Authors: Prof. Dr. P. Periakaruppan
The dream of 'Gram Swaraj' of our beloved father of nation, Mahatma Gandhi and motto of 'Power to People' are essence of true democracy. The task of capacity building of these large numbers of Panchayats is quite gigantic exercise. As per the assessment of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj even after 22 years of enactment of 73rd Constitutional (Amendment) Act and also after having three rounds of Panchayat elections in many States in India the empowerment of Panchayats has not taken place as envisioned in the 73rd Constitution (Amendment) Act in 1992. The 73rd Amendment to the Constitution in 1992 gave Constitutional status to the Panchayats as institutions of local self government and also for planning and implementing programmes for economic development and social justice. The concept of Panchayati raj seemed for a while in the years after Indian independence to have disappeared permanently into the mists of India's romantic past. In the late twentieth century however the notion has returned once more to the political agenda, for a variety of reasons: strategic, practical, economic, and ideology. This paper sets out to trace in brief the origins of the concept of Panchayati, offers some historical examples of the Panchayat in use, and attempts an explanation as to why it should once again have assumed importance in the minds of politicians, NGOs and administrators.
Keywords: Constitution, Amendment Act, Panchayati Raj, Development, Empowerment