Panchayati Raj is a uniform three tier structure for local government in rural areas of India. It is the government elected by the people living in a local area. The elected representatives look into the problems and the basic needs of the local people.
The launching of Community Development Programme on 2 October 1952 set the stage for the organisation of Panchayati Raj. On 2nd October 1953 the national extension service was launched.
At the base is the ‘Gram Panchayat’. The intermediary level is the Mandal or Panchayat Samiti and at the apex is the ZillaParishad.
Seventy third amendment aims to deepen democracy by reservation for women and weaker sections, foster need based development by participation of representatives in planning and decision making for development, check bureaucratic arbitrariness and corruption by rural elites and state government politicians.
Tribal communitiesof north east regions have got right over forest produce and self governance as per their traditional practices.
Corruption, token representation, factionalism, bureaucratic encroachment, poor planning and managerial capacity, little devolution of functions, finances, lack of infrastructure and inadequate and ignorant manpower are challenges facing Panchayati raj institutions in India.
Amending state laws to prohibit the dissolution of Panchayat bodies, conferring functions, staff and untied funds on these institutions, strengthening Gram Sabha and District planning Committee fostering a culture of dialogue amongst factions will solve key problems facing the panchayat bodies.