Panchayati Raj system in India | Local Self Government

The Panchayati Raj System in India is like the local self government. Where people of the village elect their representative (Gram Sabha). It was the dream of Mahatma Gandhi to established the local Governing body for the economic development of villages and Panchayats.

The development of the village was the immediate problem faced by our country after independence. Hence the Community Development Program was launched in 1952 with a view to carrying out the integral rural development work.

Rajasthan was the first state to set up the Panchayati Raj System in 1959 followed by Andhra Pradesh.

Panchayati Raj is one of the important topics of the various competitive exams. In the polity section Local self Government is in Syllabus. Various GK questions are asked in exams like SSC, Railways and UPSC.

Article of the Panchayati Raj System

It was brought through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 22, 1992, and by the Rajya Sabha on 23 December 1992.  And the final assent by the President of India on 23 April 1993.

The Act added Part IX to the Constitution, “The Panchayats” and also added the Eleventh Schedule which covers the 29 functional items of the panchayats. It is mentioned under the State List.

The Amendment Act provides shape to Article 40 of the Constitution, which is the part of directive principles of state policy, which directs the state to organize the village panchayats and provide them powers and authority so that they can function as self-government.

Part IX of the Constitution contains Article 243 to Article 243 O

  • Article 243A –Gram Sabha.
  • Article 243B – Constitution of Panchayat.
  • Article 243C –Composition of the Panchayat.
  • Article 243D – Reservation of seat in the Panchayat.
  • Article 243F – All the persons above 21 year are qualified as members  of Panchayat and Disqualification from the membership of Panchayat are also mentioned.
  • Article 243K- Election of Panchayat is taken by the state election commission.

Structure of Panchayati Raj in India

1. Gram Panchayat at the Village level

The members of the Gram Panchayat are elected by the Gram Sabha. The Pradhans (Presidents) of the Gram Sabha are the ex-officio members of the Gram Panchayat.

Gram Sabha means a body consisting of persons registered in the electoral roles relating to a village level.

2. Panchyat Samiti at the Block Level

The Panchayat Samiti has many Gram Panchayats under it. All the Presidents of the Panchayats within the Block are the ex-officio members of the ‘Panchayat Samitis’.

3. Zilla Parishad at the District level

Zilla Parishad is  an apex body under the Panchayati Raj. It coordinates the activities of the various Panchayat Samitis. Zilla Parishad actually makes development plans at the district level. With the help of Panchayat Samitis, it also regulates the money distribution among all the Gram Panchayats.

Election of the Panchayati Raj of India.

The State election commission is responsible for conducting Panchayat elections in the interval of 5 years. It is the State governor of the State on advice of the Chief Minister the State election commission is formed. The election  process is independent of the state government’s will. State legislature may make provisions with respect to all matters relating to elections to the panchayats.

Any Adult who has attained the age of 21 can contest in elections to Panchayats. There is no upper age limit.

Voting age is the same as the other elections. Those 18 year and above can take part. Only person belong to the same panchayat can vote.

The village level panchayat is directly elected by the people of the village. And the elected member vote for the district and state level members. So they are indirectly by the elected members of the village panchayat.

Reservation of Seats in Panchayats

There is the reservation for the seats in panchayats for the ST and SC communities in the panchayats in all the tiers of tiers in the ratio of their population. Women of this community have a special reservation. 

For women: Not less than one-third of the total number of seats to be reserved for women, further not less than one-third of the total number of offices for chairperson at all levels of the panchayat to be reserved for women.

The state legislatures are also given the provision to decide on the reservation of seats in any level of panchayat or office of chairperson in favour of backward classes.

Term of Panchayat:

The Act provides for a five-year term to all the levels of the panchayat. However, the panchayat can be dissolved before the completion of its term. If the Pacnhyat dissolve before the last six month the fresh election is conducted and If it is less than six month left the election is not conducted, it will be conducted on the completion of 5 years.

Power and Function of the Panchayat

The state legislature may give the Panchayats such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government. In many schemes panchayats are given power to monitor the functioning of the work. Like in MANREGA, panchayats have power to inspect the work.

They are the local authority of the villages. Many documents related to the identity and land need their sign and approval.

Quick Notes for Panchayati Raj System in India

  • Organization of Gram Sabha in a village or group of villages.
  • Establishment of Panchayats at the village, intermediate and district levels.
  • 21 years to be the minimum age for contesting elections to Panchayats.
  • Reservation of seats (both members and chairpersons) for SC and ST in Panchayats at all the three levels.
  • Reservation of one-third seats (both members and chairpersons) for women in  Panchayats at all three levels.
  • Fixing tenure of five years for Panchayats at all levels and holding fresh elections within six months in the events of supersession of any Panchayat.
  • Establishment of a State Election Commission for conducting elections to the Panchayats.
  • Constitution of a State Finance Commission after every five years to review the financial position of the panchayats.

Panchayati Raj system in India Gk Questions

What is the panchayati raj system?

Panchayati raj system is the local self governing body of India. In which the local representative of the village and community takes part in the development of the locality.

What is the importance of Panchayati Raj?

Panchayati Raj institutes village local government that plays a significant role in the development of villages especially in areas like primary education, health, agricultural developments, women and child development and women participation in local government, etc.

Which committee recommended the panchayati raj system in India?

Balwant Rai Mehta Committee recommended three tier Panchayats Gram Panchayat at village level, Panchayat committee at block level and thereafter Zilla Parishad in 1957.

When was the panchayati raj system introduced in India?

The Panchayati Raj system was introduced in India by the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992.

Which state in India implemented the panchayati raj system first?

Rajasthan was the first state to set up the Panchayati Raj System in 1959 followed by Andhra Pradesh.

Who is known as the father of local self government in India?

Lord Ripon was known as the Father of Local self-government. He introduced local self-governance in the year 1882.

Who introduced the panchayati raj system in India?

The system later came to be known as Panchayati Raj, which was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 2 October 1959 at Nagaur in Rajasthan.

Which state in India has no Panchayati Raj institution?

All states of India have Panchayati Raj systems except Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram, in all Union Territories except Delhi; and certain other areas.

Who is known as the father of Panchayati Raj?

Balwant Rai Mehta was a parliamentarian who is credited for pioneering the concept of the Panchayati Raj in India and was also known as the ‘Father of Panchayati Raj’.

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