National Panchayati Raj Day 2023: Significance & History

National Panchayati Raj Day 2023: Significance & History

In honor of the 73rd Amendment Act, 1992, of the Constitution, which established local self-governance and democratic decentralization, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj celebrates the annual National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24th every year. 

Significance of National Panchayati Raj Day

This day recognizes the importance of empowering and holding accountable the Panchayati Raj Institutions for inclusive development, social justice, and efficient service delivery. The strengthening of local self-government can lead to rural India's self-reliance and promote social, economic, and cultural change to improve the lives of our rural population.

India's Constitution acknowledges Panchayats as "Institutions of self-government," comprising 2.51 lakh Panchayats, including 2.39 lakh Gram Panchayats, 6904 Block Panchayats, and 589 District Panchayats, with over 29 lakh Panchayat representatives. The 15th Finance Commission has recommended Rs. 2,36,805 crore for rural local bodies (RLBs)/panchayats during 2021-26.

Background of Panchayati Raj Institutions

Although Panchayati Raj Institutions have existed for a considerable amount of time, they have not been recognized as effective and responsive democratic entities due to various reasons, such as irregular elections, extended periods of suspension, insufficient representation of marginalized communities like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and women, inadequate transfer of powers, and a lack of financial resources. However, the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 conferred constitutional status on these institutions, marking a significant moment in the decentralization of political power to the grassroots level. The impact of this amendment is evident in rural India, where it has permanently altered the balance of power. As a result, the Indian government, in collaboration with the states, established National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24 to commemorate this achievement, and the Ministry of Panchayati Raj leads the celebration. Since 2010, NPRD has been observed annually on April 24.

National Panchayati Raj Day 2023

National Panchayati Raj Day is an important occasion in India that celebrates the decentralization of power and decision-making in rural communities through the Panchayati Raj system. This year, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj is celebrating the day with a week-long event, the National Panchayat Awards Week, from April 17th to 21st, 2023, under the theme "Panchayaton ke Sankalpon ki Siddhi ka Utsav".

The event will bring together representatives of high-performing Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to receive awards and share their achievements with other stakeholders. The aim is to showcase the success stories of PRIs and inspire others to follow their lead. This approach is in line with the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) 2.0 directives of adopting a "whole-of-society" and "whole-of-government" approach to enhance the outreach of AKAM 2.0 to touch the lives of every Indian.

The celebration of National Panchayati Raj Day is closely linked to the SVAMITVA Scheme, a government initiative that aims to provide ownership rights to rural households and improve rural communities' overall development. Launched in 2020 by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, the SVAMITVA Scheme uses technology to survey and map rural areas and provide property ownership certificates to rural households.

The SVAMITVA Scheme empowers rural households by giving them a sense of ownership and security. It also opens up new avenues for economic and social development, including access to credit and other government benefits. The scheme's implementation is closely linked to the Panchayati Raj system, as it provides Panchayats with the resources and information they need to carry out their duties effectively.

National Panchayat Awards

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) of the Government of India has been recognizing the most outstanding performing Panchayats since 2011-12 based on recommendations from State Governments/UT Administrations. The National Panchayat Raj Day celebration awards these best performing Panchayats, including the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar (DDUPSP), which acknowledges District, Intermediate, and Gram Panchayats for their excellent work in improving service delivery and providing public goods. 

The DDUPSP award has nine thematic categories for Gram Panchayats including Sanitation, Civic Services (such as Drinking Water and Infrastructure), Natural Resource Management, Marginalized Section (Women, SC/ST, Disabled, Senior Citizen), Social Sector Performance, Disaster Management, Community-Based Organizations/Individuals supporting Gram Panchayats, Innovation in Revenue Generation, and e-Governance. The Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar (NDRGGSP) is presented to Gram Panchayats/Village Councils for their remarkable contribution to socio-economic development by involving Gram Sabhas. 

The Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) Award is given to Gram Panchayats/Village Councils that have developed their GPDP according to State/UT-specific guidelines based on the model guidelines issued by the MoPR. Additionally, the Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award recognizes the best performing Gram Panchayat/Village Council for implementing child-friendly practices. 

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