ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Uttaranchal : A People-Oriented Panchayati Raj Framework

Uttaranchal has a golden opportunity to frame its Panchayati Raj Act so as to reflect the letter and spirit of the Central Act, incorporating at the same time provisions keeping in view local socio-economic conditions. Suggestions for a people-friendly legal framework for panchayati raj.

Education: Panchayat and Decentralisation

Since the 1950s, primary school education has seen a significant decline across certain regions of West Bengal. In this paper that focuses on three districts of the state, the sorry state of affairs that prevails in the panchayati system is largely to blame for the debacle. Panchayati raj institutions, instead of spearheading the decentralisation of the educational process, became a tool in the hands of the major political parties, which sought to implement populist policies like 'no detention' rather than bringing in a thorough revamp of the entire system.

Recent Reforms in the Panchayat System in West Bengal

The experience of West Bengal under the panchayat system stands in sharp contrast with that of other states and, together with land reform, it has been credited for playing an important role in the impressive economic turnaround of the state since the mid 1980s. West Bengal is the first and the only major state to have had timely panchayat elections on a party basis regularly every five years since 1978. However, despite its pioneering status in terms of reforms of the panchayat system, West Bengal lags behind several other states today in terms of devolution of power, finances and functions to the panchayat. Also, the extent of people's participation in the planning process is significantly less compared to that in Kerala. This paper studies a particular component of a set of recently introduced reforms of the panchayat system in West Bengal that is aimed precisely at addressing this concern - the introduction of mandatory village constituency (gram sansad) meetings.

Local Government:Conflict of Interests and Issues of Legitimisation

Following the passing of the 73rd and 74th amendments, many states enacted legislation bestowing significant decision-making powers to the gram sabhas. In Maharashtra however, two parallel bodies with different legitimising sources continue to function, the gram sabha and the traditional village panchayats or collectives, which are generally dominated by upper and richer caste men. This has often led to some piquant situations.
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