Discuss the challenges faced by the Panchayati Raj Institutions in India. Also, suggest measures to counter the challenges.
The 73rd Amendment Act (1992) of the Constitution, which created a uniform three-tier system of rural governments at the district, block and village levels, provides for transfer of responsibilities and powers from the state government to these rural bodies.
But the experience of past 25 years suggests that they are facing the following challenges:
- Related to lack of transfer of Functions
The amendment provided that states may transfer the functions mentioned in Schedule 11 to the panchayats, but states have not devolved effective functions.
- Related to lack transfer of Functionaries
There are no supporting infrastructures as well as human resource to cater to the needs of Panchayats.
The continuous existence of line departments’ interference and overlap with tasks allocated to the Panchayats.
- Related to lack of transfer of Funds
The Amendments left important matters related to financial devolution of Panchayats to the state legislatures.
The powers dealing with the levy of taxes, duties, tolls and fees by the Panchayats is with state governments and most states have not devolved those powers.
Following measures can be taken to enhance their functioning:
- Article 243G needs to be amended to make the devolution of power mandatory.
- Additional resources and financial autonomy by making it mandatory for the states to allocate resources and share taxation powers.
- Election to be conducted regularly.
The dream of real democracy run by the people can only be achieved if these measures are taken.