Local self government in India refers to governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state. India is a federal republic with three spheres of government: central, state and local. The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments give recognition and protection to local governments and in addition each state has its own local government legislation.[1] Since 1992, local government in India takes place in two very distinct forms. Urban localities, covered in the 74th amendment to the Constitution,[2] have Nagar Palika but derive their powers from the individual state governments, while the powers of rural localities have been formalized under the panchayati raj system, under the 73rd amendment to the Constitution.[3]

Within the Administrative setup of India, the democratically elected Local self-governance bodies are called the "municipalities" (abbreviated as the "MC") in urban areas and the "Panchayati Raj Institutes (PRI)" (simply called the "panchayats") in rural areas. There are 3 types of municipalities based on the population, Municipal Corporation (Nagar Nigam) with more than 1 million population, Municipal Councils (Nagar Palika) with more than 25,000 and less than 1 million population, and Municipal Committee (Nagar Panchayat) with more than 10,000 and less than 25,000 population. PRIs in rural areas have 3 hierarchies of panchayats, Gram panchayats at village level, Mandal or block panchayats at block level, and Zilla panchayats at district level.[4]

Panchayats cover about 96% of India's more than 5.8 lakh (580,000) villages and nearly 99.6% of the rural population. As of 2020, there were about 3 million elected representatives at all levels of the panchayat, nearly 1.3 million are women. These members represent more than 2.4 lakh (240,000) gram panchayats, about over 6,672 were intermediate level panchayat samitis at the block level and more than 500 zila parishads at district level.[5] Following the 2013 local election, 37.1% of councillors were women, and in 2015/16 local government expenditure was 16.3% of total government expenditure.[1]

History

See also: Monarchy in ancient India

Committees for the study of issues

Various committees were formed to study the issues and make recommendations for the implementation of local self governance in India.

The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee (1957

In 1957, a committee led by Balwant Rai Mehta Committee studied the Community Development Projects and the National Extension Service and assessed the extent to which the movement had succeeded in utilising local initiatives and in creating institutions to ensure continuity in the process of improving economic and social conditions in rural areas. The Committee held that community development would only be deep and enduring when the community was involved in the planning, decision-making and implementation process.[6] The suggestions were for as follows:[7]

Ashok Mehta Committee (1977)

Main article: Ashok Mehta Committee

The PRi structure did not develop the requisite democratic momentum and failed to cater to the needs of rural development. There are various reasons for such an outcome which include political and bureaucratic resistance at the state level to share power and resources with local-level institutions, the domination of local elites over the major share of the benefits of welfare schemes, lack of capability at the local level and lack of political will.

It was decided to appoint a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Ashok Mehta to examine and suggest measures to strengthen PRIs. The Committee had to evolve an effective decentralised system of development for PRIs. They made the following recommendations:[8]

that much of the developmental functions at the district level would be played by the panchayats.

The states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal passed new legislation based on this report. However, the flux in politics at the state level did not allow these institutions to develop their own political dynamics.

G.V.K. Rao Committee (1985)

The G.V.K. Rao Committee was appointed by Planning Commission[9] to once again look at various aspects of PRIs. The Committee was of the opinion that a total view of rural development must be taken in which PRIs must play a central role in handling people's problems. It recommended the following:[10]-

L. M. Singhvi Committee (1986)

A committee led by Laxmi Mall Singhvi was constituted in the 1980s to recommend ways to revitalize PRIs. The Gram Sabha was considered as the base of a municipality decentralised, and PRIs viewed as institutions of self-governance which would actually facilitate the participation of the people in the process of planning and development. It recommended:[11]

The suggestion of giving panchayats constitutional status was opposed by the Sarkaria Commission, but the idea, however, gained momentum in the late 1980s especially because of the endorsement by the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who introduced the 64th Constitutional Amendment Bill in 1989. The 64th Amendment Bill was prepared and introduced in the lower house of Parliament. But it got defeated in the Rajya Sabha as non-convincing. He lost the general elections too. In 1989, the National Front introduced the 74th Constitutional Amendment Bill, which could not become an Act because of the dissolution of the Ninth Lok Sabha. All these various suggestions and recommendations and means of strengthening PRIs were considered while formulating the new Constitutional Amendment Act.

Legal framework

Following laws and subsequent amendments were passed to implement the selected recommendations of various committees.

The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act (1992)

The idea which produced the 73rd and Amendment[12] was not a response to pressure from the grassroots, but to an increasing recognition that the institutional initiatives of the preceding decade had not delivered, that the extent of rural poverty was still much too large and thus the existing structure of government needed to be reformed. This idea evolved from the Centre and the state governments. It was a political drive to see PRIs as a solution to the governmental crises that India was experiencing.

