Panchayati Raj System is the first tier or level of democratic
The term Panchayati Raj in India signifies the system of rural local self-government. It was constitutionalised through the 73rd Constitutional AmendmentAct of 1992.
The development of the village was the immediate problem faced by our country after independence.
2. Hence the Community Development Programme was launched in 1952 with a view to carrying out the integral rural development work.
3. Rajasthan was the first state to set up Panchayati Raj System in 1959 followed by Andhra Pradesh
Since Independence several committees are formed in order to make decentralisation of powers.
In January 1957, the Government of India appointed a committee to examine the working of the Community Development Programme (1952) and the National Extension Service (1953) and to suggest measures for their better working. The chairman of such committee is Balwant Rai G Mehta. Some of the major recommendations are
· Establishment of a three-tier panchayati raj system—gram panchayat at the village level, panchayat samiti at the block level and zila parishad at the district level
· The village panchayat should be constituted with directly elected representatives, whereas the panchayat samiti and zila parishad should be constituted with indirectly elected members
· All planning and development activities should be entrusted to these bodies
· The panchayat samiti should be the executive body while the zila parishad should be the advisory, coordinating and supervisory body.
· Sufficient resources should be transferred to these bodies to enable them to discharge their functions and fulfil their responsibilities.
• These recommendation are accepted by the government and started implementing.
1. In December 1977, the Janata Government appointed a committee on panchayati raj institutions under the chairmanship of Ashok Mehta. Some of the recommendations are
2. The three-tier system of panchayati raj should be replaced by the two-tier system, that is, zila parishad at the district level, and below it, the mandal panchayat consisting of a group of villages with a total population of 15,000 to 20,000.
3. The district should be first point of decentralisation of power.
4. Zilla parishad should be made a planning body.
5. These local bodies should have the power to mobilise the taxes in order to meet it own requirements.
6. Seats for SCs and STs should be reserved on the basis of their population
7. Development functions should be transferred to the zila parishad and all development staff should work under its control and supervision
8. A minister for panchayati raj should be appointed in the state council of ministers to look after the affairs of the panchayati raj institutions
9. No action has been taken by the government till end of the term of the government, however 3 states i.e. Karnataka, west Bengal and Andhra Pradesh has steps in these direction.
The Committee on Administrative Arrangement for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation Programmes under the chairmanship of G.V.K. Rao was appointed by the Planning Commission in 1985. It recommended the Zila Parishad should be of pivotal importance in the scheme of democratic decentralisation. The Panchayati Raj institutions at the district and lower levels should be assigned an important role with respect to planning, implementation and monitoring of rural development programmes. A post of District Development Commissioner should be created and should be incharge of all the development department at t he district level.
After this L M Singhvi Committee has been formed for ‘Revitalisation of Panchayati Raj Institutions for Democracy and Development’ under the chairmanship of L M Singhvi. Some of the recommendations are as follows:
The Panchayati Raj institutions should be
constitutionally recognised, protected and
preserved. For this purpose, a new chapter should be added in the Constitution of India.
· Nyaya Panchayats should be established for a cluster of villages
· The Village Panchayats should have more financial resources.
The villages should be reorganised to make
Gram Panchayats more viable. It also emphasised
the importance of the Gram Sabha and called it as the embodiment of direct democracy
The Congress Government under the prime ministership of P V Narasimha Rao once again considered the matter of the constitutionalisation of panchayati raj bodies. It drastically modified the proposals in this regard to delete the controversial aspects and introduced a constitutional amendment bill in the Lok Sabha in September, 1991. This bill finally emerged as the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 and came into force on 24 April, 1993.
73rd Amendment Act of 1992 :-
Significance of the Act :
· This act has added a new Part-IX to the Constitution of India. It has added Articles 243 to 243-O. the act has also added a new Eleventh Schedule to the Constitution. This schedule contains 29 functional items of the panchayats. It deals with Article 243-G.
· The act has given a practical shape to Article 40 of the Constitution which says that, “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.” This article forms a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy.
· Some of the provisions are made compulsory and some are made voluntary, there by concern state government has to certain provision of the act Mandatory and certain provision can taken and implement based on the needs of the local conditions prevailing their respective state.
Provision of act :-
· Establishment of a three-tier structure (Village Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti or intermediate level Panchayat and Zilla Parishad or district level Panchayat).
· To provide 3-tier system of Panchayati Raj for all States having population of over 20 lakh.
· In the Panchayati Raj set up, the Gram Sabha, the general assembly of villagers, has a key role for effective functioning of Panchayats. In the Gram Sabha meeting, the rural poor, the women and the marginalised people would now get an opportunity to join in decision making on matters affecting their lives. Active functioning of the Gram Sabha would ensure a participatory democracy with transparency, accountability and achievement.
