Best Notes on Local Self Government – Panchayati Raj

Local Self Government – India’s three-tiered governing structure is composed of the central government, state government, and local self-government. Local self-government is composed of democratically elected representatives from the local population.

India has two major forms of self-government:

  1. Local self-governance in urban areas is done by corporations and municipalities.
  2. Rural areas, i.e. villages, Zila Parishad, and block samiti perform the functions of local self-governance.

The local self government allows citizens to participate at the grassroots level of society.

Local Self Government - Panchayat raj

Clear Your Concepts
Free Videos

History and Growth of Local Self Government In India

Since the beginning of time, India has had self-governing village communities. These village bodies became Panchayats slowly over time. Panchayati Raj, also known as Panchayati Raj, is India’s oldest system of local self-government. Panchayat is a term that refers to an assembly (ayat), or five (panch), people who are rulers (raj).

After 1882, Lord Rippon, who was the father of local self-government, created local self-governing bodies. These bodies were then known as local boards.

In many provinces, village panchayats became established after the 1919 Government of India Act. Rippon is well-known as the father of local self-government, but Mahatma Gandhi was also an important player in decentralizing political and economic power at grassroots levels. Gandhi advocated strengthening village panchayats and ensured that local self-governments were involved in all development initiatives.

The 73rd Constitutional Amendments and the 74th Constitutional Amendments made it mandatory that every state have both rural and urban self-governments and funding mechanisms. These bodies must also hold elections every five years.

The constitution of the local governance was created, and both urban and rural local bodies were granted the same constitutional status. This ensured that they functioned and were arranged in a uniform manner across India.

There are currently more than 250,000 self-governing bodies in the country with over 3.1 million elected representatives. Of these, 1.3 Million are women.

How is the Local Self Government System Structured?

Three governing bodies are available in rural areas. The Zila Parishad (or district council) is at the top. The Zila Parishad is composed of panchayat Samitis or block councils. Panchayat Samitis consist of gram panchayats or village councils. Each village has a gram Sabha, which is anyone over the age of 18 in that village. The members of the gram sabha have the right to directly elect panchayat members.

There are three self-governing local bodies in urban areas:

  • Municipal corporations (Mahanagar palikas) are established in areas with a population greater than a million.
  • For areas less than 1 million people, there are Municipalities (Nagar Palikas).
  • Nagar Panchayats, or Town Councils, are for areas that are in the middle of urban to rural transition.

They may be further divided into wards in large urban areas.

The Panchayati Raj Institutions structure (PRIs), in the case of panchayats, remains the same throughout India. This system of governance is not applicable to India’s scheduled and tribal areas. To be eligible for a Gram Panchayat, a village must have at least 500 inhabitants. The villagers elect the panchayat members directly, for a term of five years.

Functions of Local Self Government

These local bodies have the primary goal of promoting local economic development, social justice and infrastructure development. These are the functions of local government:

  • To construct basic infrastructure such as roads, power lines and transport. Schools, hospitals, and other institutions.
  • To build and maintain community assets
  • To encourage the growth of agriculture through proper irrigation and water management, land improvement and soil conservation
  • To promote education
  • To improve health facilities and increase awareness about health
  • To encourage small-scale industry in the village
  • Social forestry, dairy, poultry and animal husbandry are necessary to develop.

Local government bodies also have the responsibility of implementing many schemes that are proposed by the state to develop urban and rural areas.

The India Institute of Local Self-Government was founded in 1926 to assist local governments in determining how to best govern. This institute serves as a guide for all urban bodies and raises awareness about governance, capacity building, education, and urban education. The All India Institute of Local Self-Government assists local governments to improve their administrative skills. They ensure that various development programs are properly implemented.

Indian HistoryPhysics
Indian PolityChemistry
EconomicsGeneral Awareness
Quantitative AptitudeComputer Awareness
Reasoning IntelligenceFSSAI

Panchayati Raj under the Local self government

  • Ensures the direct participation of people at the grass root level.
  • In 1956, the National Development Council appointed a committee under Balwant Rai Mehta, which submitted its report in 1957 in which it recommended:
  • A 3-tier structure consisting of Zila Parishad at the District Level, Panchayat Samiti at the Block Level and Gram Panchayat at the Village Level.
  • All social & economic development programmes are channelized through these.
  • The 3-tier system of Panchayat Raj was 1st adopted by Rajasthan (Nagaur District) on Oct 2, 1959.

