The Community Development was executed in the country for about five years (1952-1957). Government appointed Balwantrai Mehta Committee in 1957 in order to evaluate the work of Community Development Programme. This Committee found that people participation was less and the results were discouraging.
It was remarked that unless the people are helped to take the initiative in planning and implementation of their own programme, community development can not be satisfactorily realized. With this basic thinking, Committee recommended three tier system of Panchayat Raj. It is basically democratic decentralization process. The involvement of village representative in the administrative set up at various levels like Village, Taluka and District was emphasized.
These forms viz:
i) Village Panchayat,
ii) Panchayat Samiti and
iii) Zilla Parishad were included in Statutory Act, 1958.
These institutions form a three tier system of Panchayat Raj. It provided the formal machinery for people’s representative working through functions of policy decision making, mobilizing rural people resources, taking the initiative in planning, implementing and evaluating official programmes. This has been achieved by way of decentralization process in implementing Panchayat Raj System.
Democratic Decentralization distributed the authority and powers to the different levels as Local Self-Government units in order to care their regional problem solving process with large participation of the people.
Gram Panchayat is basic village institute. It is formal and democratic structure at gross root level in the country. It acts as cabinet of the village. It is political institute. A village or groups of village are the jurisdiction of work of Gram Panchayat.
Structural aspects of Gram Panchayat:
Gram Panchayat is formed by election procedure. The adult citizen voters elect their leaders as members of Gram Panchayat from the wards by observing formal voting procedure. Then the members elect their Chief leader known as ‘Sarpanch’. Every member has been assigned a portfolio of Gram Panchayat work.
The Gram Panchayat Secretary is official man and he is known as ‘Gram Sevak’. He assists the work of Sarpanch and keeps records and documentation village. He reports periodically to the higher authorities whenever asked for. There are
- i) Peon (Kotwal) and
- ii) Sweepers as employees of Gram Panchayat.
Gramsabha includes all the adult citizen voters of the village. It is empowered to support or topple down the Gram Panchayat body. This Gram Sabha can contributes number of decisions taken by the Gram Panchayat and facilitate to modify the week decisions, whenever they feel. The Gram Panchayat can be established for village having population more than 750 to 25,000. The villages having less population are grouped under group Gram Panchayat. The number of members usually ranges from 7 to 17 on the strength of village population. These are various Committees viz. Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Public Works, Social Welfare and Health and sanitation in village Gram Panchayat.
Functions of Gram Panchayat
- Representative Functions:
The Sarpanch, Members and Gram Sevak represent the voice and opinion of the village people on behalf of the Gram Panchayat to the Taluka and Zilla level by attending the meetings or sending the official records.
Regulatory and Administrative Functions:
- This institute solving the disputes of village people as individual or groups.
2. They control the behavior of people of people. Collect their opinion about various programmes.
3. Gram Panchayat implements the official programme given by the authorities.
4. Conduct regular meetings and keeps records for various departments.
5. The measures are enforced for the desired safety and sanitation of the village people.
Service or Development Functions:
- Collection of taxes like house etc.
2. Promotion of educational, health, agriculture and communication facilities.
3. Providing health and drinking water facilities whenever the village people need.
4. Produce authentic documents regarding birth, death or property details of village people.
5. Looks after general welfare and immediate development of village e.g. road, fight, bazaar, community facilities etc.
It is apex tier of Panchayat Raj System working at District level. It has wide jurisdiction of the development work. As Maharashtra Zilla Parishad Act 1st May, 1962 Zilla Parishad came into structure of Panchayat Raj System in true sense.
Constitutional Structure of Zilla Parishad:
- For early set up, it was stated that every 40,000 population will elect one Members for Zilla Parishad and as 50 75 Members of Zilla Parishad.
- All presidents of Panchayat Samiti are the members of Zilla Parishad.
- The Dist. Collector is also participant Member.
- R.L.As, MLCs and MPs of the District are Members to vote but not to officiate.
- Two Women representatives, one from Schedule Caste and One from Schedule Tribe.
- Two Persons are co-opted from following institutes:
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i) District Credit Societies.
ii) Land Development Bank of the District.
iii) Processing Cooperative in the District.
iv) District Industrial Cooperatives.
v) Cooperative / Educational Institute.
7.Deputy Chief Executive Officer is the Secretary of the Zilla Parishad.
8.The members of Zilla Parishad elect a Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
9.The District Heads of the Departments take part in planning and implementing the programme.
10.Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) is the Administrator for Zilla Parishad. in all 55 to 85 Members are to be included in whole body of Zilla Parishad.
Officers of Zilla Parishad:
- Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
- Chairman each Standing Committee.
- Chief Executive Officer.
- Deputy Chief Executive Officers.
- Subject Matter Specialists.
- Ministerial Staff as Employees.
Every Zilla Parishad has one Standing Committee and other Seven Subject Committees. At present the Committees are grouped as given below:
|Sr. No.||Name of the Committee||Functions|
|1.||Standing Committee-I||Planning, Community Development and communication|
|2.||Standing Committee-II||Food and Agriculture, Cooperation, Animal Husbandry and Irrigation|
|3.||Standing Committee-III||Industries and Public works|
|4.||Standing Committee-IV||Education, Public Health and Social Welfare|
|5.||Standing Committee-V||Taxation and Finance|
The Subject Committees are known as per subject viz. Economics and Finance, Construction Agriculture Education Economics and Industry, Public Health and Social Education, Welfare. Each Subject Committee consists of 7 elected embers and two co-opted members. The Chief of the Subject Matter Committee is the Secretary of the Subject Committee.
Functions and Powers of Zilla Parishad
- The Zilla Parishad maintain District Development fund and utilize for any type of constructive work in District.
- Implement the programmes as per directives of the State Government.
- Zilla Parishad looks after safety, health, education, industry and financial aspect of the people living in the district.
- They render advisory service to their Panchayat Samities.
- They approve the budgets, plans of the plans of the Panchayat Samities.
- Zilla Parishad plan for and prepare proposals for all items of developmental activities.
- They supervise the work of different subjects undertaken by Panchayat Samiti in coordination.
- They organize for various meetings of the members and officials.
- They keep up to date records for various programme and documentation with the help of other Departments.
- It works for the areas where Panchayat Samiti are defunct. The Zilla Parishad of Vice Government in respect of related matter of Rural Development.
Important Features of Panchayat Raj System
- District is supposed to be primary unit of development and not he Taluka.
- Directing election procedure for establishment the any tier in Panchayat Raj System.
- M.L. As and M.L.Cs have limited involvement in Panchayat Raj Samiti.
- Weaker sections and backward class people oriented programme are undertaken.
- President, Chairman and Vice-Chairman are given honorarium.
- Zilla Parishad having defective working can be abolished under certain Laws and Acts.
- All the three are linked with each other.