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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Evaluate the challenges of Panchayati raj institutions in India. What are the measures needed to strengthen the Panchayati raj system in India? (150 words)

    11 Jul, 2023 GS Paper 2 Polity & Governance

    Approach

    • Start your answer with a brief introduction of Panchayati Raj institutions in India.
    • Write Challenges faced by Panchayati Raj Institutions.
    • Suggest measures needed to strengthen the Panchayati Raj system.
    • Conclude accordingly.

    Introduction:

    The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992 introduced the concept of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in India, aiming to decentralize power and promote grassroots governance.

    It is essential to evaluate the performance of PRIs and identify the challenges they face in order to strengthen the panchayati raj system.

    Body:

    Challenges faced by Panchayati Raj Institutions:

    • Financial Dependence:
      • PRIs often face financial constraints due to inadequate devolution of funds from the state governments, limiting their capacity to execute local development projects effectively.
    • Administrative and Political Interference:
      • Interference from higher levels of government, bureaucratic hurdles, and political influence often undermine the autonomy and decision-making powers of PRIs.
    • Social and Gender Biases:
      • Deep-rooted social hierarchies and discrimination can impede the effective functioning of PRIs, particularly in terms of women's participation and representation.
    • Capacity Building:
      • Insufficient training and skill development programs for elected representatives and functionaries hinder their ability to perform their roles effectively.

    Measures to strengthen the Panchayati Raj System:

    • Adequate Financial Resources:
      • Ensuring an adequate and timely flow of funds to PRIs, along with transparency and accountability in financial management, is crucial for their effective functioning.
    • Capacity Building and Training:
      • Implementing comprehensive capacity building programs for elected representatives and functionaries to enhance their governance skills, leadership abilities, and knowledge of local development issues.
    • Autonomy and Decentralization:
      • Strengthening the autonomy of PRIs by minimizing bureaucratic interference and political influence, enabling them to exercise their powers and functions independently.
    • Social Inclusion and Gender Equality:
      • Promoting inclusive and gender-responsive governance by actively encouraging women's participation, ensuring equal representation, and addressing social biases and discrimination.
    • Strengthening Oversight Mechanisms:
      • Establishing robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to track the performance of PRIs, promote transparency, and hold elected representatives accountable for their actions.
    • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Integration:
      • Leveraging technology to improve transparency, access to information, and service delivery in PRIs, enabling citizens to actively engage and participate in local governance.

    Conclusion:

    The Panchayati Raj Institutions have made significant strides in promoting grassroots democracy and local development since the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992. However, challenges such as financial dependence, capacity building, administrative interference, and social biases persist. By implementing measures to ensure adequate resources, capacity building, autonomy, social inclusion, and leveraging technology, the panchayati raj system in India can be strengthened, empowering local communities and fostering participatory democracy at the grassroots level.

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