The Panchayati Raj Bill was passed by the Indian Parliament in 1992. According, a three tier Panchayati Raj System was established in each district of Haryana. It has three vital elements-gram panchayat, panchayat samiti and zila panchayat. The tenure of gram panchayat as well as that of city committee is five years.
After every five years, these self-governing institutions elect members for themselves under the watchful eye of the election Commission of the state. The self- governing institutions of villages and cities make plans for the economic development of the residents.
These make plans for delivering social justice to the masses and also implement them. These have the rights to impose some taxes and fees on the citizens as well as collect the same from them. The state Government also gives grants to such institutes.
Every village has a village panchayat, called gram panchayat. The voters of each village alert the members of their gram panchayat through direct elections. This procedure is carried out in the presence of the representatives of the election commission of the state. The gram panchayat works for a period of 5 years.
There are provisions to include women, STs and SCs in the gram panchayat of each village. One-third of the seats to be filled by direct elections on every gram panchayat are reserved for women. At least one-third of such seats are reserved for women as are reserved for the SCs and STs.
So much so, there is also reservation for the post of Chairman of the gram panchayat. There is a provision to make a member of SC or ST or a woman as the Chairman of the panchayat. Every gram panchayat makes plans for the social and economic development of the villagers whom it represents.
It has the right to levy some taxes or fees on the villagers. The state Government also gives grants to gram panchayats. Some issues or areas of operation of gram panchayats are: land reforms; small canals; khadi and village industries; fuels; roads, ghats; education; health; elimination of poverty; chakbandi (land demarcation); animal husbandry; potable water; cattle feed; bridge; rural electrification; local fairs; family welfare; and public distribution system.
The following changes have been effected:
1. Elections shall be held for all the seats of the panchayat.
2. One-third of the seats shall be reserved for SCs and STs.
3. One-third of the seats shall be reserved for women.
4. Out of the seats reserved for SCs and STs, one-third of the seats shall be reserved for women of these very categories.
5. There shall be reservation of seats for the SCs and STs for the post of the chairperson of the panchayat.
6. There shall be reservation of seats for women for the post of the chairperson of the panchayat.
7. SCs and STs shall not be debarred from contesting elections for such seats as are not reserved.
8. Women shall not be debarred from contesting elections for such seats as are not reserved.
Panchayati Raj Institutions are operating at the grassroots levels in Haryana. Their performances are commendable.
Some of the features of the Panchayati Raj in the State are as follows:
1. The Haryana Panchayati Raj Act has been modified to make such institutions efficient.
2. According to the modified Act, gram sabha must be held at least twice a year-on 13 April and on 2 October.
3. The post of Sub-Sarpanch has been quashed. The provision of bringing a no-confidence motion against the Sarpanch has also been quashed.
4. The Sarpanch has to give up his charge (duties) within 7 days from the date of publication of the election schedule.
5. If a Sarpanch keeps a cash amount that is 21 per cent in access of the stipulated amount, then he would be liable to pay punitive interest at the rate of 21 per cent.
6. If a Sarpanch or panch is reluctant to appear in a court case, then he may be suspended for a period of six years.
7. Lavatories are being constructed in rural areas. The rates of subsidies for general persons and STs are 50 per cent and 90 per cent respectively. STs give 10 per cent as the unskilled labour put in by them to make such lavatories. The State Government gives loans to dig well, install tubewells, construct shops and erect staff quarters.
9. The Stale Government grants minimum Rs. 2400 and maximum Rs. 8400 to Village Panchayats. In addition to this, Rs. 25 lakh are being granted to Panchayat Samities and District Council. This amount of money will be expend on the maintenance of their buildings.
There are Nagarpalikas, Municipalities and Municipal Corporations for small, medium-sized and large cities, respectively. The elections of members for these institutions are carried out through the direct election method. Such elections are organised under the watchful eye of the Election Commissioner of the state or his representatives.
In all these organs of the local government, there are provisions for reservation of seats for women, SCs and STs. One-third of the seats have been reserved for women. The seats for SCs and STs have been reserved in the ratio of their respective populations. There are reservations (for the posts of Chairpersons) for women, SCs and STs as well.
The tenure of each Nagarpalika, Municipality or Municipal Corporation is 5 years. Elections are held after every five years. These institutions have been entrusted with the tasks of making plans for the development and implementing them (in the areas of their jurisdiction). These institutions have also the rights to impose some taxes, duties and fees on the people of the areas under their jurisdiction. The state Government also gives them grants.
The subjects or areas given to these institutions are : city planning; bridges; hygiene and cleanliness; improvement of dirty colonies; socioeconomics development plans; education; street light systems; environment improvement; roads, provision of potable water; fire- fighting services; plans for removal of urban poverty, medical facilities; birth and death records; transport facilities; and maintenance of parks and gardens.