Basharat Saleem Ahanger
Origin and Meaning:-Indian civilization lived in its villages. Panchayats had become defunct during British rule. The revival of Panchayats would ensure participation of the villagers in the political life and the decision making process of the village community. Ramrajya, an idiom that was taken from rural Indian Society, the Holistic conception was represented by the idea borrowed from Ramayana tradition .Ramrajya was Ghandhi’s vision of a just society, essentially a moral idea defined by people’s sense of duty towards right social conduct and fellow feeling.
Structure and Composition:-It aims at taking democracy to the village level by delegating substance of power to people’s organizations. It was the main recommendation of Balwantray Mehta Committee in order to popularize Community Development Projects and make them more effective. It was inaugurated at Naguar Village in Rajasthan on October 2,1959. The Committee recommended the introduction of a three- tier system of Panchayati Raj: (i)the Panchayat at village level,(ii)the Panchayat smiti at the block level, with members elected by the Panchayat, of the villages within the block and ,(iii) the zila Parishad at the District level.
Gram Sabha: Though it is not a tier of the Panchayati Raj System, it has a crucial role in making democratic decentralization complete. It is a non-statutory body in the Indian administered Part of Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian Constitution included Article 40 under the Directive Principles which provides:”The State shall take steps to organize village Panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self government.
Aims and objectives:-Panchayati Raj aimed at involving the people in development and Planning, so that the dependence on bureaucracy would be minimized.
Gram Panchayats are responsible for(i)agricultural Production; (ii) rural industries ;(iii) medical relief; (iv) maternity and child welfare;(v)common grazing grounds; (vi)village roads, tanks, wells and (vii) maintenance of sanitation. At some places they also look for primary education, maintenance of village records and collection of Land revenue. The membership of Panchayats is confined to the Landlords ,the upper castes and the affluent few in Indian society. The benefits of Panchayati Raj do not perculate to the poor who then become indifferent towards them. The attitude of the bureaucracy dealing with the Panchayati Raj at different levels is not very helpful. The Constitution 73rd and 74rth amendment Act,1992 popularly known as the Panchayati Raj and Nagarpalika Constitution Amendment Acts provide Constitutional guarantee to basic and essential features of self governing democratic institutions in Rural and Urban Areas. Which all is regulated and governed by J&K Panchayati Raj Act,1989 and Rules,1996 and J&K Muncipal act 2000 and its allied acts ,here in this part of the State.
Concluding in the Mystic Poetic stanzas of Both Shiekhul Alam (R.A) and Allama Iqbal(R.A).
“WAARI YUED KALIMUKH MANAY BOUZAKH.
YAT I KYO TATI TELI ASSAKH SAAF”.
“MULLA KO JO HEY HIND ME SAJDAY KI IJAZAT
NADAAN YEH SAMAJTA HEY KI ISLAM HEY AZAD”.
The author is practicing advocate at Chamber No 104,New Lawyers Chambers Complex High Court Of J&K.