• Gram Sabha should meet a least in each quarter preferably on Republic Day, Labour Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti.
• Decide developmental work to be undertaken by Panchayats based on needs assessment.
• Suggest remedial measures for economy and efficiency in the functioning of the Panchayats.
• Question and scrutinise the decisions of Panchayats in the meeting of Gram Sabha.
• Discuss the Annual Financial Statement of Gram Panchayats
· Regular elections to Panchayats every 5 years. Members of all levels are elected directly while chairperson of Panchayats at the Intermediate and district levels shall be elected indirectly elected.
· Proportionate seat reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population.
· Reservation of not less than 33% seats for women (Which include women from SC and ST).
· Constitution of State Finance Commissions to make recommendations regarding the financial powers of the Panchayats.
· Constitution of District Planning Committee to prepare draft development plan for the district as a whole.
• Preparation of plants and their execution for economic development and social justice in relation to 29 subjects listed in the XI Schedule of the Constitution.
· The governor of a state shall, after every five years, constitute a finance commission to review the financial position of the panachayats. It shall make the following recommendations to the Governor .
• The distribution between the state and the panchayats of the net proceeds of the taxes, duties, tolls and fees levied by the state.
• The determination of taxes, duties, tolls and fees that may be assigned to the panchayats.
· The grants-in-aid to the panchayats from the consolidated fund of the state. The measures needed to improve the financial position of the panchayats.
• Any other matter referred to it by the governor in the interests of sound finance of the panchayats.
The act does not apply to the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram and certain other areas. For Example: hill area of Manipur where district council exists and Hill councils of West Bengal and Darjeeling.
11th schedule contains 29 functional items placed within purview of Panchayats which are
1. Agriculture, including agricultural extension
2. Land improvement, implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil conservation
3. Minor irrigation, water management and watershed development4. Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry
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, bridges, ferries, waterways and other means of communication
14. Rural electrification, including distribution of electricity
15. Non-conventional energy sources
16. Poverty alleviation programme
17. Education, including primary and secondary schools
18. Technical training and vocational education
19. Adult and non-formal education
21. Cultural activities
22. Markets and fairs
23. Health and sanitation including hospitals, primary health centres and dispensaries
24. Family welfare
25. Women and child development
26. Social welfare, including welfare of the handicapped and mentally retarded
27. Welfare of the weaker sections, and in particular, of the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes
28. Public distribution system
29. Maintenance of community assets.
Madatory Provisions :-
• The establishment in every state (except those with populations below 2 million) of rural local bodies (Panchayats) at the village, intermediate and district levels (Article 243B)
• Direct elections to all seats in the Panchayats at all levels (Article 243C)
• Compulsory elections to Panchayats every five years with the elections being held before the end of the term of the incumbent Panchayats in the event that a Panchayats is dissolved prematurely, elections must be held within six months, with the newly elected members serving out the remainder of the five year term (Article 243E)
• Mandatory reservation of seats in all Panchayats at all levels for Davits and Advises in proportion to their share of the Panchayats population (Article 243D)
• Mandatory reservation of one-third of all seats in all Panchayats at all levels for women, with the reservation for women applying to the seats reserved for Davits and Advises as well (Article 243D)
• Indirect elections to the position of Panchayats chairperson at the intermediate and district levels (Article 243C)
• Mandatory reservation of the position of Panchayats chairperson at all levels for Davits and Advises in proportion to their share in the state population (Article 243D)
• Mandatory reservation of one-third of the positions of Panchayats chairperson at all three levels for women (Article 243D)
• In addition, the act mandates the constitution of two state-level commissions: an independent election commission to supervise and manage elections to local bodies, much as the Election Commission of India manages state assembly and parliamentary elections (Article 243K); and a state finance commission, established every five years, to review the financial position of local bodies and recommend the principles that should govern the allocation of funds and taxation authority to local bodies (Article 2431).
1. Giving representation to members of the Parliament (both the Houses) and the state legislature (both the Houses) in the Panchayats at different levels falling within their constituencies.
2. Providing reservation of seats (both members and chairpersons) for backward classes in Panchayats at any level.
3. Granting powers and authority to the Panchayats to enable them to function as institutions of self-government (in brief, making them autonomous bodies).
4. Devolution of powers and responsibilities upon Panchayats to prepare plans for economic development and social justice; and to perform some or all of the 29 functions listed in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution.
5. Granting financial powers to the Panchayats, that is, authorizing them to levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls and fees.
