73rd Constitutional Amendment Act

April 24th was recently observed as National Panchayati Raj Day. The date commemorates the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act coming into force.

About the Act

The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act introduced the article 243 to Part IX of the Constitution. The act was passed in 1993 to give constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions in India and is an important step in decentralization of power and promotion of local self-government.

Panchayati Raj

Panchayati Raj system is a local self-governance system, with constitutional recognition, in villages. In this system, the Gram Panchayat is the basic unit of local administration. It is a 3 tier system comprising of:

  • Gram panchayat at the village level
  • Panchayat Samiti at block level
  • Zila Parishad at district level.

Balwant Rai Mehta Committee

The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee was appointed in 1957 to examine the Community Development Program and National Extension Service. The committee had recommended the establishment of a ‘democratic decentralization’ scheme. The scheme is the basis for the present day Panchayati Raj system.

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