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Local Self Government

This article is the part of Polity Guide Initiative. To access complete material – Click Here 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Local Self Government is the management of local affairs by such local bodies who have been elected by the local people.

  • PRI was constitutionalized through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 to build democracy at the grass roots level and was entrusted with the task of rural development in the country.
  • After the Constitution came into force, Article 40 made a mention of panchayats and Article 246 empowers the state legislature to legislate with respect to any subject relating to local self-government.
  • Committees formed to materialize PRIs
  • Ashok Mehta Committee (1977)
    • Recommended a two-tier Panchayat Raj institutional structure consisting of Zilla Parishad and Mandal Panchayat.
  • V.K. Rao Committee (1985)
    • Recommended making the “district” as the basic unit of planning and also holding regular elections
  • M. Singhvi Committee (1986)
    • Recommended providing more financial resources and constitutional status to the panchayats to strengthen them
  • 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments were passed by Parliament in December, 1992. Through these amendments local self-governance was introduced in rural and urban India.

Salient Features of the Constitution 73rd and 74th Amendments

  • Added two new parts to the Constitution, namely, added Part IX titled “The Panchayats” (added by 73rd Amendment) and Part IXA titled “The Municipalities” (added by 74th Amendment).
  • Basic units of democratic system-Gram Sabhas (villages) and Ward Committees (Municipalities) comprising all the adult members registered as voters.
  • Three-tier system of panchayats at village, intermediate block/taluk/mandal and district levels except in States with population is below 20 lakhs (Article 243B).
  • Seats at all levels to be filled by direct elections Article 243C (2).
  • Seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the chairpersons of the Panchayats at all levels also shall be reserved for SCs and STs in proportion to their population.
  • One-third of the total number of seats to be reserved for women.
  • One third of the seats reserved for SCs and STs also reserved for women.
  • One-third offices of chairpersons at all levels reserved for women (Article 243D).
  • Uniform five year term and elections to constitute new bodies to be completed before the expiry of the term.
  • In the event of dissolution, elections compulsorily within six months (Article 243E).
  • Independent Election Commission in each State for superintendence, direction and control of the electoral rolls (Article 243K).
  • Panchayats to prepare plans for economic development and social justice in respect of subjects as devolved by law to the various levels of Panchayats including the subjects as illustrated in Eleventh Schedule (Article 243G).
  • 74th Amendment provides for a District Planning Committee to consolidate the plans prepared by Panchayats and Municipalities (Article 243ZD).
  • Budgetary allocation from State Governments, share of revenue of certain taxes, collection and retention of the revenue it raises, Central Government programmes and grants, Union Finance Commission grants (Article 243H).
  • Establish a Finance Commission in each State to determine the principles on the basis of which adequate financial resources would be ensured for panchayats and municipalities (Article 243I).
  • The Eleventh Scheduled of the Constitution places as many as 29 functions within the purview of the Panchayati Raj bodies.

11th Schedule – Functional items

  • Agriculture including agricultural expansion
  • Land improvement, implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil conservation.
  • Animal Husbandry, Dairying and poultry
  • Fisheries Industry
  • Minor irrigation, water management, and watershed development
  • Social forestry and farm forestry
  • Small scale industries in which food processing industry is involved
  • Minor forest produce
  • Safe water for drinking
  • Khadi, village and cottage industries
  • Rural housing
  • Fuel and fodder
  • Rural electrification, including distribution of electricity
  • Road, culverts, bridges, ferries, waterways and other means of communication
  • Education including primary and secondary schools
  • Non-conventional sources of energy
  • Technical training and vocational education
  • Adult and non-formal education
  • Public distribution system
  • Maintenance of community assets
  • Welfare of the weaker sections, in particular of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes
  • Social welfare, including the welfare of the handicapped and mentally retarded
  • Family welfare
  • Women and child development
  • Markets and Fairs
  • Health and sanitation including hospitals, primary health centers and dispensaries
  • Cultural activities
  • Libraries
  • Poverty Alleviation Programmes

PANCHAYAT EXTENSION TO SCHEDULED AREAS (PESA 1996)

  • Act passed by Parliament to ensure Self-governance to Scheduled Areas.
  • [73rd CAA doesn’t apply to Scheduled areas]
  • Scheduled Areas- Areas refereed in clause (1) of Article 244.
  • Provisions of the Act
  • State Legislation on Panchayats shall recognize their customary law, social and religious practices
  • Functions of Gram Sabha-
    • State legislations shall recognize their customary law, social and religious practices
    • Selection and Identification of beneficiaries under poverty alleviation programs.

