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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Indian Polity #8


LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN INDIA

Overview

  • Local government in India falls mainly under two categories: rural self government and urban self government
  • There are about 3 million elected representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), about one third of them women
  • There are more than 640,000 village panchayats, about 6000 intermediate bodies and 500 district level bodies. Panchayats cover about 99.6% of India’s rural population
  • The powers and functions of PRIs vary from state to state
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Evolution of local government

  • The earliest references to self government are found in the Rig Veda, which mentions ’sabhas’ at the village level
  • Over time, these bodies evolved into Panchayats (council of five persons)
  • Under British rule, local governance was authorised by the Mayo Resolution of 1870 (under Lord Mayo)
  • However, it was the Ripon Resolution of 1882 (under Lord Ripon) that prioritised local government and recognised the twin objectives of administrative efficiency and political education
  • The Montague-Chelmsford Reforms (1919) led to the establishment of village panchayats in the provinces and even princely states
  • Panchayat system in post-independence India developed slowly. Multiple committees were constituted to study panchayat system
  • Panchayat system was institutionalised with the passage of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1992
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Hierarchy of local government
Hierarchy of local government
LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN RURAL AREAS

Overview

  • Local government in rural areas is enabled by the Panchayat system of governance involving Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs)
  • The Panchayat is a three-tier system involving governance bodies at three levels:
    • Gram Panchayat at the village level
    • Panchayat Samiti at the Block level
    • Zilla Parishad at the District level
  • The Panchayat system exists in all states except Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram. It also exists in all Union Territories except Delhi
  • Panchayat system is provided for all states having a population more than 2 million
  • Function of the panchayat include
    • Planning and implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice relating to the 29 subjects in the Indicative List
    • To levy and collect taxes, duties, tolls and fees
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Committees to study Panchayat system

Committee Established Mandate Recommendations
Balwantrai Mehta 1957 Community development projects Establish local bodies
Devolve power and authority

Basic unit of decentralised government to be Block/samiti

Body to be constituted for 5 years by indirect elections from village panchayats

Functions to include agriculture, local industry
K Santhanam 1963 Panchayat finance Panchayats to have powers to levy tax on land revenue etc
Panchayati Raj Finance Corporation to be set up
Ashok Mehta 1978 Effective development of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) District to be viable administrative unit for planning
PRIs as two-tier system with Mandal Panchayat and Zilla Parishad

4 year term, participation of political parties
GVK Rao 1985 Development of PRIs PRIs to be activated and supported
Block Development Office (BDO) to be center of rural development
LM Singhvi 1986 – same- Local self government to be constitutionally recognised
Non-involvement of political parties
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

73rd Constitutional Amendment Act 1992

  • The Constitution of India did not have originally have provisions for panchayat system of government
  • The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act (1992) formally established Panchayat Raj Institutions in the country
  • The Act was meant to provide democracy at the grassroots level
  • The mean features of the Act include
    • Establishment of Panchayats as elected bodies
    • A three tier structure of panchayat institutions: village level, Block level and District level
    • Not less than one third of panchayat seats to be reserved for women. Additionally, reservations also for SC/STs
    • Panchayat elections to be supervised by State Election Commissions
    • District Planning Committees provided Constitutional status
    • Indicative List of 29 subjects introduced in the 11th Schedule of the Constitution. Panchayats to plan and implement works related to this List.
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

VILLAGE LEVEL GOVERNMENT

  • The panchayat at the village level is known as Gram Panchayat, or simply as Panchayat
  • The Gram Panchayat is the basic level of the Panchayat system, and hence of the system of governance in India
  • Gram Panchayats can be established in villages with a minimum population of 300. If individual villages have small populations, they can be grouped together to form a group-gram panchayat
  • The Gram Panchayat is elected by the Gram Sabha.
  • Gram Panchayats are elected for a period of 5 years
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

The Gram Sabha

  • The Gram Sabha consists of all residents of a village above the age of 18 years
  • It meets twice a year
  • The annual budget and development schemes for the village are placed before the Gram Sabha for consideration and approval
  • The Sarpanch and his assistants answer questions posed by the people
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Constitution of Gram Panchayats

  • The number of members ranges from 7 to 31
  • The Sarpanch or Chairperson is the head of the Gram Panchayat
  • The Sarpanch and Deputy Sarpanch are usually elected from and by the elected members of the panchayat. Sometimes, they are elected directly by the people
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Responsibilities of the Panchayat

  • Attend to street lights, construction and repair works of roads etc
  • Keep records of births, deaths and marriages in the village
  • Attend to public health and hygiene by providing sanitation and water facilities
  • Provide for education
  • Implement development schemes for agriculture and animal husbandry
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Sources of income

  • The main source of income for panchayats is property tax
  • Other sources include profession tax, taxes on pilgrimage (if applicable), animal trade etc
  • Also, the panchayats receive grants from the state government as well as Zilla Parishads
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

