73rd Constitutional Amendment – implementation and implications.
Article 243 B of the Constitution is included in the Constitution below the 73rd Constitutional Amendment.
This conceives that the states and the union territories excluding those with a population not above 20 lakhs will possess to develop a three-tier policy of Panchayat that is, village, intermediate, and district levels.
While the district is described as a normal district in the state, the jurisdiction of the village and intermediate levels have not been clearly outlined in the Act.
The territorial division of a village Panchayat can be defined by a public notification by the Governor of the state and may consist of more than one village.
Likewise, the intermediate level such as Taluk or Block is also to be defined by the Governor by public notification in this concern.
This gives a specific amount of versatility to the States in constituting Panchayats at the below and intermediate levels.
A new schedule, Eleventh Schedule was included in the Constitution of India that provides necessary and discretionary roles of the Panchayats at three levels:
- The Village Level
- The District Panchayat at the district level
- The Intermediate Panchayat stands between the village and district Panchayats in the states where the population is above 20 lakhs.
All the posts in a Panchayat will be filled by persons by the election from the Panchayat area.
The electorate is defined as “Gram Sabha” comprising of persons enrolled in the electoral rolls associated with a village covered inside the region of a Panchayat.
The Chairperson of every Panchayat elected by the law passed by the State and such State law shall also give the representation of Chairpersons of Village and Intermediate Panchayats in the District Panchayat, as well as members of the Union and State legislature in the Panchayats beyond the village level.
So, the new Amendment Act was implemented for the participation of MP and MLA in the Panchayat Union Councils and also in the District Panchayats.
The Amendment Act also gave reservation of seats in the three tiers for SC and ST and not less than one-third of the total seats for women. The period of the Panchayats shall be five years.
The law grants that anyone qualified to be elected to the state legislature shall be qualified to be elected as a member of a Panchayat. The duties of the Panchayats are put down in the Eleventh Schedule.
Same as the National Finance Commission, the Constitution Amendment Act also granted the State Finance Commission for suggesting the method for transfer of the financial benefit to local governments from the states.
Following the 73rd Constitutional Amendment as well as the Supreme court’s decisions which effectively mandate that local officials are also to be administered as “Government or state.
The Panchayats that have gained much legitimacy is recognized as a tool of the Government and have produced a participatory composition of grassroots democracy for the rural people.
Origin of constitutional organizations like the State Election Commissions and the State Finance Commissions have also given permanency and durability to these institutions.
But, most Panchayats continue to be treated as agencies of the state for the implementation of prescribed schemes, also basic services such as the procurement of drinking water, village hygiene, precautionary health, and elementary education are allowed as their authorized duties.
The arrangement of district administration below the authority of the Collector, characteristically by a leadership structure and absence of coordination at the ground level, becomes no longer in use in the present constitutional structure.
To make local government further transparent and responsible to civilians there is a requirement to become a democratic government at the district and village level same as the Union and State with the division of powers.
The Golden Jubilee Year for Panchayat Raj is 1959-2009, on 2nd October. Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation of Panchayati Raj in Nagpur, Rajasthan. The course of which started with the duty of overall growth of villages in the palms of people.
Panchayati Raj system under the 73rd Constitutional Amendment(1993)
- District Panchayats (Elected and nominated)
- Panchayat Union Councils (Elected)
- Village Panchayats (Elected)
- Gram Sabha (All Voters in a village) (Advisory Body)