Introduction : Panchayati Raj institutions were established in India by the 73rd constitutional amendment Act of 1993. It has often been Perceived as a significant landmark in the evolution of grassroot democracy in India.
Importance of Panchayati Raj System
– Panchayats help in realising the ideals of democracy by involving people in the decision making process.
– It plays an important role in identifying the local beneficiaries of various programmes like that of poverty elimination and family planning etc.
– PRIs help in implementation of various development programme like mass education and family planning etc.
– It helps in realising the Gandhi’s ideals of making each village a republic of its own.
– Provision of mandatory 33% reservation to women help in participation of women in political arena.
Though, PRIs has been in the country for around 3 decades , there is only a limited succes attributed to it. Since panchayats greatly depends on the government grants, lack of financial autonomy is one of the lacunae of 73rd amendment act.
Souces other than Government grants for financing projects:-
– Panchayats has the power of raising revenue through local taxes, but in many cases the state’s legislature’s approval is necessary.
– Land revenue generated from the villages.
– Toll tax for the tolls present in the village, water tax etc.
However, panchayats greatly depends on government since the revenue it earns from the taxes is minimal. Panchayats play a pivotal role to make democracy reach grassroots. Thus it is the need of the hour to address the issue of financial autonomy with PRIs.