The Constitutional (73rd Amendment) Act, passed in 1992 by the Narasimha Rao government, came into force on April 24, 1993. It was meant to provide constitutional sanction to establish "democracy at the grassroots level as it is at the state level or national level". Its main features are as follows:[13]

97th Constitutional Amendment Act (2011)

Cooperative Societies are taken under "Local Government" after 97th Constitutional Amendment act 2011,under Dr Manmohan Singh's Govt. Part-IX of Indian Constitution is related to Local Government, under which Panchayt Raj was defined, then after 74th amendment Municipal Corporation and council were included and defined by inducing Part IX-A, and in 2011,Cooperative Societies were included in Local Government by inducing PartIX-B in the Constitution. The 97th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2011 provided for amendment in following things : 1. It amended article 19(1)c by inserting after the word 'or unions' the words 'or Co-operative Societies'. 2. It also inserted Article 43B in part IV of the Constitution as "The State shall endeavor to promote Voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional Management of the Co-operative Societies" and 3. After Part IX-A of the Constitution Part IX-B was inserted. Part IX-B extended from Article 243ZH to Article 243ZT.

Types of local governance entities

See also: Administrative divisions of India

The local governance entities are broadly classified into urban and rural, which are further sub-divided based on the size of population in case of the urban bodies and based on the size of population and hierarchy in case of the rural bodies.

Urban local governance bodies

Main article: Municipal governance in India

3 types of MCs

The following 3 types of democratically elected urban local governance bodies in India are called municipalities and abbreviated as the "MC". These are classified based on the size of the population of the urban settlement.[14]

Municipal Acts

Municipal Acts are state level legislations to establish municipal governments in urban areas. These acts provide a framework of governance for cities within the state. Various processes including rules for elections, recruitment of staff, and demarcation of urban areas derive from the state municipal acts. Almost 70 different municipal acts in India govern the cities in the country. Typically, the municipal acts are of three types - statewide general municipalities acts, separate acts for establishing municipal corporations, and acts that are specific to individual municipal corporations.[15]

Functions of MCs

All municipal acts in India provide for functions, powers and responsibilities to be carried out by the municipal government. These are divided into two categories: obligatory and discretionary.

The mandatory functions of MC include the supply of pure and wholesome water, construction and maintenance of public streets, lighting and watering of public streets, cleaning of public streets, places and sewers, regulation of offensive, dangerous or obnoxious trades and callings or practices, maintenance or support of public hospitals, establishment and maintenance of primary schools, registration of births and deaths, removing obstructions and projections in public streets, bridges and other places, naming streets and numbering houses, maintenance of law and public order, etc.

The discretionary functions of MC include the laying out of areas, securing or removal of dangerous buildings or places, construction and maintenance of public parks, gardens, libraries, museums, rest houses, leper homes, orphanages and rescue homes for women, public buildings, planting of trees and maintenance of roads, housing for low income groups, conducting surveys, organizing public receptions, public exhibitions, public entertainment, provision of transport facilities with the municipality, and promotion of welfare of municipal employees.

Some of the functions of the urban bodies overlap with the work of state agencies. The functions of the municipality, including those listed in the Twelfth Schedule to the Constitution, are left to the discretion of the state government. Local bodies have to be bestowed with adequate powers, authority and responsibility to perform the functions entrusted to them by the Act. However, the Act has not provided them with any powers directly and has instead left it to state government discretion.[16]

Rural local governance bodies

Main articles: Panchayati raj in India and Democracy in Vedic era

The democratically elected local self-governance bodies in the villages of rural India are called Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) which are based on the vedic era native democratic panchayat (Council of five officials) system.[17][18]

3 hierarchies of PRI panchayats

The following 3 hierarchies of PRI panchayats exist in states or Union Territories with more than two million inhabitants:

The panchayati raj system is a three-tier system with elected bodies at the village, taluk and district levels. The modern system is based in part on traditional {Panchayati raj, Panchayat governance}, in part on the vision of (Mahatma Gandhi) and in part by the work of various committees to harmonize the highly centralized Indian governmental administration with a degree of local autonomy.[19] The result was intended to create greater participation in local government by people and more effective implementation of rural development programs. Although, as of 2015, implementation in all of India is not complete, the intention is for there to be a gram panchayat for each village or group of villages, a tehsil level council, and a zilla panchayat at the district level.

Functions of PRIs

Defined in the Part IX of the Indian Constitution,[20][21] these are responsible for the 29 subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule including the "economic development, and strengthening social justice."[18]

Local bodies by states of India

The Constitution of India visualises panchayats as institutions of self-governance. However, giving due consideration to the federal structure of India's polity, most of the financial powers and authorities to be endowed on panchayats have been left at the discretion of concerned state legislatures. Consequently, the powers and functions vested in PRIs vary from state to state. These provisions combine representative and direct democracy into a synergy and are expected to result in an extension and deepening of democracy in India. Hence, panchayats have journeyed from an institution within the culture of India to attain constitutional status.

