Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan
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TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
In News: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi gave its approval for restructured Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA).
Influence: Mahatma Gandhi always highlighted the importance of villages and spoke about ‘Gram Swaraj’
To make rural local bodies
- Financially stable
- More efficient
Address critical gaps that hinder the success of panchayats by
- Enhancing their capacities and effectiveness
- Promoting devolution of powers and responsibilities
Presence: In all States and Union territories; will also include institutions of rural local government in non-Part IX areas, where panchayats do not exist.
- The sharing ratio for the state components will be 60:40 barring the Northeast and hilly states where it will be 90:10.
- For UTs, the central share will be 100 per cent.
- The Central component includes national level activities such as ‘National Plan of Technical Assistance’, ‘Mission Mode project on e-Panchayat’, ‘Incentivisation of Panchayats’; while the State component includes ‘Capacity Building of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs)’.
- The State Governments will formulate the Annual Action Plans for seeking assistance from the Central Government.
Nature of the Scheme
- The key principles of SDGs, i.e. leaving no one behind, reaching the farthest first and universal coverage, along with gender equality will be embedded in the design of all capacity building interventions including trainings, training modules and materials.
- Priority will be given to subjects of national importance that affects the excluded groups the most, e.g. poverty, primary health services, nutrition, immunization, sanitation, education, water conservation, digital transactions etc.
- The scheme is designed keeping in view programmatic convergence with Mission Antyodaya GPs and 115 Aspirational districts as identified by NITI Aayog. As Panchayats have representation of Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes and women, and are institutions closest to the grassroots, strengthening Panchayats will promote equity and inclusiveness, along with Social Justice and economic development of the community.
- Help more than 2.55 lakh Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to develop governance capabilities to deliver on SDGs through inclusive local governance with focus on optimum utilisation of available resources.
- Increased use of e-governance by PRIs will help achieve improved service delivery and transparency.
- Strengthen Gram Sabhas to function as effective institutions with social inclusion of citizens particularly the vulnerable groups
- Establish the institutional structure for capacity building of PRIs at the national, state and district level with adequate human resources and infrastructure.
- Panchayats will progressively be strengthened through incentivisation on the basis of nationally important criteria which will encourage competitive spirit among them.
Individual citizens and village level institutions in rural India have the most at stake in the development of their communities. Good Rural Governance programs empower these communities by engaging citizens and members of village level institutions to actively participate in their own development. Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhyaan seeks to include and expand developmental experience at the grassroots level.
April 24: National Panchayati Raj Day
Father of Local Self Government in India: Lord Ripon
Committee to first recommend constitutional status for Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI): Ashok Mehta Committee
Committee that became the basis for drafting an amendment bill aimed at conferring the constitutional status and protection to the Panchayati Raj institutions: Gadgil Committee
Prime Minister of India when Local Self Governments were made constitutional: P V Narasimha Rao
Recommendations by L M Singhvi Committee:
- The Panchayati Raj institutions should be constitutionally recognized, protected and preserved. For this purpose, a new chapter should be added in the Constitution of India. This will make their identity and integrity reasonably and substantially inviolate. It also suggested constitutional provisions to ensure regular, free and fair elections to the Panchayati Raj bodies.
- Nyaya Panchayats should be established for a cluster of villages.
- The villages should be reorganized to make Gram Panchayats more viable. It also emphasised the importance of the Gram Sabha and called it as the embodiment of direct democracy.
- The Village Panchayats should have more financial resources.
- The judicial tribunals should be established in each state to adjudicate controversies about election to the Panchayati Raj institutions, their dissolution and other matters related to their functioning.
73rd Constitutional amendment act: A significant landmark in the evolution of grassroot democratic institutions in the country. It transfers the representative democracy into participatory democracy.
Exempted States and Areas
The 73rd CA act does not apply to the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram and certain other areas. These areas include,
- the scheduled areas and the tribal areas in the states;
- the hill area of Manipur for which a district council exists; and
- Darjeeling district of West Bengal for which Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council exists
However, the Parliament may extend the provisions of this Part to the scheduled areas subject to such exceptions and modifications as it may specify. Under this provision, the Parliament has enacted the ‘Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act’, 1996 (PESA).
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