A constitution, statute, legislative bill, or resolution may be amended in
terms of both government and law. Constitutional and statutory amendments are
possible, and they are frequently made to bills as they move through a
legislature. Amendments to a national constitution are typically subjected to an
exact regulated procedure since they have the potential to substantially alter a
nation's political structure or governing institutions. As of December 2021
there are 104 amendments.
On 24 April 1993, the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act became effective. It was
passed in 1992. The Act gave state governments the authority to take the
required actions to formalize gram panchayats and enable them to function as
Long before the act was implemented in 1992, village panchayats were already in
place in India, but the system had a number of flaws that prevented it from
serving as the people's government or responding to their demands. This was
caused by a number of things, including a lack of funding, the absence of
regular elections, and the under representation of the weaker groups, such as
women and scheduled castes and tribes. According to Article 40 of the Directive
Principles of State Policy in the Indian Constitution, the government must make
it easier for gram panchayats to get started and run efficiently.
The 73rd Amendment Act was introduced by the central government of India in 1992
to solve these problems and enhance local self-governments. The law was approved
by both chambers and went into effect on April 24th, 1993. Part IX: The
Panchayats is a new chapter that was added to the Constitution as a result of
- The Panchayati Raj institutions in the nation are now constitutional
bodies according to this Act.
- Every state is now required, in accordance with Article 243-B, to create
panchayats within its borders.
- The state governments are required by Article 243-G to give the
panchayats power, responsibility, and authority.
- The term of office for gram panchayats is set at 5 years.
- Village panchayat elections can be held independently thanks to a system
made available to state election authorities.
- For the proper representation of women and SC/STs, see Article 243-D. 7.
Every five years, the State Finance Commission should assess the panchayats'
Local self-government in the nation has significantly improved as a result of
the 73rd Amendment's passage. The central government chose to recognise April 24
as National Panchayati Raj Day every year in 2010 to commemorate this and
further bolster the institutions. The Gram Panchayat (at the village level), the
Mandal Parishad/Panchayat Samiti/Block Samiti (at the block level), and the Zila
Parishad are the three levels at which the formalized Panchayati raj operates
today (at the district level).
Depending on the benchmarks used for comparison, panchayati raj institutions (PRIs)
are both a stunning success and a colossal disaster. There is no comparison to
the PRIs if the aim was to provide yet another degree of local political and
governmental representation. And if the intention was to improve governance,
PRIs are ineffective and unlikely to do so in the near future.
PRIs are either a failure or, at best, a succession of missed opportunities on
all other margins besides representation. India only had two levels of
government up to 1993. Local governance bodies were introduced in India with the
73rd Amendment. However, the installation of local self-governing organizations
was not mandated by this amendment. It only required the formation of local
self-governing entities; it left it up to the state legislatures to decide what
authority, responsibilities, and resources to give them. And therein lies PRIs'
The supply of education, health care, sanitization, and water was not required
to be transferred, which was the 73rd Amendment's first flaw. Instead, the
amendment outlined the transferrable duties and left it up to the state
legislature to decide which duties would be really devolved. In the past 25
years, there hasn't been a lot of
devolution of power and responsibilities. If PRIs aren't granted the power to
carry out governance-related tasks, they can't govern. To make matters worse,
state executive authorities have multiplied to carry out these functions because
they were never devolved. The most prevalent example is the awful state water
boards, which carry out duties that ought to have been left to elected local
government officials, who have the finest understanding of local water issues
and can be held accountable through the democratic process. 1
The absence of funding for PRIs is the 73rd Amendment's second failing. Local
governments have two options for funding: either they can rely on
intergovernmental transfers or local taxes to do so. Despite not requiring
either, the 73rd Amendment recognised both types of public financing. Even for
matters covered by PRIs, the state legislature must expressly approve the right
to impose taxes. The 73rd Amendment gave state legislatures the option to decide
whether to do this, albeit the majority of them haven't done so.
Intergovernmental transfers, when state governments give PRIs a portion of their
earnings, are a second source of income. The constitutional amendment included
provisions allowing State Finance Commissions to suggest how much money should
flow to municipal and state governments. These are only suggestions, thus the
state governments are not required to follow them. Despite the fact that
financial commissions at all levels have pushed for more devolution of finances,
governments have not taken many steps to do so.
As a result, PRIs frequently struggle to satisfy basic payroll responsibilities
due to a severe lack of funding. They frequently struggle to address even the
most fundamental local government needs and are hesitant to take on projects
that call for any significant financial investment. The only long-term option is
to promote true fiscal federalism, in which PRIs generate a significant
percentage of their own income and are subject to strict spending restrictions,
or fiscal autonomy combined with fiscal responsibility. 2
In order to promote better local administration, the millions of elected
representatives who now give voice to Indians at the grassroots level need clear
mandates of local functions as well as the opportunity to generate their own
income. PRIs are only going to be an expensive failure without the necessary
functions and resources.
Despite numerous attempts by the government, Panchayati Raj Institution was only
founded 45 years after the country gained its freedom. This may be due to
political will, financial constraints, and ignorance. The best institutions for
villagers to resolve their problems and speak up in front of the government are
As a result, the panchayats are the ideal organization to handle problems that
arise at the local level. Although the system still has numerous shortcomings,
this Amendment was a significant move taken by the government to grant the
panchayats constitutional status.
- Shruti Rajagopalan, Evaluating Panchayati Raj at 25, www.livemint.com
- Supra at 1