multi-skilling, expanded ranges of medicines and diagnostic equipment, infrastructure to deliver CPHC services and health promotion and community mobilization activities.

‰      Sufficient funds, robust IT system to meet the needs of all the stakeholders and strong partnership and networks

for sharing knowledge and disseminating information also form an integral part of their effectiveness.


Community Engagement

‰      Healthcare workers working closely with the communities.

‰      The team enable empowerment of individuals, families and communities with knowledge and skills to take responsibility for their own health.

‰      Institutional structures such as Jan Arogya Samitis, with representation from the local bodies and Panchayats, Self Help Groups and patients, enable community ownership and accountability of AB-HWC teams.


Access to Free Essential Diagnostic Services

‰      The AB-HWCs serve as the hub for dispensing medicines at the PHC.

‰      These not only ensure the uninterrupted availability of medicines to ensure adherence and continuation of care but also reduce any patient hardship by providing medicines closer to their homes.

‰      The number of essential medicines at PHC-AB-HWCs has been increased to 171 and number of essential diagnostic services to 63.


Robust IT Systems

‰      The IT system includes the provision of a smart phone to the ASHA and a tablet to the Multipurpose Worker and CHO.

‰      The patient can be reached at the home/community level for treatment adherence and follow-up measurements of vital parameters.


Teleconsultation services

‰      The AB-HWCs provide teleconsultation services, whereby every level of service provider from CHO at Sub Health

Center-HWCs to Medical Officer at Primary Health Centres-HWC is able to access higher level of consultation,

‰      It also includes specialists in secondary and tertiary centres so that physical travel by patients can be minimised, reducing costs and any potential hardship.

‰      AB-HWCs seen as game changers- AB-HWCs viewed as game changers in primary healthcare The answer lies in the available evidence.


S. No.

Before establishment of AB-HWCs

After the establishment of AB-HWCs


Selective primary health care was largely limited to Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) and communicable diseases, which was addressing only 20 per cent of the health care needs.

After the introduction of comprehensive primary health care, an expanded range of health services has been included to include chronic disease conditions and non-communicable diseases.


Earlier primary level of health care facilities did not serve gate keeping functions, leading to crowded secondary level health care facilities.

The ABHWCs facilitate resolution of more cases at primary level thereby helping to reduce overcrowding at secondary and tertiary level facilities.


Earlier people visiting the peripheral health facilities had none or limited access to telehealth

AB-HWCs  has  brought  about  a  wide  network and referral linkages through teleconsultation/ telemedicine platforms such as e-Sanjeevani.




Reporting and documentation was earlier being done manually which could lead to duplication of records, overburdened staff, especially frontline workers.

The IT platform of AB-HWC offers standardised digital health records, establishment of a seamless flow of information across all levels of care and an assured continuum of care.


there was limited focus on wellness component at primary health care facilities.

Now, wellness activities including Yoga are mainstreamed into the health care delivery system and active engagement of Yoga practitioners has been ensured at AB-HWCs.



Primary healthcare is widely acknowledged as the cornerstone of an effective and sustainable health system for achieving universal health coverage, which is viewed as the centerpiece of SDG-3.


Previous Year UPSC mains questions

  1. “The local self-government system in India has not proved to be effective instrument of governance.” Critically examine the statement and give your view to improve the situation.                                                                           (150 Words) (2017)


  1. To what extent, in your opinion, has the decentralisation of power in India changed the governance landscape at the grassroots?                                                                                                                                                                                               (2022)


  1. The strength and sustenance of local institutions in India has shifted from their formative phase of ‘Functions, Functionaries and Funds’ to the contemporary stage of ‘Functionality’. Highlight the critical challenges faced by local institutions in terms of their functionality in recent times.                                                                                                                                 (2020)


  1. “The reservation of seats for women in the institutions of local self- government has had a limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian Political Process.” Comment.                                                                                                                (2019)


  1. Assess the importance of Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what

sources the Panchayats can look out for financing developmental projects.                                                                      (2018)


  1. In absence of a well-educated and organized local level government system, `Panchayats’ and ‘Samitis’ have remained mainly political institutions and not effective instruments of governance. Critically discuss.                                        (2015)