Balwant Rai Mehta Committe UPSC

 Balwant Rai Mehta Committee on Panchayati Raj system                                                

Why was the Ashok Mehta committee constituted?
  • In 1957, the Indian government appointed Balwantrai Mehta, chairman of the Lok Sabha’s Estimate Committee, to assess the CDP (Community Development Programme) and NES (National Extension Service), as well as make reform recommendations. The Study Team for Community Development Programme and National Extension Provider was formed to carry out this task, and its results were submitted in November 1957.
  • These recommendations were first published in 1958, and the B.R. Mehta Committee Report was published in January of that year. The recommendations in this paper may have a significant impact on the development of Panchayati Raj. The findings of this paper would have a significant impact on local self-government institutional plans, causing significant changes in the morphology and physiology of the arrangements.
  • The recommendations of the B.R. Mehta Committee were simply guidelines for the states; they had no legal force, and it was up to the state legislatures to put the reforms in place. As a result, Indian law is a patchwork of distinct laws rather than a coherent system.
  • The B.R. Mehta Committee Report’s main criticism was that there was a lack of interest in the required institutional arrangements to expand the population, which hampered the execution of development duties. Another important point of criticism, which relates to the previous concern, was the emphasis on pure welfare activities rather than development programs, resulting in villagers’ lack of desire to invest their time and effort in economic growth.
  • These factors led the committee to the conclusion that efficient development could only work in tandem with democratic representation and accountability to elicit public attention. The current institutional construction in the outer areas was analyzed locally and found to be ineffective and inappropriate for such a task.
  • With the job of regional development, district boards were found to be understaffed, overloaded, and underfunded. The Block Advisory Committees were likewise regarded ineffective and unrepresentative of the local populace. As a result, the committee recommended that a new, representative organization be created in the block amount. According to the research, this had various advantages:
  • First, at that level, the CDB, institutional strategies for development activity already existed. As a result, the block became insufficient to effectively address neighborhood needs, elicit popular interest in regional development projects, and establish a link between residents, the representative institutional arrangement at the town level, typically a Gram Panchayat, and the manager development agency. It was, however, large enough to contain major jobs that either engaged Gram Panchayats that were too vast to be prepared or executed at the village level.
  • The proposed integration of the CDB with an institutional democratic framework, which is already in place, is research for the recognition that existing institutions should be decreased rather than extended. The B.R. Mehta Committee Report recommended a decentralization of executive abilities and accounting in place of devolution for the implementation of development activity, as it was envisioned in the CDP and NES programs. The block entity was not envisioned as merely a state realtor or central authority, but as a business acting on behalf of the local populace and accounting for them.
  • The body was given the name Panchayat Samiti, which reflected the recommended changes’ stronger emphasis on representation. Furthermore, the realization that village Panchayats are already performing a number of developmental duties in relation to the CDO and NES Blocks led to the proposal that these Panchayats be included in any community development reforms. Surprisingly, the organization proposed is not nearly as democratic as, say, the existing Mandal Panchayat design in Assam, where the Mandal Panchayat members are elected directly.

Balwant Rai Mehta Committe is associated with Panchayati Raj

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  • When it comes to Gram Panchayats, the B.R. Mehta Committee’s objective was to establish indirect constitutions of Panchayat Samitis through elections. Conditions for member co-option had also been established, primarily to protect the representation of underrepresented groups. One agent was chosen from among the Panches of the Gram Panchayats where Scheduled Castes or planned Tribes made up more than 5% of the local population and none of these companions were picked from among the Panches of the Gram Panchayats.
  • However, it was merely a recognition of the reality of outlying civilizations, as well as the role that women played in them. The recommendation to involve associates of neighborhood cooperative groups with ten percent of the seats was one factor that demonstrated the type that is definitely progressive of the projected Panchayat Samiti.
  • These associates should be chosen from a list of administrators for the neighborhood cooperative groups in this jurisdiction’s part. Ex-officio users were examined, such as members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) or Members of Parliament (MPs). The committee also advocated a five-year term for the Panchayat Samiti, which would be coordinated with the Five-Year-Plans in such a way that elections would take place around halfway through the Five-Year-Plan. Once again, this demonstrates the Panchayat Samiti’s primary concentration as a development agency with representational aspects, rather than as a grass-roots organization that performs developmental features.
  • Because of the exclusion of politicians, MLAs or MPs, as ex-officio users and the nature of Panchayat Samiti elections, it was the intention to maintain this body apolitical and argumentatively enforced. Aside from the Panchayat Samiti’s elected and co-opted members, the institutional arrangement includes an executive officer, who is responsible for the release of administrative functions, and a technical solution, which includes professional officials with expertise in fields related to the Panchayat Samiti’s features.
  • The committee argued that the continued state Administrative Service cadres were the reason why these officials were being lent to the block entity by the state. The executive officer, who also served as a principal administrative officer, was to be in charge of administrative and functional advice, with technical direction coming from area-level officials in the future. The town entities were able to carry out their jobs correctly in order to ensure the block entity’s success, as well as a large number of income resources were proposed in connection with their specific tasks.
  • Fees on vocations and trades, which are exclusively levied by Panchayat Samitis; rents and earnings from property, such as for fisheries maintained by Panchayat Samitis; tolls for the use of roadways and bridges maintained by Panchayat Samitis; taxes on entertainment
  • In addition, the committee proposed that all money for rural development, whether from the federal government or from state institutions, be directed through the Panchayat Samitis. This means that all funds donated to Panchayat Samitis are either invested or dispersed to other entities that are appropriate. These proposals on the morphology of Panchayati Raj have significantly influenced and influenced existing State legislations.
  • The criteria for staffing related with the Panchayat Samitis, in particular, were intriguing. In view of the centralist tendencies of the time, the idea of delegating State management cadres to the block level and essentially placing them under the control of the locally created arrangement is surely institutionally innovative. The same can be said for the Panchayat Samitis’ key ideas for earning resources.

 Recommendations of the B.R Mehta Committee Report

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  • The recoommendation on which projects the Panchayat Samiti should undertake was substantial. Village Panchayats already fulfilled a number of responsibilities as part of their regular state functions, but not to the extent that the committee advocated. The main focus was clearly on agricultural growth, in keeping with the necessity to enhance the country’s food supply in order to feed its growing population.
  • As a result, the B.R. Mehta Committee Report recommended bringing all farming matters under the control of the Panchayat Samiti, such as seed selection and distribution, enhancement of techniques, particularly sowing, watering, and picking; making and improving irrigation, albeit small; providing financial assistance to farming enterprises, and improvements in pet husbandry.
  • The improvement of minor sectors, as well as the development of neighborhood commercial and industrial businesses, urged that they be brought under Panchayat Samiti administration. Furthermore, issues of general public health insurance and emergency response have been recommended to be brought under the Panchayat Samiti, such as health and sanitation, as well as relief in natural disasters and emergencies, such as health and water supply.
  • Furthermore, the institutional framework was suggested to keep fees for common public and administrative activities such as road maintenance, data maintenance, and management of large, and possibly secondary training. Last but not least, Panchayat Samitis were to be in charge of welfare activities such as fixing minimum infrastructure in the area, notably influencing farm laborers, and promoting backward course improvement.
  • To avoid synchronous structures, all development mechanisms by state governments were being funneled through the Panchayat Samitis. The physiology of Panchayati Samitis suggests that they are focused on development, specifically agricultural development. The main focus of developmental duties coincided with the training course, which was aided by the functions that the CDB and NES blocks possessed and would be built into the new entity.
  • All development initiatives implemented by the Panchayat Samitis, as well as assigning all funding for development projects, both state and federal, demonstrated the desire to make the block level the central hub of development for outlying areas.
  • The Panchayat Samitis’ projected responsibilities in terms of sanitation and health were also developmental in nature. Inadequate sanitation and health care were the main causes of serious sickness and the deaths of many people, making this a serious danger to agricultural production and development.
  • Although the B.R. Mehta Committee’s recommendations clearly focused on the establishment of Panchayat Samitis. It featured recommendations for improving Village Panchayats as well as the establishment of a third-tier level at the district level.
  • Because of their existing status, Village Panchayats were referred to as Gram Panchayats in the report, and the recommendations were not as comprehensive as those for Panchayat Samitis. The Gram Panchayat constitution would include by-elections, which are currently provided for in the States’ Panchayat Acts, as well as co-option of planned Tribes, planned Castes, and women.
  • The committee proposed looking into the possibility of ensuring unanimity in Gram Panchayat elections, citing elections as a way to create conflict in villages and, as a result, an impediment to neighborhood development. The democratic component and debate had been used to turn the tide in favor of development.

Advices of the B.R. Mehta Committee Report

File:A Gramsabha in a rural village of Madhyapradesh.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

  • The B.R. Mehta Committee Report advises incorporating the block tier into the existing village level, but it also combined the CDP’s and the NES’s massive responsibilities into a fresh new institution. Although the part that is most symbolic of this degree was not as democratic as the report attempted to portray, the idea of embedding accountability into the community development enterprise was revolutionary when compared to previous initiatives.
  • The B.R. Mehta Committee advised a modification to the primary Gram Panchayats, which may have included a reconsideration of the Gram Sevak’s role. Their function had evolved in the past, with him being delegated to become the growth assistant of this Gram Panchayat inside the circle, or to a committee made up of Panchayat Sarpanches if one or more panchayats were within his circle.
  • He was almost to act on behalf of the Gram Panchayats in development concerns, despite the fact that it was not suggested to produce. At the same time, he needs to complete development tasks that have been given to him at the block level. In terms of financial revenue streams, the committee recommends that several State acts keep their taxes, charges, and levies.
  • Lighting and water rates, fees for cattle-pound use, area taxes, and commissions on land income were among the items on the list. In addition, it was suggested that the Panchayat Samiti’s land income share be distributed to the Gram Panchayats in their authority. Panchayat Samitis were also expected to provide grants to Gram Panchayats.
  • The committee recommended reducing the number of mandatory obligations to eleven: domestic water supply, sanitation, maintenance of community streets, panchayat roadways, bridges, drains, and tanks, as well as the lighting of community streets and locations, land management, cattle records-maintenance, relief of distress, the direction of major schools, welfare tasks for backward classes, and the collection and maintenance of statistics.
  • Because several of those functions overlapped with Panchayat Samiti responsibilities, your committee advised that by accepting the Gram Panchayat expenditure plans in their jurisdiction, the Panchayat Samitis determine jobs that would eliminate all of them. Furthermore, Gram Panchayats were created to carry out development activities that were established and approved at the block level in collaboration with the Panchayat, which is ideal for Samiti. By limiting Gram Panchayats’ responsibilities and relegating them to the role of executive agents of Panchayat Samitis’ developmental jobs, the focus on development is once again revealed.
  • The B.R. Mehta Committee Report also contained recommendations for calculating the amount of an actual human body in the region. The committee saw the need for such a suggestion because some of the responsibilities of district entities, such as school boards, were to be delegated to the Panchayat Samitis, leaving no justification for further presence; however, a district body was considered useful to coordinate Panchayat Samitis and their specific work, as well as to link the State governments to the institutional regional arrangement.
  • The Zila Parishad was eventually recommended as a completely non-representative body. Rather, it was suggested that the presidents of the Panchayat Samitis, MLAs, and MPs under the jurisdiction of the Zila Parishad, as well as district level officials with portfolios influencing the jobs and tasks of the Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats, form a committee.
  • The president was intended to be the district’s enthusiastic supporter, which is correct. Because of the traits that the Zila Parishad had, despite its capabilities, the impression of pure control is reinforced. The Zila Parishad had a limited number of functions. It was suggested that it be largely in charge of directing and controlling the Gram Panchayats and Panchayat Samitis within its jurisdiction.
  • It also had to approve the page’s expenditure plans and needs, as well as the Panchayat Samitis’ financial contributions to the state governments. As an alternative, District Planning Committees were in charge of coordinating and consolidating Panchayats Samitis development plans.
  • The Zila Parishad would be changing the Panchayat Directorates, which were formerly assigned with the help of Gram Panchayats and Block Panchayats. The committee recommended that a finance committee be established to evaluate the subordinate tiers’ spending plans, with the president and two additional non-official users. For other purposes, such as plan coordination, different standing committees were established, with the chairman, only one non-official user, and the relevant technical officer. If the Zila Parishad were substantially more powerful than its current functions. Finally, the B.R. Mehta Committee offered advice on the judiciary aspect of Panchayati Raj, which was addressed in a number of State acts at the time.
  • These proposals are short and simple, such as recommending that judicial Panchayats expand their jurisdiction. The jurisdiction was projected to be divided into at least two Gram Sevak circles, resulting in the formation of four to five Panchayat Samitis. In terms of the account, it was strongly advised that it be kept independent from the Panchayat Raj’s other institutional arrangements. The option is to delegate responsibility to the appropriate regional magistrate, while Gram Panchayats could suggest panels based on the names of individuals.
  • The B.R. Mehta Committee Report offered numerous recommendations that will significantly alter the overall morphologies and physiologies of Panchayati Raj institutional plans in multiple states. The suggestion to construct a three-tier structure, which was only a thing in Madhya Bharat until its merger with Madhya Pradesh in 1956, was one of several changes that went without saying recommendations would cause.
  • When compared to single-tier techniques, the establishment of two extra tiers represented a significant expansion for Panchayati Raj. The concentration on the second tier, the Panchayat Samiti, is linked to the structural expansion, bringing additional morphological and physiological modifications to the legislation in place in us.
  • While the merging of Panchayati Raj with the Community Development Program and the National Extension Provider was a change, the function of Panchayats was undeniably important. Instead of serving as simple extensions of state administrations and development enterprises in the villages, they were intended to serve as important development hubs, particularly at the market level. All of this is based on the idea of including the village population in development efforts by bringing job execution closer to them at a level where they can actually link to the proper institutional frameworks.
  • Despite this, the democratization promoted by and NES failed to show up in the recommendations of the B.R. Mehta Committee Report. When it comes to Gram Panchayats, there is only a recommendation that they be chosen, based on the circumstances that are currently in place in the various laws. There had been no mention of corporate town assemblies, such as Gaon Sabhas, as democratic hubs of rural communities.
  • The Panchayat Samiti, the central institutional organization through which all developmental programmes and monies are administered, was offered as the inclusive and integrating vehicle via which villagers would be represented and could connect with their partners and NES through the CDP. Nonetheless, the report’s recommendation that Panchayat Samitis be formed through indirect elections undermines the report’s democratic promotion. The Assam Rural Panchayat Act of 1948 went a step further by allowing direct elections and accountability at the second level, the Rural Panchayats.

