The panchayat raj
is a South Asian political system
mainly in India
, and Nepal
. "Panchayat" literally means assembly (ayat
) of five (panch
) wise and respected elders chosen and accepted by the village
community. Traditionally, these assemblies settled disputes between individuals and villages. Modern Indian government has decentralized several administrative functions to the village level, empowering elected gram panchayats
. Gram panchayats are not to be confused with the unelected khap
panchayats (or caste panchayats) found in some parts of India.
Panchayati Raj is a system
in which gram
panchayats are the basic units of administration
. It has 3 levels: village, block and district.
The term ‘panchayat raj’ is relatively new, having originated during the British administration
. 'Raj' literally means governance or government. Mahatma Gandhi
advocated Panchayati Raj
, a decentralized form of Government where each village is responsible for its own affairs, as the foundation of India's political system. This term for such a vision was "Gram Swaraj
" (Village Self-governance).
It was adopted by state governments during the 1950s and 60s as laws were passed to establish Panchayats in various states. It also found backing in the Indian Constitution
, with the 73rd amendment in 1992 to accommodate the idea. The Amendment Act of 1992 contains provision for devolution of powers and responsibilities to... Read More