Context: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi interacted with Sarpanchs of Gram Panchayats throughout the country today through Video Conferencing, on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day 2020. 

More on news:

  • During this event he launched a unified e-GramSwaraj Portal and mobile application and Swamitva Scheme.
  • PM complimented the villages for giving the mantra - 'Do gaj doori' to define social distancing in simpler terms.
  • The PM said that, “Every Village has to be self-sufficient enough to provide for its basic needs. 
  • Similarly every district has to be self-sufficient at its level, every state has to be self-reliant at its level and the whole country has to be self-reliant at its level”.

About the e-GramSwaraj app

  • It helps prepare and execute Gram Panchayat Development Plans. The portal will ensure real time monitoring and accountability. 
  • The portal is a major step towards digitization down to the Gram Panchayat level.
  • In the last five years nearly 1.25 Lakh Panchayats have been connected through broadband from a mere 100 before. 
  • Similarly, the number of Common Service Centres had crossed 3 Lakhs.

About the Swamitva scheme 

  • It is launched in pilot mode in 6 states to map rural inhabited lands using drones and latest survey methods. 
  • The scheme will ensure streamlined planning, revenue collection and provide clarity over property rights in rural areas.
  • Benefits: This will open up avenues for applying for loans from financial institutions by the owners. 
    • Disputes related to property would also be settled through the title deeds allotted through this scheme.

National Panchayati Raj Day 

  • The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24th April, 1993 has vested constitutional status on Panchayati Raj institutions.
  • The first National Panchayati Raj Day was celebrated in 2010. Since then, the National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated on April 24 every year in India.

Salient Features of the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment Acts 

  • These amendments added two new parts to the Constitution, namely, added Part IX titled “The Panchayats” (added by 73rd Amendment) and Part IXA titled “The Municipalities” (added by 74th Amendment). Panchayats and Municipalities will be “institutions of self-government”. 
  • Basic units of democratic system-Gram Sabhas (villages) and Ward Committees (Municipalities) comprising all the adult members registered as voters. 
  • Three-tier system of panchayats at village, intermediate block/taluk/mandal and district levels except in States with population is below 20 lakhs (Article 243B). 
  • Seats at all levels to be filled by direct elections [Article 243C (2)]. 
  • Seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and chairpersons of the Panchayats at all levels also shall be reserved for SCs and STs in proportion to their population. 
  • One-third of the total number of seats to be reserved for women. One Third of the seats reserved for SCs and STs also reserved for women. One-third offices of chairpersons at all levels reserved for women (Article 243D).
  • Uniform five year term and elections to constitute new bodies to be completed before the expiry of the term. In the event of dissolution, elections compulsorily within six months (Article 243E)
  • Independent Election Commission in each State for superintendence, direction and control of the electoral rolls (Article 243K). 
  • Panchayats to prepare plans for economic development and social justice in respect of subjects as devolved by law to the various levels of Panchayats including the subjects as illustrated in Eleventh Schedule (Article 243G). 
  • 74th Amendment provides for a District Planning Committee to consolidate the plans prepared by Panchayats and Municipalities (Article 243ZD)
  • Funds: Budgetary allocation from State Governments, share of revenue of certain taxes, collection and retention of the revenue it raises, Central Government programmes and grants, Union Finance Commission grants (Article 243H). 
  • Establish a Finance Commission in each State to determine the principles on the basis of which adequate financial resources would be ensured for panchayats and municipalities (Article 243I).


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