- GS-2: Devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
Strengthen Panchayati raj
Local Bodies – Importance
- Historical Roots: The Cholas were the pioneers in the formation of local bodies as part of a well-organised hierarchy to oversee the implementation of progressive plans.
- Voices of People heard: Panchayati raj ensures that the voices of the people are heard loud and clear. “The voice of the people is the voice of god; The voice of the Panchayat is the voice of the people,” is the quote attributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
- Good Governance: Seamless administration is impossible without power sharing.
- Inclusive Governance: To ensure that even the last man sitting in a remote corner of the last row should have access to benefits.
- Participative Governance: Every grama sabha meeting ensures the equal right to highlight the issues that disrupt life. Active participation of the people in governance.
- Transparency & Accountability: Elected members of the Panchayat are obliged to read out the ﬁnancial statements and balance sheet to ensure transparency.
- Inadequate deliberations: Gram Sabhas Functioning like auction houses – Example Nadu government did not seek opinions and consensus of people on significant issues like the eight-lane highway project and hydrocarbon project.
- Poor Participation: Meetings marked by poor attendance and poor representation from the people.
- Corporate Interests Dominates: Several projects are being implemented for the beneﬁt of private and corporate entities.
- Role of Women: Women do not find themselves in major administrative roles in the local bodies, though, on paper, women are shown to be a considerable force. Eg. Sarpanch Pati.
- Ensuring the proper use of allotted funds.
- Ensuring the efﬁciency of administration and eligible member appointments.
- Need to strengthen our grama sabhas, hold area sabhas in cities, form ward committees, hold online Panchayat meetings
- Ensure decent remuneration to Panchayat chiefs and councillors.
- Bestow the grama sabha with the power to revoke appointed members and representatives.
- The demand for federal rule in the Centre and autonomous rule in the States should resonate along with the need to have autonomous local bodies too.
- Collectively ensure that Panchayati raj should be strengthened. This should be the outcome of a peoples’ movement.
Connecting the dots:
- 73rd & 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts