Public Policy and Decentralized Governance Panchayat Raj Act and its relevance for democratic governance in rural India. Introduction:- In this term paper, I have been discussed the basic concept of Panchayat raj, democratic governance etc. To understanding the idea of panchayat raj, it is necessary to know the historical background of the panchayat system in India. The roots of the panchayat raj system are in the ancient religious text.
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The Britishers through enacting the various acts in this regard have institutionalized the panchayat raj system. Actual status has got to the panchayat raj system in India by the provisions of constitution. Initially the constitutional provision was obligatory on the states to form a panchayat raj system in the respective states. After 73rd amendment of the constitution it has became mandatory to establishment of the panchayat raj institutions in the respective states. The main aim of the creation of panchayat raj institutions was to participation of the people in the local governance and devolution of power. Basic Concept: – â€˜Panchayatâ€™ means assembly of five wise and respected elders chosen and accepted by the village community. Traditionally these assemblies were settling the disputes between individuals and villages. â€˜Panchayati Rajâ€™ means the system of governance in which gram panchayat are the basic units of administration. â€˜Democratic governanceâ€™ means the system of administration, which runs through the elected representative and peopleâ€™s participation in the process of governance. (A.K. Mishra, Naved Akhtar & Sakshi Tarika, June, 2011) Historical background:- The concept of panchayat raj system is not new for India, its root in ancient Vedic texts. In Ashokaâ€™s regime there were the Greek ambassador Megasthanises who has described about the â€˜city councilâ€™ in patliputra, which consisted the six committees with 30 members. Similarly participatory structure were also existed in south India in the regime of Chola Kingdom i.e. village council and ward committees. The Britishers have formed the present structure of the panchayat institutions in 1688 through establishment of Municipal Corporation at Madras. The Britishers made changes in this system by time to time; they enact a Bengal Local Self Governance Act in 1885. Then Morley-Minto reform came in 1909 and Montague Chelmsford reform in1919 through these reforms the peopleâ€™s participation in the process of governance has increased. (INDIA, 2007) Constitutional History:- Indian constitution is the document of the social contract which purposefully mend for the administration and the involvement of the people in the process of governance. Directive principles of state policy under article 40 part IV of the constitution of India provides the provision for establishment of the panchayat raj institutions but this provision was obligatory on the states before 73rd amendment in the constitution of India. Implementing the provision of article 40 of the constitution,
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