Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Panchayati Raj
25-August-2005 13:30 IST
Review of implementation of Panchayati Raj System - Backgrounder

According to Article 243G of the Constitution, State Legislatures may by law endow Panchayats with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government. In addition, such law may contain, provisions for devolution of powers and responsibilities upon Panchayats at appropriate level subject to such conditions as may be specified therein. The Constitution Eleventh Schedule gives a list of 29 subjects in respect of which; functions, finances and functionaries may be devolved by State to Panchayati Raj Institutions. The authority relating to transfer of powers and funds to Panchayati Raj Institutions vests with the State Governments.

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has urged the State Governments to adopt carefully drawn up Plans of Action to devolve functions, finances and functionaries to Panchayati Raj Institutions based on recommendations evolved through deliberations. With this in view the Ministry had convened Seven Round Table meetings with State Ministers in charge of Panchayati Raj during July to December 2004 and evolved by consensus a set of around 150 points for action, which have been put together in a compendium. This was adopted unanimously by State Governments and UT Administrations as plan of action for strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions.

The Ministry has now initiated a process of meetings with various state governments to review the progress in implementing the recommendations of the Round Table conferences. The interaction will continue through 2005-2006 and subsequent years with visits to each State/UT and sectoral conferences. Review meetings have already been organized in four states namely, Karnataka, West Bengal, Uttaranchal and Haryana. The fifth such meeting is scheduled from August 26 to 28, 2005 in Chhattisgarh. It is expected that such reviews would accelerate the base of implementation of the relevant provisions of the Constitution relating to Panchayati Raj system in the country.

A Committee of Chief Secretaries of States and State Panchayati Raj Secretaries has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Panchayati Raj) to monitor the progress of implementation of the recommendations of the Round Table conferences. Two review meetings of the Committee have so far been held. Further, a Council of State Ministers of Panchayat under the Chairmanship of Union Minister for Panchayati Raj has been constituted for the speedy implementation of the recommendations in its inaugurals meeting held in the first week of August in Kerala. It was noted that while in some states the preliminary work has been completed in terms of the assignment of functions to the three levels of Panchayats in several others the matter is pending at the finalisation stage.

The ministry has been engaged in consultation with various experts to device an appropriate framework for Panchayats to facilitate the setting up of rural business hubs. In November 2004, a national presentation on rural business hubs was organized jointly by the ministry of Panchayati Raj and Confederation of Indian Industry in which several government agencies such as IT, Financial Institutions including NABARD and institutions dealing with Textiles, Handicrafts and Food Processing participated. This provided an opportunity for about 1000 elected representatives of Gram, Block and Zilla Panchayats from various States and UTs to meet about 250 representatives of industry. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj and CII are now working together to facilitate public- private-Panchayat partnership to establish rural business hubs utilizing locally available material or skills for ushering in rural prosperity.