State or Union Territory Local Bodies
Map
key
Name Rural LB Urban LB Traditional LB
1 ◊ Andhra Pradesh 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Mandal Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipality

6.Nagar Panchayat

2 ◊ Arunachal Pradesh 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Anchal Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipality

3 ◊ Assam 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Anchalik Samiti

3.Gaon Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipality

6.Town Panchayat

4 ◊ Bihar 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipality

6.Town Panchayat

5 ◊ Chhattisgarh 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Janpad Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipality

6.Notified Area Council

6 ◊ Goa 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Village Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipality

7 ◊ Gujarat 1. District Panchayat

2.Taluka Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipality

8 ◊ Haryana 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipal Committee

6.Municipal Council

9 ◊ Himachal Pradesh 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

11 ◊ Jharkhand 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

12 ◊ Karnataka 1. District Panchayat

2.Taluk Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

13 ◊ Kerala 1. District Panchayat

2.Block Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipality

14 ◊ Madhya Pradesh 1. Zilla Panchayat

2.Janpad Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

15 ◊ Maharashtra 1. Zilla Panchayat

2.Block Panchayat

3.Village Panchayat

16 ◊ Manipur 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Gram Panchayat

17 ◊ Meghalaya NA
18 ◊ Mizoram NA
19 ◊ Nagaland NA
20 ◊ Odisha 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

21 ◊ Punjab 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

22 ◊ Rajasthan 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Block Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

23 ◊ Sikkim 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Gram Panchayat

24 Tamil Nadu 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

25 ◊ Telangana 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Mandal Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

26 ◊ Tripura 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Block Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

27 ◊ Uttar Pradesh 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Kshetra Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

28 Uttarakhand 1. Zilla Panchayat

2.Kshetra Panchayat

3.Gram Panchayat

29 ◊ West Bengal 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

4.Municipal Corporation

5.Municipality

6.Notified Area Council

A Andaman and Nicobar 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

B Chandigarh 1. Zilla Parishad

2.Panchayat Samiti

3.Gram Panchayat

C Dadra and Nagar Haveli and

Daman and Diu

1. Zilla Panchayat

2.Gram Panchayat

D Jammu and Kashmir 1.District Planning and Development Board

2.Block Development Council

3.Halque Panchayat

E Ladakh 1.District Planning and Development Board

2.Block Development Council

3.Halque Panchayat

F Lakshadweep 1. Zilla Panchayat

2.Gram Panchayat

G NCT Delhi NA
H Puducherry 1. Commune Panchayat

2.Village Panchayat

See also

Further reading

References

  1. ^ a b "The Local Government System in India" (PDF). Commonwealth Local Government Forum.
  2. ^ The Constitution (Seventy-fourth Amendment) Act, 1992
  3. ^ The Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992
  4. ^ PRIs of India
  5. ^ "Take Five: "Elected Women Representatives are key agents for transformational economic, environmental and social change in India"". UN Women. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  6. ^ Government of India, Report of the Team for the Study of Community Projects and National Extension Service, (Chairperson: Balvantray Mehta), Committee on Plan Projects, National Development Council, (New Delhi, November 1957), Vol. I,
  7. ^ Anirban Kashyap: Panchaytiraj, Views of founding fathers and recommendation of different committees, New Delhi, Lancer Books, 1989 P 109
  8. ^ Anirban Kashyap: Panchaytiraj, Views of founding fathers and recommendation of different committees, New Delhi, Lancer Books, 1989 P 112
  9. ^ Pratiyogita Darpan. Pratiyogita Darpan. December 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  10. ^ World Bank: Overview of ruraldecentralisation in indi Volume III World Bank, 2000 P 21
  11. ^ Mahoj Rai et al. :The state of Panchayats – A participatory perspective, New Delhi, Smscriti, 2001 P 9
  12. ^ The Constitution (Seventy Third Amendment) Act, 1992, The Gazette of India, Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, New Delhi, 1993.
  13. ^ T M Thomas Issac with Richard Franke : Local democracy and development – Peoples Campaign for decentralized planning in Kerala, New Delhi, Leftword Books, 2000 P 19
  14. ^ "National Council Of Educational Research And Training :: Home". www.ncert.nic.in. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Nagrika - What is a Municipal Act?". Nagrika. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  16. ^ Fahim, Mayraj (24 May 2009). "Local government in India still carries characteristics of its colonial heritage". City Mayors Foundation.
  17. ^ Panchayati Raj Institutions in India
  18. ^ a b c "Basic Statistics of Panchayati Raj Institutions". Ministry of Panchayati Raj. 2019. Archived from the original on 24 April 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  19. ^ Singh, Vijandra (2003). "Chapter 5: Panchayati Raj and Gandhi". Panchayati Raj and Village Development: Volume 3, Perspectives on Panchayati Raj Administration. Studies in public administration. New Delhi: Sarup & Sons. pp. 84–90. ISBN 978-81-7625-392-5.
  20. ^ Renukadevi Nagshetty (2015). "IV. Structure and Organisational Aspects of Panchayati Raj Institutions in Karnataka and Gulbarga District". Problems and Challenges in the Working of Panchayat Raj Institutions in India. A Case Study of Gulbarga Zilla Panchayat (PhD). Gulbarga University. p. 93. hdl:10603/36516. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 October 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Record of Proceedings. Writ Petition (Civil) No. 671/2015" (PDF). Website "India Environment Portal" by the Centre for Science and Environment. Supreme Court of India. 2015. p. 3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 October 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2020.