Source: www.livemint.com

In India, the Panchayati Raj system holds a great significance in order to bring ruler governance closer to the people. Rural and local administrative issues are best resolved through local government agencies as these are the best equipped with knowledge and experience to tackle local issues. The Panchayat Raj is certainly a local self-governing body that looks after the matters of any locality, specifically in Indian regions.

Every year, the Ministry of Panchayat Raj organizes the National Panchayat Raj day or the National Local Self Government Day. After the approval of the 73rd Amendment Bill, 1992 that came into force from 24th April 1993, formed the Panchayati Raj System across the nation through the village, intermediate and district-level panchayat celebrates the National Panchayati Raj Day, and India observed the first National Panchayat Raj Day on 24th April 2010. And this Panchayat Raj system is particularly for the rural areas where local administrative affairs are kept in check and resolved by this governing body.

India being the world’s largest democracy, with a high population and large areas, the highest authority in the region does not get an actual scenario of the issues faced by the rural population. So, it was decided that the authority of democracy should be decentralized, and in order to fulfill this need, a committee was constituted in 1957 under the chairmanship of Balwantrai Mehta. This committee recommended the democratic decentralization of authority. Hence, the concept of Panchayati Raj was constituted in India for the first time in history.

As an institution, the Panchayati Raj is a dynamic substitute for improved local governance and consequently it's required that government should emphasize more on workable decentralization and bring in precision in the duty of the panchayat, or else, it will remain as a tool for implementing the central and state schemes only. The biggest aspect of National Panchayati Raj is that the political power is in the hands of common people.

Presently, almost every village, block, and district have a separate leader that runs the administration of that specific territory, to supervise the Panchayat Raj system in India, a separate Ministry of Panchayati Raj was constituted on 27th May 2004. When the concept of Panchayati Raj was constituted in India for the first time in history, Rajasthan became the first state in India where the Panchayati Raj system was implemented. And this whole scheme was inaugurated by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 2nd October 1959, in Nagpur district. This scheme was later on implemented in Andhra Pradesh in 1959 itself.

Through the 3 tiers system of the local self-government, the Government of India focuses on the effective implementation of distinct rural activities that will benefit the lakhs of its rural population. The three tiers of the Panchayat system in India are Village Panchayat, Block Panchayat or the Mandal Samithi and Zilla Parishad or the District Panchayat. The central government also felicitates 170 Panchayati Raj institutions on the National Panchayat Raj Day each year. It awards the three-tier panchayats with the Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar for their exemplary work under the Panchayat Empowerment Accountability Incentive Scheme. And the best performers get facilitated with the Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar.

Any state may authorize a Panchayat to charge, collect taxes, enact duties, tolls, fees, and many other things. Some other significant decisions may also be given to the Panchayats from the Consolidated Fund of the State for the development of that area. And now it can be said that the start of the Panchayati Raj system in the nation is a good step for the decentralization of the power in the hands of many people. And it can be seen as a positive step taken by the government as Panchayat Raj plays a crucial role at the grass-root levels of India's democracy.


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