Note: Gram Sabha shall be competent to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and customary mode of disputes

  • Certificate for utilization of funds
  • Reservation of seats in proportion to the population of the community
    • ST reservation at least 50%
    • Chairperson at all levels to STs.
  • Gram Sabha or Panchayats at appropriate level consulted before acquisition of land for Development projects.
  • Planning and management of minor water bodies.
  • Gram/Panchayats at appropriate level recommendation is required for
    • Grant of license or mining lease for minor minerals.
    • Grant of concession for Exploitation of minor minerals.
  • Further Gram Sabha/ Panchayats at appropriate level may be endowed with
  • Power to enforce Prohibition (or) regulate (or) restrict the sale and consumption of any intoxicant.
  • Ownership of minor forest produces.
  • Power to prevent alienation of land in scheduled areas.
  • Power to manage village markets
  • Power to exercise control over money lending to scheduled tribes.
  • The power to exercise control over Institutions and functionaries in all social sectors.
  • The power of control over local plans and resources.

 

URBAN GOVERNMENTS

  1. MUNICIPAL CORPORATION
  • Administration of Big cities (Population is greater than 10 lakhs); Established by Act of State Legislature ; UT’s – Act of Parliament;
  • Authorities-
    • Municipal Council – Elected members; Deliberative and Legislative wing; Headed by mayor (one year; Elected)
    • Standing committee – To facilitate the functioning of the council; Deal with Public works
    • Municipal commissioner – Authority which implements the decision taken by the council; Chief Executive Authority; Appointed by State government.
  1. MUNICIPALITY
  • Administration of tows and smaller cities; setup by Acts of state legislature; UT’s – acts of parliament;
  • Authorities
    • Municipal Council:- Deliberative and legislative function; Councilors directly elected by people; President (or) chairman heads the council; Enjoys Executive Powers (little different from Mayor of Municipal corporation); Enjoys Executive powers
    • Standing committee – Facilitates the functioning of the council; Deal with Public works.
    • Chief Executive officer- Responsible for day-to-day administration; appointed by the state government.
  1. NOTIFIED AREA COMMITTEE
  • Established by notification in the official government gazette; either a fast developing town (or) town yet to fulfil the conditions necessary for constitution of municipality; but important for State government.
  • Functions- Under the framework of State Municipal Act; other functions may also be entrusted.

Note: Different from Municipality as in Notified Area Committee all members are nominated.

  1. TOWN AREA COMMITTEE
  • Established by an Act of state legislature; for small towns; limited civic functions are carried out (drainage, roads and street lighting etc.);
  • Completely elected or nominated (or) partly elected and nominated.
  1. CANTONMENT BOARD
  • Established by an Act of Parliament (Cantonment Board Act, 2006); for civilian administration of Cantonment Area; Administrative control of Ministry of Defense.
  • Partly Elected and Nominated members; Military commanding officer is the ex-officio President; Vice president is the elected member.
  • Executive officer is appointed by the President who executes the decision. Eg: IDES (Indian Defense Estate Services)
  1. TOWNSHIP
  • Industrial establishment providing civic amenities; Notified by the Governor; Administrator appointed by the Enterprise.
  1. PORT TRUST
  • Major ports are created by an Act of Parliament; Both elected and nominated members.
  1. SPECIAL PURPOSE AGENCY

These are function based and not area based agencies; Established by act of state legislature (or) executive resolution as well.

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