Discuss The Powers And Functions Of Panchayati Raj Institutions
Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are a system of local self-government in India at the village, intermediate, and district levels. The PRIs are based on the principles of decentralization and devolution of powers and are intended to enable the participation of people in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.
The PRIs have been established in India under the provisions of the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution, which came into force in 1993. These amendments provide for the establishment of PRIs in every state and specify the powers and functions of these institutions.
The PRIs at the village level are known as gram panchayats, those at the intermediate level are known as panchayat samitis, and those at the district level are known as Zilla parishads. The PRIs are elected bodies, and the members of these bodies are elected by the people of the respective areas.
The powers and functions of the PRIs are defined by the state governments, within the framework provided by the Constitution. Generally, the PRIs have the following powers and functions:
Planning and implementation of development programmes: The PRIs are responsible for the planning and implementation of development programmes at the local level. This includes the preparation of plans and budgets, and the execution of projects and schemes related to agriculture, health, education, and other sectors.
Maintenance of public facilities: The PRIs are responsible for the maintenance of public facilities such as roads, schools, and hospitals in their respective areas.
Collection of taxes: The PRIs have the power to levy and collect taxes and other charges for the provision of local public goods and services.
Dispute resolution: The PRIs have the authority to resolve disputes related to land, water, and other local issues.
Regulation of markets: The PRIs have the power to regulate local markets and to ensure the quality and safety of goods sold in these markets.
Provision of social security: The PRIs have the responsibility to provide social security to vulnerable sections of the population, such as widows, the elderly, and the disabled.
In addition to these powers and functions, the PRIs have a number of other responsibilities, such as the maintenance of records and accounts, the conduct of elections, and the promotion of literacy and education. The PRI is also expected to cooperate with other local bodies and government agencies in the implementation of development programmes and other activities.
The PRIs have played a significant role in the development of rural areas in India, and have contributed to the empowerment of local communities. However, the PRIs have also faced challenges, such as a lack of financial and administrative autonomy, and a lack of capacity and resources. Despite these challenges, the PRIs continue to be an important institution of local self-government in India and are considered a key element of the country’s democracy.
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