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Panchayati raj system of India

Panchayats have been the backbone of the Indian villages since the beginning of recorded history. The village panchayats, in one shape or other, have survived in spite of all upheavals and changes in India. Panchayati Raj is identified as an institutional expression of democratic decentralization in India. These bodies had occupied a prestigious position and they were considered as the self-sufficient and small republics. Panchayati Raj Institutions have always been considered as a means of good governance which offer citizens living in rural areas a practical opportunity to participate in village level decision making and planning process.

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Gandhiji- the father of nation had aptly remarked that the Indian independence must begin at the bottom and every village ought to be republic or panchayats having powers. Gandhiji’s dream has been translated into reality with the introduction of the three-tier panchayati raj system to ensure people’s participation in rural reconstruction. Panchayati Raj is a decentralised form of governance in which each village is responsible for its own affairs and in which Gram Panchayat is the basic unit of administration.

It also means gross-root democracy because people at the gross-root level i.e. the village level are able to participate in the management of their affairs. Panchayati Raj becomes very important in the in the Indian context where more than 70 percent of the people live in villages. In such a situation Panchayati Raj assumes a very effective role in the political education of rural folk. It happens to be the most effective instrument of ensuring the involment of common people in the process of governance by guaranteeing them a role in the formulation and execution of policies and programmes of rural development.

The Panchayat acts as conduit between the local government and the people. Decisions are taken by the majority vote, and are generally welcomed by the villegers. It is said that in such a system, each villager can voice his opinion in the governance of his villages. Panchayati Raj system establishes a linkage between local leadership enjoying confidence of local people an d the government, and translate the policies of the government into action. It plays an important role for rural development in general and especially upliftment of down-trodden people in rural area.

The passage of the 73rd constitutional amendment act 1992 marks a new era in the federal democtaric setup of the country and provides constitutional status to the panchayati raj institutions. The panchayati raj in India provides the broadest representative base that exists in any country of the world- developed or under-developed. In this term paper apart from tracing the history of village panchayats, a systematic attempt have been made to study the panchayati raj institutions in india. This term paper also examines the structure and functioning and implementation of panchahayati raj institutions in the light of 73rd constitutional amendment act 1992 in the states of West Bengal, Karnataka, kerala and Andhra Pradesh as a model for participatory local governance.

This term paper dwells the importance of a participatory democracy in india for strengthening the panchayati raj institutions. Evolution and Growth of Panchayati Raj in India. India has a chequered history of Panchayati Raj starting from a self-sufficient and self-governing village communities that survived the rise and fall of empires in the past to the modern legalized institutions of governance at the third tier provided with Constitutional support.(1) The roots of Panchayati Raj in India go back to ancient period where Panchayats enjoyed extensive powers. They had a remarkable autonomy alongwith a fair percentage of the land tax and other revenues collected in their respective areas with the power to utilize them for local needs.(2) These local bodies in India were the outcome of natural groupings and associations. It was these local institutions that made people essentially ‘self-governing’ and enjoy affairs and interests. These institutions have existed from as early as 1200 BC. In the Rig Veda era, there have been ample evidences that show that villages of India had a ‘sabha’ and with time they came to be known as Panchayats i.e. a council of 5 people. These Panchayats had both judicial and executive powers. Likewise during the Mauryan period (3rd century BC) and Guptan period (4th and 5th AD) a lot of powers were delegated to the local governing bodies.(3) Each village Panchayat decided its own cases and hardly a matter was referred to the central government.

The idea of Panch Parmeshwar i.e., God resides among the five villages panches was quite common.(4) It is because of these village communities that the Indian civilization has distinguished itself in the arena of continuity. While the other civilizations rose, flourished and declined, the Indian civilization is still continuing.(5) The institute of Panchayat used to perform the functions of the Raj during ancient period. It not only performed the function of system maintenance but also defended the village community from external threats. In other words the Panchayat used to perform not only the police and judicial functions but also those of the defence. Moreover, it enjoyed considerable autonomy. Despite some

