Editorials, GS-2, Indian Polity, Uncategorized

True Panchayati Raj

Context

Government wants meaningful self-governance at the grassroots level

How the government intends to do it

Strengthening gram panchayats and a belief in 3D’s – decentralisation, devolution and development

Issue

States are asking for more powers which is rightly so, but the states are less interested in giving powers to the local bodies along with Funds, Functions and Functionaries

Who is to blame for panchayats not fully empowered

  • Granting financial powers and authority to panchayats, reserving seats for backward classes fall in the voluntary domain of the states.
  • Majority of states are showing little interest in devolving power and funds to local bodies and are taking only half-hearted measures.
  • Democracy would be more meaningful and robust when people participate in running their own affairs.
  • Fully empower rural local bodies in terms of devolution of funds, decentralisation of powers, and allow people to have a greater say in local area development.

What is the government’s plan

  • Grants of Rs.2,00,292 crore to gram panchayats directly which has been released this year( this action was in sync with the recommendations of 14th finance commission)
  • The fund availability at the GP level would now be Rs 2,404 per capita over five years and Rs 17 lakh a year (Rs 85 lakh for five years) for the average GP
  • Lakhs of engineers are being trained to help gram panchayats prepare plans
  • Based on the plans prepared by panchayats, the grant has to be spent on basic services, such as sanitation, drinking water and maintenance of community assets.
  • Reservation of women to 50% from 33%

Panchayati Raj

  • Panchayats got constitutional recognition, system formalised in India in 1992
  • 73rd constitutional amendment transferred 29 items to local bodies
  • Setting up state election commissions and finance commissions to conduct elections and enhance resources for local bodies, reserving one-third seats for women and, in proportion to their population, for SCs and STs in all three tiers, apart from forming gram sabhas with people’s participation.
  • April 24 is National Panchayati Raj day

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