National Panchayati Raj Day 2020: Current Theme, History and Significance
History of Panchayati Raj in India;
India is a very vast country and it is called the world's largest democracy. Due to the high population and large area in many states, the person sitting at the highest post (I mean Chief Minister of the state) in the state does not get actual scenario of the problems faced by the people of rural areas. So it was decided that the power of democracy should be decentralised.
In order to fulfill this requirement; a committee was constituted in 1957 under the chairmanship of Balwantrai Mehta. The Committee recommended the democratic decentralization of power. Hence the concept of Panchayati Raj was constituted in India for the first time in history.
The Committee recommended a 3 tier Panchayati Raj System in the country;
A). Gram Panchayat at the village level
B). Panchayat Samiti at Block level
C). Zila Parishad at District level
Rajasthan was the first state in the country where the Panchayati Raj system was implemented. This scheme was inaugurated by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on October 2, 1959, in Nagaur district. This scheme was later on implemented in the Andhra Pradesh in 1959 itself.
Significance of National Panchayati Raj day;
The reason for celebrating Panchayati Raj day is the 73rd Constitution Amendment Act, 1992. The passing of the 73rd Constitution Amendment Act, 1992 came into force with effect from 24 April 1993. So the National Panchayati Raj Diwas (Day) is celebrated every year in India on 24th April.
The most significant aspect of this day is the diversification of political power in the hands of common men. Now it seems that every village, block, and district has a separate Chief Minister to run the administration of that particular territory.
In order to supervise Panchayati Raj System in India, a separate Ministry of Panchayati Raj was constituted on 27th May 2004. The National Panchayati Raj day is observed in the country since 24 April 2010.
Development of Panchayati Raj System in India;
Panchayati Raj System is assumed to be started in India since April 24, 1992. Since then it is spreading its wings in all regions of the country.
There are 2.54 lakh Panchayats in our country, out of which 2.47 lakh are gram panchayats, 6283 are block Panchayats and 595 are district Panchayats. There are over 29 lakh Panchayat representatives in the country.
The 14th Finance Commission had allocated more than 2 lakh crore Rupees to Gram Panchayats for 5 years to undertake physical and social infrastructure projects in the villages.
Ministry of Panchayati Raj commemorates the following awards to the Panchayats. These awards are given to the best performing Panchayats on every 24th of April.
1. Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar (NDRGGSP) to Gram Panchayats for outstanding performance of Gram Sabha.
2. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar (DDUPSP) in General and Thematic categories for all three levels of Panchayats.
3. Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award
4. Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) Award: To be conferred upon three best performing Gram Panchayats across the country.
Powers, Authority, and Responsibilities of Panchayats:
State Legislatures have the legislative powers to confer on Panchayats such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government. They may be entrusted with the responsibility of preparing plans and implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice.
Powers to Impose Taxes and Financial Resources
A state may authorise a Panchayat to levy, collect taxes, impose duties, tolls, fees, etc. The grants-in-aid may be given to the Panchayats from the Consolidated Fund of the State for the development of the area.
In conclusion it can be said that the commencement of the Panchayati Raj system in the country is a good step for the decentralisation of the power in the hands of many people.