erosion in their powers as a result of the administrative, judicial and revenue system introduced by the Afghans and Mughals in the medieval India, the Panchayats continued to perform the functions of the Raj i.e, the police and judicial functions during the pre-colonial period to a considerable extent. That is why Charles Metcalf, the provinsional Governor General of India (1835-36) described the village communities as “The little Republics.”(6) Prior to the establishment of British Raj in India, the Indian villages were self-sufficient economic entities with governance functions delegated to the Panchayats. Karl Marx termed these self-sufficient and local governing units as “Indian form of Communism.” The laws and norms which formed the basis of governance of these Panchayats were based on the local culture, customs and mores.(7) However it was British rule in India that destroyed the village community system in order to convert India into a colony which would supply raw materials to the British industries and serve a readymade market for the British industrial goods. The practice of land revenue collection by the village communities (Mahalwari system) was abolished and instead a direct settlement with the Feudal chiefs and revenue collectors (zamindars) and individual cultivators (Ryotwari system) was introduced.(8) The panchayat had never been the priority of British rulers.

The rulers were interested in the creation of ‘controlled’ local bodies, which could help them in their trading interests by collecting taxes for them.(9) During the British rule, the autonomy of panchayats gradually declined with the establishment of highly centralized system of administration in which the functions performed by the village communities were handed over to new judicial and administrative officers appointed by the British Raj. (10) Instead of using the indigenous institution, the British created the offices of Zaildar, Nambardar and Chowkidar for management of village communities. Besides, the elaborate revenue and the police administration system were created by them which virtually gave a fatal blow to the institution of Gram Panchayat.(11) But the British administration latter also realised the importance of local self-government in such a vast country like India. local self governments were developed in big cities like Madras, Bombay and Calcutta. In 1870 Lord Mayo introduced his scheme for the decentralisation of administration in which the development of local self government in villages was given due importance. But the rural committees envisaged under the scheme were largely nominated and the object was to tap local resources of revenue. In 1882, lord Ripon declared his historic resolution called Ripon’s Resolution according to which the local self government in rural areas was ushered in. The objective of local rural bodies was to make local self government “an instrument of political and proper education.” The provincial governments were asked to: 1) Maintain and extend throughout the country a network of institutions of local self- government especially in rural areas. 2) Introduce a large number of non-official members in these bodies. The number of official members should not be more than 1/3rd of the total membership. 3) To exercise control over these bodies from without and not within.(12) Lord Ripon was hailed as the Father of local self-government in India. He wanted least official control over the Local bodies. However the ‘Ripon Resolution’, met with resistance from colonial administrators. The progress of local self-government was tardy with only half-hearted steps taken in setting up municipal bodies. Rural decentralization remained a neglected area of administrative reform. (13) The Royal Commission on Decentralisation (1907) under the

chairmanship of C.E.H Hobhouse recognised the importance of panchayats at the village level. The commission recommended the creation and development of Village Panchayats as units of local administration. The commission observed that the foundation of any strong edifice which shall associate the people with the administration must be the Village.(14) Therefore the village
panchayats in all provinces were created during the 2nd decade of the 20th century. For illustration, village panchayats were created in the Province of Punjab through the enactment of Punjab Village Panchayat Act, 1912. Similar statutes were enacted for this purpose in other provinces too. But unfortunately the British did not want to restore the Raj (rule) of the Panchayats. They did not want to give the police and judicial functions to them. Their objective was different.They wanted to lighten the financial burden of the provincial governments and hence created Village Panchayats so that these could perform civic functions by mobilising their own resources. However, these panchayats did get petty judicial powers after the introduction of Dyarchy in 1921 through the implementation of the Government of India Act, 1919. For instance, the Punjab Village Panchayat Act, 1921 which had been moved by Fazi-i Hussain, a Minister in Punjab Government gave such judicial powers to village Panchayats despite the perception of the colonial regime that Panchayats are engines of injustice. These changes took place because the local self government had become a transferred subject under the scheme of Dyarchy and had been given to the Indian minister in the provinces instead of having been left in the category of the reserved functions. But the transfer of petty judicial power did not create Panchayati Raj. The Raj remained with the colonial administration.(15) The Provincial autonomy under the Government of India Act,