Growth and Evolution of the Panchayati Raj Institutions in India – Track2Training

  • The recommendations can thus be seen as administrative reforms aimed at making development projects linked to the federal government, i.e. the main state governing bodies, more efficient by centralizing their efforts, both execution and financing, within one institutional arrangement, integrating current institutional arrangements into the projects, and eliminating parallel structures.
  • Rajasthan took the initiative in 1959, passing the Rajasthan Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads Act. The following year, the very first institutional arrangement modeled after that statute was launched in Nagaur, Rajasthan, in a joyous event by Nehru himself, who had been tranquil on the matter of Panchayati Raj up until then and had not made any widespread public effort to strengthen Panchayats. By personally attending such an event, Nehru, still the clear first choice of a nation, lent his support to the Panchayati Raj idea.
  • Because of the elevation of the Department for Community Development to the level of a ministry, and the subsequent elevation of Panchayati Raj proponent S.K. Dey to the level of a minister three years prior, as well as the individual inauguration of the very first brand new design, Nehru made an effective statement in favor of Panchayati Raj. Of course, such a proclamation had ramifications in terms of state legislation.
  • Nehru’s personal wealth as the nation’s and party’s leader, as well as the federal government’s primary commitment to large developmental resources, could have had a decisive impact on the reforms that followed the publication of the B.R. Mehta Committee Report. Nonetheless, Rajasthan and the majority of the other States that implemented the reform recommendations simply altered existing legislation rather than enacting new, unified, and comprehensive legislation.
  • Following the restructuring of states in 1956, as well as the partition of Bombay into Gujarat and Maharashtra, some argue that there was a need to develop new legislation for the new State jurisdictions in order to implement the B.R. Mehta Committee’s recommendations. Gujarat (Gujarat Panchayats Act of 1961) and Madhya Pradesh are two states that fall into this category (Madhya Pradesh Panchayati Act of 1962) Maharashtra, on the other hand, preserved the legacy of the Bombay Village Panchayat Act of 1958 and, as other states have done, added the two tiers of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act of 1961.
  • A notable example is Assam, where a brand-new law, the Assam Panchayat Act of 1959, was passed despite the fact that the state was unaffected by the 1956 reorganization. Some states, such as Western Bengal, were unwilling to implement any of the committee’s recommendations. In terms of Panchayati Raj institutions, the state of West Bengal is a case in point. It developed a four-tier system by an amendment work in 1963, after passing the first post-independence legislation on the subject in 1957.

Conclusions of the B.R. Mehta Committee Report

  • The B.R. Mehta Committee Report was extremely significant. Western Bengal, on the other hand, was an example of a state that failed to follow the same path as the others. Their state passed its Panchayati Raj Act in 1957, and only six years later, it added to it with additional legislation to integrate the recommendations of the B.R. Mehta Committee Report.

 

  • The 1957 Act established a two-tier framework that separated executive and monetary responsibilities. The first was assigned to the village level, and the second to an entity that was not in the block amount but included a few villages. The 1963 Act simply added the block and region level entities on top, creating a four-tiered framework.

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  • In this case, there are several factors to consider: first, in 1957, the need to pass legislation on local governing bodies in compliance with Article 40 of the Indian Constitution. Following that, in 1963, the ecological pressures of the Congress-system, which had been ruled by the INC in West Bengal at the time, were added to the B.R. Mehta Committee Report. This brief period was even interrupted by President’s Rule in 1962, ensuring that a combination of this 1957 Act and supplemental legislation for block and district amounts in 1963 was the least expensive way of revising the report’s recommendations.
  • Finally, the B.R. Mehta Committee provided recommendations on the element of Raj judiciary, which was prevalent in many State operations at the time. These suggestions are usually brief and may consist of nothing more than a suggestion to expand the jurisdiction of judicial Panchayats. At least two Gram Sevak groups were likely to be included in the jurisdiction, resulting in the establishment of four to five panchayats that may be judicially a Panchayat Samiti.
  • In terms of the account, it was strongly advised that it be kept separate from the Panchayat Raj’s other institutional arrangements. Although the Gram Panchayats could nominate panels based on the title of persons, the selection would be the responsibility of the appropriate area magistrate.

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