Model Question and Answers for APSC | What are the main characteristics of the 73th Constitutional amendment. Make a critical assessment of it.
Ans : Salient Features
1. Gram Sabha: Gram Sabha is a body consisting of all the persons registered in the electoral rolls relating to a village within the area of Panchayat at the village level.
2. Three Tiers of Panchayati Raj: Part IX provides for a 3 tier Panchayat system, which would be constituted in every state at the village level, intermediate level and district level.
3. Reservation in Panchayats: There is a provision of reservation of seats for SCs and STs at every level of Panchayat. The seats are to be reserved for SCs and STs in proportion to their population at each level.
4. Duration of Panchayats: A clear term for 5 years has been provided for the Panchayats and elections must take place before the expiry of the terms.
5. Finance Commission: State Government needs to appoint a finance commission every five years, which shall review the financial position of the Panchayats and to make recommendations
6. Powers and Functions: The 11th schedule enshrines the distribution of powers between the State legislature and the Panchayats.
Critical assessment of the 73th Constitutional amendment
1. The positive impact of the 73rd Amendment in rural India is clearly visible as it has changed power equations significantly.
2. Elections to the Panchayats in most states are being held regularly. Through over 600 District Panchayats, around 6000 Intermediate Panchayats and 2.3 lakh Gram Panchayats, more than 28 lakh persons now have a formal position in our representative democracy.
3. Still, this bill lacks the proper definition of the role of the bureaucracy. It does not clearly define the role of the state government.
4. On practical level, people are illiterate in India and they are actually not aware of these novel features. The Panchayats are dominated by effluents in some parts of the country.
5. The 3 tiers of the Panchayati Raj have still very limited financial powers and their viability is entirely dependent upon the political will of the states.