1935, marked a great move in the direction of democratising local bodies and strengthening them. Popularly elected governments in provinces enacted legislations to further democratise institutions of local self-government. But the system of responsible government at the gross-roots level was least responsible. D.P Mishra, the then minister for local self-government under the government of India Act 1935 in the central provinces was of the view that, “the working of our local bodies in our province and perhaps in the whole country presents a tragic picture ‘Inefficiency’ and ‘Local body’ have become synonymous terms”.(16). Inspite of the various committees such as the Royal Commission on Decentralization(1907), the report of Montague and Chemsford on Constititional reforms (1919) etc,. a hierarchical administrative structure based on supervision and control evolved. The
administrator becomes the focal point of rural governance. The British were not concerned with decentralized democracy but aiming for colonial objectives. (17) In the movement for independence, the Panchayats of ancient times were eulogised as democratic “Little Republics.” Gandhi sought to recapture that ideal in a revitalisation of village life. According to him, “Indian independence must begin at the bottom. Thus every village will be a republic or Panchayat having full powers. It follows, therefore, that every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs even in the extent of defending itself aganist the whole world.”(18) His concept of democratic decentralization bears the stamp of his passionate belief in non-violence, truth and individual freedom. He calls it Panchayati Raj-Village swaraj. Mahatma Gandhi emphasized the need for Panchayati Raj because real India lives in its villages. So villages held an important place in Gandhiji’s scheme of life and social organisation. He was of the view that India can not survive if the villages die and these can be saved only through Gram Swaraj- village self governance.(19) During the freedom movement, there were divergent views

regarding the role of panchayats in the modern India. The protagonists of Panchayati Raj (like Gandhi) were of the view that these institutions should play a foremost role in the nation building process as these institutions would make democracy more vibrant. On the other hand there were leaders (like Ambedkar) who had diametric opposite views on the village Panchayats. These leaders considered local governing institutions as parochial in nature which perpetuated the caste hegemony and male dominance. While Champions of Panchayati Raj like Gandhi were determined to achieve village Swaraj and strengthen the village level administration with Gram Panchayat as the governing body, Dr. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, thought that putting the power into the hands of the village folk will contribute in the regression of the country as Indian villages were underdeveloped and a strong power needed to bring it into the level of development of the urban India. Gandhiji’s argument was based on the fact that, setting up of village level governing bodies will enable the villagers to take decisions which were more suitable and feasible for the implementation in a particular area, based on the specific problems
of that area. On the other hand, Dr. Ambedkar’s opinion that the villagers were ignorant, narrow minded and could be easily swayed by the communalism, thus incapable of taking decisions which could contribute to the betterment of the village and the entire country in the long run. There was no consensus among the top leaders regarding the status and role to be assigned to the institution of rural local self-government. So, the first draft of the Constitution evidently did not have the provision for Panchayats.(20) When Mahatma Gandhi discovered that there was no mention of Panchayati Raj in the earlier draft of the constitution, he insisted on its inclusion in the revised draft, because Panchayati Raj was an important component of his vision of future India. He said that in a democracy, dencentralization of political and economic power is essential, because a few centres of power can not realise or fulfil the needs of vast multitudes of people. If India is to develop the power and responsibilities must be be shared by all. Gandhi felt that people’s voice should be reflected in our independence through panchayats, and therefore, “the greater is the power of panchayats, the better is for the people.”(21) Therefore, Gandhi’s stubbornness with the idea of Panchayati Raj finding a place in the constitutional framework of the country persuaded the constitution makers to provide for the creation of Village Panchayat as a local self-government in Article 40 (part III) of the non- justifiable Directive Principles of State policy. The Article reads, “the state shall take steps to organise village Panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.” (22) Also Article 246 empowers the State Legislature to legislate with respect to any subject relating to self-government. As a result, it becomes obligatory on the part of state governments to ensure the proper functioning of Panchayati Raj as the subject was placed in the state list.(23) However, no worthwhile legislation was enacted either at the national or state level to implement it. In the four decades since the adoption of the Constitution, Panchayati Raj Institutions have travelled from the non justifiable part of the constitution to the one where, it enjoys constitutional status through a separate constitutional amendment, a whole new status has been added to their history.(24)

