History of Local Governments in India
The British East India Company got Diwani Rights (Tax) from Nawab of Bengal, after the battle of Plassey. The trading centers were under the direct supervision of the British that is Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta.
Other trading centers were not under the supervision of the British. The district administration was under the control of the District Collector and the district collector was the kingpin of the British in India.
The British controlled vast areas using collectors. An important step in Local Government in India by the British administration is the establishment of the Municipal Corporation at Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras.
In 1882, Lord Rippon made a resolution of making a smaller unit for rural local bodies, Tehsil or Taluk, and district boards to supervise the Taluks. Till 1909, the main activities of the district board were Village Sanitation, Education, Public works, Police.
Lord Rippon’s model of local government faced criticisms. As a result in 1907 AD, the British government formed a commission to inquire into the issue of the administrative and economic connection between the Government of India, the Provincial Government, and Subordinate authorities.
British passed the Government of India Act, 1919. The local government was entrusted with the elected elements of the provincial government under the diarchy system of government. The number of village bodies in Tamil Nadu expanded from 1417 in 1926 to 6250 in 1937.
There is a three-tier system of rural local bodies such as District Boards, Taluk Boards, and Village Boards.By 1923, District and Taluk boards were through changes, the non-official chairman in all regions was replaced with the official chairman.
Mahatma Gandhi advocated for the decentralized administrative policy in India trusting the ability of governance with the village panchayats or independent Swaraj. The blueprint of the Gandhian constitution for free India was released by Shrima Naryan with the blessing of Gandhiji.
According to this blueprint, the Panchayat raj was the basic institution for the social, political, and economic activities of citizens. Therefore Article 40 came in the Constitution of India as a part of DPSP (Directive Principles of the State Policy) Part-IV adopted on Nov 26, 1949.
As per Article 40, “ the state shall take steps to organize village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government”.
- By DPSP, an aspiring village sector ambition, the community development programme was launched in 1952 with the principal aim of securing social-economic conversions of the village by people’s own representation with collaboration with state’s supply and credit.
- This programme was stretched to most of the blocks as National Extensions Service aimed at transferring scientific and professional expertise to farming, animal rearing and rural handicraft areas.
- In 1956, by Second five-year plan of 1956-1961, it was suggested that village panchayats should naturally connect with big institutions at higher levels.
- In 1957, the Government of India selected a committee to plan projects under the leadership of Balwant Rai Mehta.