Evaluation of Mehta Committee’s Report on Panchayati Raj – Essay

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It envisaged a revolutionary experiment of democratic decentralisation. It is tantamount of faith in democracy a grass root approach to administration.” By 1963 Panchayati Raj was established in most of the Indian states.

An analysis of various statutes passed by the state Governments in this direction brings to the force two issues: (i) Should be unit of devolution be district or Block or both the adopted as units of decentralization; (ii) Should the members be directly elected or the membership be indirectly elected or should they be elected to both ways.

According to Mehta Committee’s report, “The member of Panchayats which are torn by faction or in which squabbles are rampant is large. Panchayat elections have resulted in creating or aggravating rivalries in about one third of the villages in which there is a contest-separatism arising out of caste distinction is on increase.

In practice economically weaker sections have no voice in the affairs of the Panchayats. In some cases they are in debt to a sarpanch who is often a man of influence.”

Study Team June, 1962:

Political parties exploited local leaders and found a foot holds in the local politics. Three vexing problems cropped up viz., paucity of finances; spread of factious spirit and character of emerging leadership. A team was appointed by Ministry of Community Development in June 1962 to go into these questions.

The Team recommended; (a) Statutorization of Gram Sabha. (b) Earmarking of district functions of control regarding budget taxation projects of panchayats etc. (c) Gram Sabha meeting be attended by some responsible officials and non-officials from Samitis, and (d) the Gram sabha should take up planning production programme.

Study Team July, 1962:

Another study team was appointed in July 1962 to make appraisal of Panchayats and report. It submitted it report in 1963. Its recommendation pertained to:

(i) Resources of the Panchayats, (ii) Expenditure of the Panchayats, (iii) Resources of the Panchayat Samitis, (iv) Zila Parishad, (v) Loans to Panchayat Raj Bodies, (vi) Budget Accounts and Audit, (vii) General.