Section 2) Panchayati Raj in Post-Independence of India
It is widely accepted that self-governing institutions at the rural local level are essential for national growth and for effective people’s participation and that they are an integral and indispensible part of the democratic process. “Grassroots of democracy”, based on small units of government, enables people to feel a sense of responsibility and to inculcate the values of democracy.(1) In Independent India, the first organized effort to tackle the problem of rural India was made through Community Development Programme in 1952 and National Extension Service in 1953. The programme was based on an integrated approach to the various aspects of rural development. The objectives were to promote self-help and self-reliance among the rural people, to generate a process of integrated social, economic and cultural change with the aim of transforming social and political life of the villagers. Community Development Programme was launched in 55 selected blocks. The programme was based on an integrated approach to the various aspects of rural development. The programme made provisions for appointing Block Development Officers [BDO] and Village Level Workers [V.L.W].(2) It was hoped that the programme will bring about a silent revolution in rural society by bringing an all round improvement in the living standards of rural population on democratic lines, but failed to take off along the expected lines due to the absence of an effective instrument for people’s participation.(3) Balwant Rai Mehta Committee:- 1957

The failure of this programme led to the setting up of Balwant Rai Mehta Committee in January 1957 to examine the working of the Community Development Programme and the National Extension Service and to suggest the remedial measures for their better working. The Committee submitted its report in November 1957 and recommended the establishment of the scheme of “democratic decentralization” which ultimately came to be known as Panchayati Raj. It recommended the setting up of elected and organically linked democratic bodies at the village, block and the district levels and entrusting all the planning and developmental activities of the bodies.(5) The major recommendations of Balwant Rai Mehta Committee are:- 1) There should be a three tier panchayati raj system – gram panchayat at the village level, panchayat samiti at the block level and zila parishad
at the district level. These tiers should be organically linked to one another. 2) The village panchayat should be constituted with directly elected representatives, where as the panchayat samitis and zila parishad should be with indirectly elected members. 3) All planning and developmental activities should be entrusted to these bodies. 4) There should be genuine transfer of power and responsibilities to these democratic bodies. 5) The panchayat samiti should be the executive body while the zila parishad should be the advisory, coordinating and supervisory body. 6) Adequate resources should be transferred to these bodies to enable them to discharge their functions and fulfil their responsibilities 7) The three tier system should facilitate further devolution and disposal of powers and responsibilities in future. The committee recommended the encouragement of people’s participation in community work, promotion of agriculture and animal husbandry, promoting the welfare of the weaker sections and women through the Panchayats.(6) In 1958, the National Development Council accepted the recommendations of the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee and the central government called upon the states to implement these recommendations in their respective areas through appropriate legal enactments.(7) The National Development Council agreed that while the broad patterns and the fundamentals of the Panchayati Raj Institutions might be uniform, there should not be any rigidity in the details of the pattern, in view of the vastness of the country and the complexity of its problems. What is most important is the genuine transfer of power to the people. If this is ensured, the form and pattern could vary according to the conditions prevailing in different states.(8) Rajasthan was the first state to establish Panchayati Raj. The scheme was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on October 2, 1959 in Nagpur district. Thereafter Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, West Bengal and infact all states gradually introduced Panchayati Raj by enacting appropriate legislative acts. Thus the whole of the rural India came under the Panchayati Raj System.(9) At the time of introduction of the Panchayati Raj in various States of the Union, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru observed, “the Panchayati Raj is the most revolutionary thing happening in India, because behind it are hidden all the forces which when released will change the structure of the whole country.” In fact the Panchayati Raj
constitutes a major mechanism for securing democratic decentralization, rural local self government, community development and socio-economic-cultural development of Indian villages.(10) Till the mid sixties, Panchayati Raj System flourished in India. However, after mid-sixties, Panchayati Raj lost its glamour mainly because of the centralized tendencies of functioning all over the country. The elections were not held regularly and the participation of people weakened in these bodies. Inefficiency, corruption, favouritism, uncertainty and irregularity led to their decline. Most of the development programmes were kept out of their preview. Centrally sponsored schemes were initiated; parallel administrative bodies were created and government reduced funds considerably. During the period of national emergency, bureaucracy got the upper hand and these institutions lost their significance. The village panchayats were made subordinate units of government to implement its programmes.(11) Ashok Mehta Committee-1977