Three Tier System

It envisages Panchayat at the village level, Panchayat Samitis at the block level & Zila Parishad at the district level.

a. Village Panchayat

  • It consists of elected representatives of the people.
  • Seats are reserved for SC, ST, women, etc.
  • Chairman is elected from among its members, known as ‘Sarpanch’.
  • The Panchayat is accountable for all its actions to the Gram Sabha, the general body of villagers.
  • Gram Sabha consists of all the adults residing within the jurisdiction of the Panchayat.
  • It exercises general supervision over the working of the Panchayat & lays down necessary guidelines for its working.

b. Block and Panchayat Samiti

  • The block, consisting of 20-60 villagers is administered through a Panchayat Samiti, consisting of indirectly elected members of the village panchayat.
  • The chairman of Panchayat Samiti is called ‘Pradhan’.

c. Zilla Parishad

  • It is the top level of the 3-tier structure.
  • Elect its chairman from amongst its members who are known as the District Collector.

Ashok Mehta Committee

  • Appointed in Dec 1977 by the Janta govt
    • Submitted its report in 1978, which said:- Replacement of 3-tier system by a 2-tier system consisting of Mandal Panchayats at the base (consisting of a group of villages comprising a population of 15,000 to 20,000) & the Zila Parishad at the top.
  • In Dec 1992 73rd constitutional amendment was passed to decentralize the power, down to the village level. It said (envisaged):
    1. Panchayati Raj institutions to be constituted through direct elections, with reservation as well.
    2. Fixed term of 5 yrs, & if dissolved earlier, elections must be held within 6 months.
    3. They are authorized to make laws concerning the economic & social development of villages. These have been listed in the eleventh schedule & comprise 29 subjects.

Have You Downloaded Our App?

Get Courses & Test-series at Affordable Prices

Important Questions on Local Self Government

Questions 1
The subject of Panchayati Raj is in [UP Lower Sub. (Pre) 2015 39th BPSC (Pre) 2005]
(A) Concurrent List
(B) Union List
(C) State List
(D) Residual List

Questions 2
The elections to Panchayats are to be held after [Uttarakhand UDA/LDA (Pre) 2001]
(A) Every four years
(B) Every five years
(C) Every six years
(D) At the Government’s descretion

Questions 3
Who among the following is authorized to make provisions with respect to the composition of Panchayats? [UPPCS (Pre) 2016]
(A) Governor of State
(B) Legislature of State
(C) Parliament of India
(D) President of India

Questions 4
The decision to conduct Panchayat Elections is taken by which of the following? [47th BPSC (Pre) 2005]
(A) The Central Government
(B) The State Government
(C) The District Judge
(D) The Election Commission

Questions 5
Which one of the following is not concerned with the Panchayats? [UPPCS (Mains) 2010]
(A) The State Election Commission will conduct Panchayat elections
(B) The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act
(C) There shall be a fixed five-year term for all the Panchayats
(D) Fresh elections would have to be held within six months of the dissolution of a Panchayat

FAQs on Local Self Government

Who constitutes the ‘Finance Commission’ to review the financial position of the Panchayats?

The Governor of the concerned State constitutes the ‘Finance Commission’ to review the financial position of the Panchayats.

Who were the Prime Minister of India at the time of the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution of India pertaining to Panchayats and Nagarpalikas?

P V Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister of India at the time of the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution of India pertaining to Panchayats and Nagarpalikas.

The provision regarding Panchayats and Municipalities was made in the Indian Constitution in ___

The provision regarding Panchayats and Municipalities was made in the Indian Constitution in 1993.

In which Article, the provision on the reservation of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes to Panchayat has been given?

The provision of reservation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats has been given in Article 243D.

Which amendment to the Indian Constitution, provides Constitutional status to the ‘Panchayati Raj System’?

73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution provides Constitutional status to the ‘Panchayati Raj System’.

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top
Last updated: August 17, 2023 Updated on 8:52 AM