Short Essay on the Origin of panchayati raj institutions in India

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Our Constitution brings out the provision for PRI. Article 40 on Directive Principles reads: The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them to function as units of self-government.’

The provision of the Constitution is an inspiration for the PR. institutions to bring about self-government at village level. The 73rd Constitutional amendment Act now gives PRI a Constitutional status.

(b) Gandhian Philosophy:

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Gandhiji’s concept of self sufficient village both economically and politically inspires most of the political leaders to evolve PRI. Provisions regarding PR. in Directive principles of state policy reflected his views with regard to grassroots democracy.

(c) Five Year Plans:

The stimulus for institutions of PR. system also came from the administrative necessity of planned development. The First Five Year Plan observed, ‘We believe that panchayats will be able to perform its civic functions satisfactorily only if these are associated with an active process of development in which the village panchayat is itself given an efficient part.’ The subsequent plans also reflected the broad philosophy of government on PR.

(d) Community Development Programmes:

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The community development programmes were initiated for improving the socio economic conditions of the villages. The objectives of the programmes were firstly, to increase substantially the agricultural production in the country, improve nation’s communication system, and promote education in villages.

Secondly, to generate a process of integrated social economic and cultural change with the ultimate aim of transforming social and economic life in villagesn thirdly, the ultimate responsibility was to remain with the people. The people’s participation in the planning and the execution of the programme was considered a vital aspect of Community development programmes.

But the experience proved that the community development programmes failed to achieve the desired results primarily due to following reasons:-

1. The village Panchayats was found weak and ineffective in mobilising mass support for the programme.

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2. The block advisory committee lacked capacity and power to represent people’s view point.

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