In this back drop the Janata government appointed a high level committee on Panchayati Raj Institutions comprising fourteen members, belonging to different parties, under the chairmanship of Ashok Mehta in December1977. The committee was entrusted with the task of enquiring into the causes responsible for the poor performance of Panchayati Raj Institutions.(13) The committee submitted its report in August 1978 and made 132 recommendations to revive and strengthen the declining Panchayati Raj system in the country. In its report, the Ashok Mehta Committee felt that except for Maharashtra and Gujarat Panchayati Raj Institutions have been rarely given an opportunity to take up planning or implementational work on a sizeable scale. There have been structural weaknesses in the system whereby several developmental programmes were kept outside the orbit of these institutions. The bureaucracy also played its role in the weakening of the Panchayati raj. What is more there was no political will to support these institutions. The lukewarm attitude of the political elite at higher levels towards democratic process at the root of the matter. There was a lack of conceptual clarity relating to the role of these institutions. Further these were dominated by economically and socially privileged sections of the society. Political factionalism was rampant in them. All these factors had led to erosion of
faith in Panchayati Raj Institutions.(14) The major recommendations of the committee are:-

1) The three tier system of Panchayati Raj should be replaced by the two tier system, that is, zila perished at the district level, and below it, the mandal panchayat at the gross-root level. 2) A district should be the first point for decentralization under popular supervision below the state level. 3) Zila parishad should be the executive body and made responsible for the planning at the district level. 4) The state government should not supersede the Panchayati Raj Institutions. In case of an imperative supersession, elections should be held within six months from the date of supersession. 5) The Panchayati Raj Institutions should have compulsory powers of taxation to mobiles their own financial resources 6) There should be regular elections to these bodies and open participation of the political parties. 7) The voluntary agencies should play an important role in mobilising the support of the people for Panchayati Raj. 8) There should be the reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes on the basis of their population.(15) Due to the collapse of the Janata Government before the completion of its term, no action could be taken on the recommendations of the Ashok Mehta Committee at the central level. However, the three states i.e., Karnataka, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh took steps to revitalise the Panchayati Raj, keeping in view of some of the recommendations of the Ashok Mehta Committee (16) G.V.K Rao in 1985

With the fall of Janata party government in 1980 and Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s coming back to power the idea of decentralization once again was pushed back. However with the expansion of anti-poverty programmes and setting up of district rural development agencies and other related organisations at the lower levels, the need for integration of Panchayati Raj system with development programmes and administration was felt. In this connection the committee on Administrative Arrangements for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation Programmes under the chairmanship of G.V.K Rao was appointed in 1985. The Committee came to the conclusion that the developmental process was gradually bureaucratised and divorced from the Panchayati Raj. Hence it recommended for the revival of Panchayati Raj Institutions so that greater
responsibility of planning, implementation, and monitoring of developmental programmes could be assigned to them.(17) L.M Singhiv committee 1986

In 1986, Rajiv Gandhi government appointed a committee on “Revitalization of Panchayati Raj Institutions for Democracy and Development” under the chairmanship of L.M Singhiv. The Committee recommended that the Panchayati Raj Institutions should constitutionally recognized and protected. New chapter in the constitution should be provided to define their powers and functions and free, fair and regular elections to be conducted through the Election Commission. The Committee recommended for the appointment of Finance Commission and all the rural development programmes are entrusted to the Panchayati Raj Institutions.(18) Constitutionalisation

In response to the above recommendations, Rajiv Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India introduced the 64th Constitutional Amendment Bill in lok Sabha in July 1989 to constitutionalise Panchayati Raj Institutions and make them more powerful and broad based. Prime Minister was keen to create an inclusive system of Panchayati Raj for inclusive development.(19) The main features of this bill were:-

1) All states have three tier Panchayati Raj system.
2) Regular elections will be held after five years for these Panchayati Raj bodies under the control and supervision of Chief Election Commissioner. 3) All seats in all Panchayati Raj bodies will be filled through direct elections. 4) Panchayati Raj bodies will receive their finances from state governments and will also be able to earn by imposing taxes, duties, tools and fees on the commodities falling under their preview. 5) 30 percent of seats in the Panchayati Raj bodies will be reserved for women. Reservation of seats for SC/ST will be in proportion of their population. 6) Panchayati Raj bodies will prepare plans for economic development, social justice and social welfare of their population. 7) Strict accounting procedures will be laid down to control corruption and misuse of funds by Panchayats. Comptroller and Auditor General of India will supervise the accounts.(20) Although the Lok Sabha passed the bill in August 1989, it was not approved by the Raj Sabha. The bill was vehemently opposed by the opposition on the
ground that it sought to strengthen centralization in the federal system.(21) The second attempt was made in September 1990 by the National Front Government under Prime Ministership of V.P Singh to pass the bill in the Parliament . However, the fall of government resulted in the lapse of the bill.(22) 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act 1992

