Panchayat Raj system

20 May 2020




  • The Panchayati Raj is a three-tier system was introduced in India to enlist people’s participation in rural reconstruction.

  • On 24th April 1993, the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992, or  (or simply the Panchayati Raj Act) came into force to provide constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj institutions.

  • According to the Constitution, Panchayats shall be given powers and authority to function as institutions of self-government.


Salient features of the Panchayati Raj Act 

  • To provide a three-tier system of Panchayati Raj for all states having a population of over 20 lakh.

  •  To hold Panchayat elections regularly for every 5 years.

  •  To provide reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and women (not less than 33 percent).

  • To appoint State Finance Commissions to make recommendations regarding the financial powers of the Panchayats.

  •  To constitute District Planning Committees to prepare a draft development plan for the district as a whole.

Under the Act, Gram Sabha has been vested with powers for:

  • Ownership of minor forest produces, approval of development plans, selection of beneficiaries under various programs.
  • Consultation on land acquisition, manage minor water bodies, control mineral leases, regulate/prohibit sale of intoxicants, preventing alienation of land and restoring unlawfully alienated land of STs, managing village markets, controlling money lending to STs, and controlling institutions and functionaries in all social sectors.


Powers and Responsibilities 

  • Preparation of plan for economic development and social justice.

  • Implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice in relation to 29 subjects given in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution.

  • Levying and collecting the appropriate taxes, duties, tolls, and fees.

  • The 73rd Amendment Act gives constitutional status to the Gram Sabha. 

  • The provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 extend Panchayats to the tribal areas of eight states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Rajasthan. This has come into force on 24th December 1990. 

    • Except for Rajasthan and Bihar, all states have passed laws to give effect to the provisions contained in Act 40 of 1996.