BLOCK LEVEL GOVERNMENT

  • The panchayat at the intermediate level is known as Panchayat Samiti
  • It works at the Tehsil or Taluka level, also known as Development Block
  • The Panchayat Samiti acts as the link between the gram panchayat and the district administration
  • The Panchayat Samiti is also known as Mandal Parishad, Taluka Panchayat, Mandal Panchayat
  • The main source of income of the Samiti are grants and loans from the state government
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Constitution of Panchayat Samiti

  • The Panchayat Samiti is composed four types of members
    • Ex-officio members: all sarpanchas of the Development Block, the MPs and MLAs of the area and Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO)
    • Coopted members: representatives of SC/STs and women
    • Associate members: one farmer, one representative of cooperative societies and one representative of marketing services
    • Elected members
  • The samiti is elected for a period of 5 years
  • There is a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman
  • There is an officer in charge for every department of the Samiti including administration, finance, public works, agriculture etc
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Functions of the Panchayat Samiti

  • Implement schemes for agriculture development
  • Establishment of primary health centres and primary schools
  • Supply of drinking water, sanitation, construction/repair of roads
  • Development of cottage and small scale industries
  • Establishment of cooperative societies
  • Establishment of youth organizations
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

DISTRICT LEVEL GOVERNMENT

  • The Zilla Parishad is the local government body at the district level. It is also known as the District Council
  • The Parishad is responsible for administration of the rural areas of the district
  • It is located in the district headquarters
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Constitution of the Zilla Parishad

  • The members of the Zilla Parishad are Chairmen of the Panchayat Samitis falling under the area
  • They serve for a period of 5 years
  • Zilla Parishads have min 50 and max 75 members
  • Seats are reserved for SC/STs, backward classes and women
  • The Zilla Parishad is headed by a CEO (who is an IAS officer)
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Sources of income

  • Taxes on water, pilgrimage, markets etc
  • Money from the state government for works and schemes assigned to the Parishad
  • Fixed grant from the state government in proportion to the land revenue
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Functions of the Zilla Parishad

  • Planning and execution of development projects for the district
  • Provide essential services and facilities to the rural population
  • Agriculture projects such as supply of seeds, irrigation, new techniques of farming etc
  • Education projects such as setting up and running of schools, adult literacy, running libraries
  • Establish primary health centres, hospitals, mobile health centres
  • Carry out vaccination drives and family welfare campaigns
  • Construct/repair bridges and roads
  • Development plans for SC/STs, hostels for SC students, ashramashalas for adivasis
  • Encourage entrepreneurship in small scale industries such as handicrafts, dairy farms etc
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN URBAN AREAS

Overview

  • There are more than 3000 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in India
  • Based on the 74th Constitution Amendment Act, there are three types of ULBs
    • Municipal Corporation (nagar nigam)
    • Municipality (nagar palika)
    • City Council (nagar panchayat)
  • According to the Act, there needs to be a City Council for areas in transition from rural to urban, a Municipality for small urban areas and a Municipal Corporation for large urban areas
  • The functions and powers of ULBs vary from state to state
  • Municipal governance in India was first introduced in Madras in 1688. The Madras Municipal Corporation was the first municipal body in the Commonwealth outside the UK. The Bombay and Calcutta Corporations were established in 1726
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

MUNICIPAL CORPORATION

  • Municipal Corporations are established in cities with population greater than 1 million
  • Municipal Corporations function under the provisions of the Corporation Act 1835
  • The Corporations are elected directly by the people. Elected members serve a term of 5 years
  • Municipal Corporations provide necessary community services such as health care, educational centres etc
  • Municipal Corporations interact directly with the state governments
  • The head of the Corporation is the Mayor. The principal executive officer is the Municipal Commissioner (an IAS officer)
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Sources of income

  • Taxes on property, water, markets, entertainment
  • Taxes on vehicles
  • Grants from the state government
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

Functions of Municipal Corporations

  • Water supply
  • Hospitals
  • Urban planning
  • Roads
  • Street lighting
  • Sanitation
  • Waste disposal
  • Fire services
  • Records of births and deaths
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

MUNICIPALITY

  • A municipality administers an urban area of population 200,000 or less
  • Municipalities interact with the state government through the Directorate of Municipalities or the District Collector
  • Members of Municipalities are elected for a period of five years
  • The head of the Municipality is the President, elected by and from the members
  • The state government also appoints a Chief Officer and other officers such as Health Inspector, Sanitation Inspector etc to assist the President
  • Their sources of income and functions are pretty much the same as that of Municipal Corporations
Keywords: India, ias, upsc, civil service, free, study material, exam, general studies, Indian polity

CITY COUNCIL

  • City Council administer urban areas having population greater than 30,000 and less than 100,000
  • However, as an exception, all previous Town Area Committees (more than 5000 less than 20,000) have been reclassified as City Councils
  • City Councils have a Chairman and ward members
  • Ward members included elected members (min 10) and nominated members (min 3)

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