In September 1991, a fresh bill on Panchayati Raj was introduced by the Congress government under P.V. Narasimha Roa, the then Prime Minister. It was passed in 1992 as the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act 1992 with minor modifications and came into force on 24 April, 1993. This Act has added a new part-9 to the Constitution of India. It is entitled as “The Panchayats” and consists of provisions from Articles 243A to 243O. In addition, the act has also added a fresh Schedule called Eleventh Schedule to the constitution. It contains 29 functional items of the panchayats.(23) The act has given a practical shape to Article 40 of the Constitution which says that “the State shall take steps to organise village Panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as unit of self –government.” This article forms a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy. The act gives a constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. It has brought them under the Justifiable part of the Constitution. In other words, the state governments are under constitutional obligation to adopt the new Panchayati Raj system in accordance with the provisions of the act.(24) The main features of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act are as follows:- 1) In all the states there shall be a Gram Sabha in each village comprising all eligible voters in the village to which the panchayat will be accountable. 2) All states will have three-tier Panchayati Raj system (except the states whose population is less than 20 lakhs), panchayats at the village level, intermediate level and district level. 3) All the members of the village panchayats, intermediate panchayats and district panchayats shall be chosen by direct elections and method of election of the chairperson of the village panchayat will be decided by the state government, while chairpersons of intermediate panchayats and district panchayats shall be elected indirectly by the members from amongst the elected members only 4) There shall be mandatory periodic elections on the basis of universal adult suffrage for
the period of five years under the supervision, direction and control of the State Election Commission. If the panchayati raj bodies are dissolved before five years term the fresh elections will take place within six months from the date of dissolution. 5) The Amendment provides for the reservation of seats for the Scheduled castes , Scheduled Tribes and Women in all the three tiers of the panchayats which are:- a. 33 percent seats are reserved for women. These reserved seats are allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a panchayat. b. The reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is done according to their respective population in the panchayat area. c. Out of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes 1/3 seats must be reserved for SC and ST women. 6) The state legislature have been given the power to authorise the panchayats to levy, collect and appropriate suitable local taxes and also provide for making grants-in-aid to the panchayats from the consolidated fund of the state. In addition, a Finance Commission has to be constituted once in every five years to review the financial position of the panchayats and to make suitable recommendations to the state on the distribution of funds between states and the local bodies. 7) The state legislature shall make laws for maintenance of accounts by the panchayats and laws related to audit of such accounts. 8) Special responsibility will be provided to the panchayats to prepare plans for economic development and social justice including the matters listed in the 11th Schedule of the Constitution, which contains a list of 29 subjects. 9) The Act provides for the constitution of a District Planning Committee which would be responsible for the developmental plan of the district as a whole. 10) The act bar the courts from interfering in electoral matters of Panchayats.(25) The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act is an attempt to restructure the Panchayati Raj to reach the gross-root level. The act for the first time gave Constitutional status to Panchayati Raj Institutions and it becomes mandatory on all state governments to implement it. This amendment brought about uniformity in structure, composition, powers and functions of Panchayats. It gave impetus to Panchayati Raj to promote social and economic development and improvement in living conditions of rural India. The main criticism levelled against the Act is that these institutions are viewed as implementing agencies for developmental activities only and that they are not given the status of
decentralized political activities. Moreover the act is silent over the relationship between Panchayati Raj Institutions and local level bureaucracy. However the Act fulfilled the dream of Constitutional Status to Panchayati Raj Institutions and the state governments brought new legislations to implement it. It is a significant landmark in the evolution of gross-root democratic institutions in the country. It is a revolutionary concept to build direct democracy at the gross-root level in the country by transferring the representative democracy into participatory democracy.

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