Constitutional Provisions Regarding Panchayati Raj

Part IX of the Indian Constitution establishes three tiers of Panchayats (only two tiers in the case of States or Union Territories with populations under 2 million): I Village-level Gram Panchayat (ii) District Panchayats at the district level, and (iii) Intermediate Panchayats between Gram Panchayats and District Panchayats at the sub-district level. It also establishes the Gram Sabha (a general assembly of registered voters who live in the Gram Panchayat’s region) as a platform for people’ direct participation in local governance.

Article 243E of the Constitution specifies the period of a panchayat’s functioning. It specifies that unless dissolved earlier by law, every panchayat shall continue to exist for a term of five years. It further states that elections to panchayats must be completed before the expiration or dissolution of the panchayat, with seats reserved for women and marginalised groups (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes). While reservation for Schedule Castes (SCs) and Schedule Tribes (STs) is proportional to their population, it is at least 33.33 percent for women. Many Indian states, however, have increased the percentage of seats and chairperson positions reserved for women in Panchayats to 50%.

The Indian Constitution also mandates that all members of Panchayats be elected directly. All states are required to form a State Election Commission in order to conduct these elections. Furthermore, every fifth year, states must convene a State Finance Commission (SFC) to establish guidelines for the distribution of financial resources between state and municipal governments (both urban and rural). SFCs are to submit recommendations to the Governor regarding the distribution of net proceeds from taxes, tariffs, tolls, and fees, among other things, between the State and Panchayats. Taxes, duties, tolls, and fees that may be allocated to or appropriated by Panchayats, as well as grants-in-aid to Panchayats from the Consolidated Fund to the State, as well as initiatives to enhance Panchayats’ financial condition

Fifth Schedule Areas

While the great portion of the country is covered by Part IX of the Constitution, some localities are exempted under Article 243M of the Constitution. The states of Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland, as well as areas covered by the Sixth Schedule, Manipur’s hill areas, and district level Panchayats in Darjeeling’s hill areas, are among them. In these places, there exists a variety of grassroots local government structures.

The Constitution’s Fifth Schedule deals with the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes who live in areas other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. “The Provisions of the Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996” (PESA) extends Part IX of the Constitution to the Fifth Schedule Areas notified under Article 244(1) of the Constitution, with certain adjustments and exceptions. Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Telangana are among the 10 states that have Fifth Schedule Areas.

Aishwarya Says:

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