Panchayati Raj system in Assam

Arup Kumar Sarma ACS, Guwahati
arup kumar sarma

Panchayati Raj system is the arrangement for local self government which was introduced on the basic principle of Mahatma Gandhi that speak about introduction of self governance by the people elected by the people of its own locality. The Panchayati raj system is the key agency to promote rural livelihood in all sphere of life that includes education, health, rural infrastructure, rural economy etc.

In Assam the origin of Panchayati system (PRI)dates back to 1994 when The Assam Panchayati Raj Act , 1994 was introduced , enacted and came into being. The Assam Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 speaks about three tier Panchayati Raj system,i.e. gram panchayat, Anchalik Panchayat and Zilla parishad levelsystem of PRI. The gram panchayat level PRI arrangement covers an area of about 6-7 villages comprising an electoral population of about 10,000.

The Anchalik panchayat is the intermediate level panchayatand is known as the block level panchayat body covering a total of minimum 8 no of GPs. In some block the jurisdiction of AP extends upto 15 GPs.

The zilla parishad is the apex level panchayat system. This arrangement is covering the entire district level territorial jurisdiction excluding the notified town area manned by municipal system of governance.

The gram panchayat level PRI body is headed by GP president and its 10 no of elected ward members and its administration is run by an executive called GP Secretary. The AP level administration is run by Block Development Officer as per advice of the AP level elected body headed by BDO as its executive officer as per advice and recommendation of AP president and other elected AP members. The ZP level administration is run by Chief Executive Officer, Zilla parishad as per the advice and recommendation of ZP president and its elected members.

The Panchayati raj system in Assam look after various developmental scheme like, PMAY (G), MGNREGs, NSAP, ASRLM, FFC grants, SFC grants etc.

The PMAY (Gramin) is the scheme for promotion of houses to the houseless people and this was introduced during the year2016. The beneficiary list for construction of these houses were prepared in the gram sabha. The money for construction of these houses are provided directly into the accounts of beneficiary through DBT system.

The MGNREG scheme is another flag ship scheme introduced by GOI as per provision of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarntee ACT,2006. The MGNREGA Act speaks about providing job to the jobless people for atleast 100 days on demand per family against per job card. There by the MGNREG scheme promotes rural infrastructure like construction of road, school building, hospital, public library, construction of canal, small bridge etc.

The NSAP is yet another benevolent scheme providing pension to the most needy and deserving people like old age pension, widow pension, pension to specially abled person, unmarried daughter and also to the other jobless people( migrant labour etc) during Covid pandemic like Orunodoy scheme etc. All these pensionary benefits are transferred directly into the accounts of beneficiary through DBT system.

Besides these, there are other developmental scheme like FFC grant (Fifteen Finance Commission)sponsored by Central govt, and SFC grant (sixth Finance Commission grant sponsored by state govt.

All these developmental scheme are mandatorily required to be geo tagged at three different stages i.e. pre during and post execution. The execution of these scheme is very much beneficial in strengthening rural infrastructure thereby transforming the rural economy making itself sustainable.

There is however another scheme, for promotion of Self Help Group promoted by ASRLM. The ASRLM advocates organization of rural women folk, cerate awareness amongst them, provide orientation, help in opening bank account, provide revolving fund @ Rs 25,000/- per SHG and even provide softloan to take up economic scheme in order to make them self sustainable.

The introduction of these developmental scheme is very much beneficial in transforming the rural infrastructure there by making itself sustainable starting from the planning, selection and execution of scheme by its own people. Today Panchayat and rural development activities are the most admired and accepted scheme by the people of all section of people in the entire rural areas in Assam.