Constitution of panchayats
Composition of panchayats
Reservation of seats
Duration of panchayats, and so on
Disqualifications for membership
Powers, authority and responsibilities of panchayats
Powers to impose taxes by, and funds of, the panchayats
Constitution of finance commission to review financial position
Audit of accounts of panchayats
Elections to the panchayats
Application to union territories
Part not to apply to certain areas
Continuance of existing laws and panchayats
Bar to interference by courts in electoral matters
1. Municipal Governance has existed since before independence where it has been created around 329 years ago, first municipal corporation to be created is Madras Municipal corporation in 1687.
2. Later Calcutta and Bombay Municipal corporations has been created in 1726. After Independence several attempts has been made by the government to lay the foundation for Municipal bodies. But these has been neglected as it is duty of state governments. Attempts has been made to create such bodies during British time through Government of India Act 1919 and 1935. Later in during the narsimha Rao Government, 74th constitutional amendment act has been passed by the parliament where a constitutional provision has framed for the creation of Municipalities.
3. Entities like District Planning commission, Metropolitan committees, ward committees, Port trusts and others have been created to remove the weakness and lay down a broad frame work and guidelines framed by the central government where it is mandatory to create such bodies.
At the central level Urban local government is being dealt by 3 ministries
• Ministry of Urban Development
• Ministry of Defence
• Ministry of Home Affairs.
74th Constitutional amendment act :- inserted new Part IX-A to the Constitution of India from Articles 243-P to 243-ZG. In addition, the act has also added a new Twelfth Schedule to the Constitution. This schedule contains eighteen functional items of municipalities. It deals with Article 243-W.
Three Types of Municipalities :- The act provides for the constitution of the following three types of municipalities in every state.
1. A nagar panchayat (by whatever name called) for a transitional area, that is, an area in transition from a rural area to an urban area.
2. A municipal council for a smaller urban area.
3. A municipal corporation for a larger urban area
• Having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration but does not have right to vote.
• The members of the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assembly representing constituencies that comprise wholly or partly the municipal area.
• The members of the Rajya Sabha and the state legislative council registered as electors within the municipal area.
• The chairpersons of committees.
Municipalities and corporations have deliberative and executive wing. In deliberative wing Corporation council, Standing committee and the mayor. Whereas the Executive wing consists of Municipal commissioner, the deputy/assistant municipal commissioner, the municipal engineer and subordinate administrative staff.
In deliberative wing members are Directly elected councillors and Nominated councillors. Size of the Directly elected councillors may vary according to the Municipal corporation. Nominated councils are to be nominated by the elected councillors of the municipal councils concerned.
The act provides for the reservation of seats for the scheduled seats and the scheduled tribes in every municipality in proportion of their population to the total population in the municipal area. Further, it provides for the reservation of not less than one-third of the total number of seats for women (including the number of seats reserved for woman belonging to the SCs and the STs).
Duration of Municipalities :- The act provides for a five year term of office for every municipality. However, it can be dissolved before the completion of its term.
Finance commission :- will be constituted for every 5 years to review the financial position of municipalities which will make recommendations of distribution between the state and the municipalities, the net proceeds of the taxes, duties, tolls and fees levied by the state and determination of the taxes, duties, tolls and fees that may be assigned to the municipalities and grants-in-aid to the municipalities from the consolidated fund of the state. The central finance commission shall also suggest the measures needed to augment the consolidated fund of a state to supplement the resources of the municipalities in the state.
The act does not apply to the scheduled areas and tribal areas in the states. It shall also not affect the functions and powers of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council of the West Bengal.
Mentioned in 243ZD of the constitution is a common item for both Panchayats and Municipalities. 4/5th members are elected members of the Panchayats and Nagarpalikas as the district level. The state Legislature has the authority over the District planning committee with respect to its composition, elections procedure and function of the committee. All the development plans are forwarded by the chair person to the state government.
There are approximately 35 metropolitan areas or cities with a population of 10 lakhs or more. These cities are administered by Municipalities. Certain cities has more than 1 municipal corporations for example: Calcutta municipal corporations has 3. The Metropolitan planning committee is thus envisaged as an inter-institutional platform for similar purposes. Subjects like Urban transport, water supply, waste management, police and health etc... are come Metropolitan area in the cities. 2/3rd members of a metropolitan planning committee should be elected by the elected members of the municipalities and chair persons of the Panchayats in the metropolitan area from amongst themselves. The Objectives and priorities set by the Government of India and the government of the state.
