Mains Daily Question
Feb. 5, 2021

  1. Constitutionalisation of Panchayati Raj paved the way for grass root empowerment in India. In this regard discuss the salient features of the 73rd amendment Act, 1992.

Approach

  • Introduce with how 73rd Amendment Act, 1992 was significant

  • Discuss the salient features of this act

  • Conclude Appropriately

Model Answer

The 73rd amendment Act, 1992 has given practical shape to the Directive Principles of State Policy by constitutionalizing the local governance through establishment of Panchayati Raj in India, which transformed the representative democracy into a participatory one.

Its salient features are:

  1. Three tier system: In every state, the panchayat will be at three levels i.e, village, intermediate and district level.

  2. Gram Sabha: Village assembly comprises of all registered voters in the area of a panchayat and serves as the foundation of Panchayati Raj. The powers and functions of a Gram Sabha are determined by the respective state legislatures.

  3. Election of representatives: All members at all levels are directly elected by people. The chairperson of panchayat at village level is elected as per provisions of the state legislature and chairperson of panchayat at remaining two tiers are elected indirectly by and from amongst elected members.

  4. Reservations: There is proportionate reservation for SCs and STs at every level of the Panchayati Raj. Also, women are provided with minimum one-third reservations at all the levels of panchayats. The state legislature may also make provisions for reservations of OBCs.

  5. Duration: A panchayat is given a five-year term, but it can be dissolved before its completion of the term. A definite timeline is given for holding fresh elections and if a panchayat is dissolved prematurely, then the reconstituted panchayat will hold office only for the remaining period.

  6. State Election Commission: The conduct of Panchayati Raj elections is vested in the state election commission consisting of a state election commissioner appointed by the Governor of the state.

  7. State Finance Commission: The Governor of a state will, after every five years, constitute a finance commission to review the financial position of panchayats. 

However, the performance of Panchayats has lot left to be desired, especially in light of limited powers and financial autonomy provided to them by the States. A lot can be done to improve the performance of panchayats, including greater financial autonomy, capacity building, infrastructure improvement and less bureaucratic control. To make it truly participatory, the 3Fs (Functions, Funds, And Functionaries) of Panchayati Raj needs to be strengthened.

Subjects : Polity
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