It is generally said that, India lives in villages. India is basically a country of villages. A huge population live in village. So, if the development has to be achieved in the true sense of the term the development of villages is required. 

     Development demands people participation and devolution of powers which can be achieved through rural local self government. With the aim for the revival of villages in free India, Community Development Programme (CDP) and National Extension Service (NES) were introduced in India just after independence. But these programme could not achieve expected success. 

      In 1957, central government appointed B.R. Mehta Committee to examine the failures of earlier programmes and to recommended institution to encourage rural participation. 

      One of the major recommendation was three tier panchayati-raj system. In 1977, Janata government appointed Askok Mehta Committee to revive and strengthen Panchayati raj. This Committee recommended for two-tier system.

      The most significant step in the direction of Panchayati raj was the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act,1992 which ensured constitutional status to the panchayats. In between several other commissions, committees, working groups were appointed to study Panchayati raj, but without any significant success. 

   The important provisions of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act,1992 may be divided into two categories- Compulsory provision and Voluntary provision.

1.Compulsory provision : 


      These are obligatory for the Panchayati raj system-

a.Organisation of gram sabhas.

b.Creation of three-tier Panchayati raj structure in village, Block and Zilla levels.

c.All posts in all the levels should be filled by direct election.

d.Reservation of seats in Panchayats for SC/ST.

e.30% reservation of seats for woman in panchayat system.

f.Creation of State Election Commission to conduct the election.

g.Fixed tenure of panchayats for 5 years.

h.Each state should set up State Finance Commission every five years to review the financial position of panchayats etc.

2.Voluntary provision : 

   It is the discretion of states to implement these provisions. 

      Some of these are : 

  1. To give voting rights to the members of  union and state legislature in the rural  bodies.
  2. To give financial power to panchayats regarding taxes, levy, fees, etc.
  3. Making panchayats autonomous bodies.
  4. To provide reservation to backward classes etc.   

Panchayat System in Assam According to the Act of 1994.

In compliance with the Constitution (73rd Amendment ) Act, 1992, Assam government passed The Assam Act,1994 which received the assent of the Governor on 5th May,1994. This Act made some changes in the existing panchayat raj system.

Gaon Sabha

Though Gaon Sabha not a tire of three-tire panchayati raj system, but it plays a significant role in the functioning of the Panchayati raj system. 

      The Gaon Sabha will consist of person registered in electoral roles relating to a village or group of villages comprised within the area of Gaon Panchayat. They will elect one President and one Vice-president.

     Though the Act said that Gaon Sabha shall meet from time to time, but a period of three months shall not intervene between any two meetings. Each meeting will be presided over by President and in his absence by Vice-President. The meetings shall be convened before fifteen days by the Secretary of the Gaon Panchayat with the approval of the President of Gaon Panchayat and Block Development Officer (BDO) . 

      The quorum for a meeting of the Gaon Sabha shall be one-tenth of the total members or one hundred members of voters of the village, villagers, whichever is less.

     The Gaon Sabha shall consider the report of development programme of the Gaon Panchayat of the previous year. 

      It may make recommendations suggestion regarding the proposed programme. It may give suggestions to promote unity and harmony among all sections in the village.

Functions : 

    The Gaon Sabha always tries to protect and promote the interests of villages. Some of its important functions are :-

1. To mobilise voluntary labour and contribution in kind and cash for the community welfare programmes;

2. To identify the beneficiaries for the implementation of village developmental programmes. 

     If Gaon Sabha fails, the secretary of Gaon Panchayat or Block Development Officer identifies the beneficiaries.

Also read :-

Municipal Board:

Town Committee :

Guwahati Municipal Corporation:

What are the different types of self government in Assam ?

Urban Local Government :

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