It contains the following 18 functional items placed within the purview of municipalities:
1. Urban planning including town planning;
2. Regulation of land use and construction of buildings;
3. Planning for economic and social development;
4. Roads and bridges;
5. Water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes;
6. Public health, sanitation, conservancy and solid waste management;
7. Fire services;
8. Urban forestry, protection of the environment and promotion of
9. Safeguarding the interests of weaker sections of society, including the handicapped and mentally retarded;
10. Slum improvement and upgradation;
11. Urban poverty alleviation;
12. Provision of urban amenities and facilities such as parks, gardens, playgrounds;
13. Promotion of cultural, educational and aesthetic aspects;
14. Burials and burial grounds, cremations and cremation grounds and electric crematoriums;
15. Cattle ponds, prevention of cruelty to animals;
16. Vital statistics including registration of births and deaths;
17. Public amenities including street lighting, parking lots, bus stops and public conveniences;and
18. Regulation of slaughter houses and tanneries.
Notified area committee :- A Notified area is any land area earmarked by legal provision for future development. It is set by government notification and not a legislative act and is so called a notified area committee. All its members and chairman are appointed by the state government and not elected. It is constituted for an area which does not meet the requirements for setting up a municipality but has potential for fast development. For example Hyderabad international Airport Limited (HIAL) was recently gazetted as a NAC(2008). It usually, includes a settlement with a population between 10,000 and 20,000. A community of over 20,000 is considered a town under Indian law.
TAC is set up by an act of the state legislature for small towns. It can have either nominated or elected members or both. It is a quasi-municipality with limited number of municipal functions like street lightning, sanitation etc. Maximum number of TACs are there in Uttar Pradesh.
The meaning for Cantonment is the temporary quarters of troops. Later it became permanent quarters. 1st cantonment was created in 1758 in Barrackpore in Bengal. About 200 to 300 years, certain civic amenities are provided to the troops. In due course of time, it has attracted the civil population to reside in the cantonments and the economic spin-offs attracted more people. 56 cantonments were established during British days. 6 cantonments were established after Independence. At present in total 62 are located in India. These are Autonomous bodies, functioning under the overall control of the central government i.e. Ministry of Defence. Majority of property is owned by the government where no tax can be levied. The 2006 act has kept 8 nominated members and 8 elected members in these boards. These are divided into 4 categories based on the population. Category I, II, III, IV with population above 50000, 10000 to 50000, 2500 to 10000 and below 2500 respectively. Period is 5 years. The Military officer commanding the station is the ex-officio president of the board and presides over its meetings.
This type of urban government is established by the large public
enterprises to provide civic amenities to its staff and workers who live in the
housing colonies built near the plant. The enterprise appoints a town
administrator to look after the administration of the township. He is assisted
by some engineers and other technical and non-technical staff. Thus, the
township form of urban government has no elected members. In fact, it is an
extension of the bureaucratic structure of the enterprises.
Port Trust :-
The port trusts are established in the port areas like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and so on for two purposes: (a) to manage and protect the ports; and (b) to provide civic amenities. A port trust is created by an Act of Parliament. It consists of both elected and nominated members. Its chairman is an official. Its civic functions are more or less similar to those of a municipality.
These are called with local names like Mahanagara palika in different states which has a population of more than 1 million. These are formed under Corporations Act 1835 of Panchayati raj system which mainly deals with essential services in every small town as well as village of a district/city. The largest corporations are in the eight metropolitan cities of India,namely Delhi,Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmadabad and
Pune. These cities not only have a large population, but are also the administrative as well as commercial centres of the country. A municipal corporation has three authorities, namely, the council, the standing committees and the commissioner. The Council is headed by a Mayor. He is assisted by a Deputy Mayor. He is elected in a majority of the states for a one-year renewable term. His main function is to preside over the meetings of the Council . The standing committees are created to facilitate the working of the council like public works, education, health, taxation, finance and so on. The municipal commissioner is responsible for the implementation of the decisions taken by the council and its standing committees. He is called as chief executive authority of the corporations.
In India, a Nagar Palika or Municipality or is an urban local body that administers a city of population 100,000 but less than 1,000,000. Under the Panchayati Raj system, it interacts directly with the state government, though it is administratively part of the district it is located in. Generally smaller district cities and bigger towns have a Nagar palika. Nagar palikas are also a form of local self-government, entrusted with some duties and responsibilities, as enshrined and guided upon by the Constitutional (74th Amendment)Act,1992. It has three authorities, namely, the council, the standing committees and the chief executive officer. Elected for a period of 5 years. The town is divided into wards according to its population, and representatives are elected from each ward. The council is headed by a president/chairman. He is assisted by a vice-president/vice-chairman. He presides over the meetings of the council. Mayor of a municipal corporation presiding over the meetings of the Council, he enjoys executive powers. The standing committees are created to facilitate the working of the council. They deal with public works, taxation, health, finance and so on. The chief executive officer/chief municipal officer is responsible for day-to-day general administration of the municipality. He is appointed by the state government.