Local Government: Urban and Rural

There are three types of urban local bodies: Municipal Corporations in big cities, Municipalities in medium and small towns and Nagar Panchayats in semi localities. Urban local government is the major supplier of essential civic services and facilities in our urban areas, and it represents grassroots democracy at the local level.

Panchayat is the most ancient institution at the village level in India. Panchayats have been functioning as primary institutions of democracy at the grassroots level.

74th Constitutional Amendment

  • Municipal corporations and municipalities are now regulated in a uniform manner in all the States
  • Provide framework for the States in respect of local government
  • Each State has its own Election Commission which conducts elections to all local bodies after regular intervals of five years
  • Each State has its Finance Commission to regulate finances of the local bodies
  • For Scheduled Castes and Tribes seats are reserved
  • One-third seats are reserved for women in all local bodies and rural

Panchayati Raj Institutions

Concept based on the ancient Indian belief that "God lives in the Panch", enthusiastically propounded by Mahatma Gandhi ji.

Importance of Panchayati Raj

One of the Directive Principles of State Policy directed the Union and State Governments to take steps to organise village panchayats and give them such powers and authority to enable them to act as self-government.

Panchayat system has a constitutional status.

73rd Constitutional Amendment

  • Organisation of Gram Sabhas
  • Creation of a three-tier Panchayati Raj Structure at the Zila Block and Village levels
  • All posts at all levels to be filled by direct elections
  • Minimum age for contesting elections is twenty-one years
  • The post of Chairman at the Zila and Block levels filled by indirect election
  • Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes and for women in Panchayats up to one-third seats
  • State Election Commission to be set up in each State to conduct elections to Panchayati Raj institutions
  • The tenure is five years, if dissolved earlier fresh elections to be held within six months
  • A State Finance Commission is set up in each State every five years