31st December, 2015 (MAINS)

TODAYs ANSWER WRITING CHALLENGE FROM GS-II

Q1. In absence of a well-educated and organized local level government system, `Panchayats’ and ‘Samitis’ have remained mainly political institutions and not effective instruments of governance. Critically discuss.

[12.5marks/2015/GS-2] 200 words.

Please write answer in the comments section.

  • Preeti Fci

    2015 mains GS2 question solved by me:
    Q1. In absence of a well-educated and organized local level government system, `Panchayats’ and ‘Samitis’ have remained mainly political institutions and not effective instruments of governance. Critically discuss.

    Answer : Panchayats’ and ‘Samitis’ have remained mainly political institutions and not effective instruments of governance because of the following reasons:
    1. Unscientific distribution of functions:
    • The functions assigned to the Panchayat and the Panchayat Samiti overlap, leading to confusion, duplication of efforts and shifting of responsibility.
    • The functions assigned to the Panchayat and the Panchayat Samiti overlap, leading to confusion, duplication of efforts and shifting of responsibility.
    2. Incompatible relation between the three tiers:
    • The three tiers do not operate as functional authorities. The tendency on the part of the higher structure to treat the lower structure as its subordinate is markedly visible.
    • This kind of mutual relationship is not in commensurate with the genuine spirit of democratic decentralisation.
    3. Inadequate finance:
    • The inadequacy of funds has also stood in the way of successful working of the Panchayati Raj. The Panchayati Raj bodies have limited powers in respect of imposing cesses and taxes.
    • They have very little funds doled out to them by the State Government. Further, they are generally reluctant to raise necessary funds due to the fear of losing popularity with the masses.
    4. Lack of cordial relation between officials and people:
    • Introduction of the Panchayati Raj aimed at securing effective participation of the people. But in reality this hardly happens since the key administrative and technical positions are manned by the government officials.
    • Generally there is lack of proper cooperation and coordination between the people and the officials like Block Development Officers, the District Officers etc. Again the officers fail to discharge the development duties more efficiently and sincerely.
    5. Lack of conceptual clarity:
    • There is lack of clarity in regard to the concept of Panchayati Raj itself and the objectives for which it stands.
    • Some would treat it just as an administrative agency while some others look upon it as an extension of democracy at the grass roots level, and a few others consider it a charter of rural local government.
    6. Undemocratic composition of various Panchayati Raj institutions:
    • Various Panchayati Raj Institutions are constituted setting aside democratic norms and principles. The indirect election of most of the members to Panchayat Samiti only increases the possibility of corruption and bribery.
    • Even the Zilla Parishad consists of mainly exofficio members. They are, for the most part, government officials.
    7. Disillusionment on structural functional front:
    • The performance of Panchayati Raj Institutions has been vitiated by political cum caste factionalism, rendering developmental projects into illusions.
    • Corruption, inefficiency, scant regard for procedures, political interference in day to day administration, parochial loyalties, motivated actions, power concentration instead of true service mentality all these have stood in the way of the success of Panchayati Raj.
    • Furthermore, the power to supersede the local bodies on the part of the State Government clearly violates the spirit of democratic decentralisation.
    8. Administrative Problem:
    • The Panchayati Raj bodies experience several administrative problems like the tendency towards politicization of the local administration,
    lack of coordination between the popular and bureaucratic elements, lack of proper incentives and promotion opportunities for administrative personnel and apathetic attitude of the government servants towards development programmes etc.
    9. Politics is an inevitable part of a democratic frame work:
    • The manipulative nature of rural politics is manifest in the techniques used at the time of elections. The fact finding research teams observe that the caste system in rural India has made a mockery of the concept of rural development.
    • Even the Panchayat elections are fought on caste grounds and the traditional dominant castes have manoeuvred in such a way that they still occupy the positions of power in the changed setup. Once the dominant castes have managed to occupy important positions where the decisions are made, they find it easy to manipulate the plans to serve their best interests. Consequently, the split of caste grows wider day by day, alienating the low castes farther and farther from participating in rural development programmes.
    • The political elite in the villages develops a vested interest in the perpetuation of the caste system. As a result, the Panchayats which were to bring about social changes have themselves become victims of caste divisions.
    10. Lack of autonomy:
    • It is being increasingly noticed that the Panchayati Raj Institutions are viewed only as organisational arms of political parties, especially of the ruling party in the state. The State Government, in most states, allows the Panchayati Raj Institutions to function only upon convenience rather than any commitment to the philosophy of democratic decentralisation.

    • http://shashidthakur23.blog.com Shashi Thakur

      points are covered comprehensively but word limit has been exceeded. you have been writing consistently here. please take care of word limit.

      • Preeti Fci

        yes..