The present village Panchayat is a kind of local self-Government. The system has three objects. One is to make the villagers better habituated with the exercise of franchise. The second is to relieve the Government from the details of the local affairs. The third is to let the people manage their own affairs. The Panchayat system has been integral part of the Indian village system through ages. A village is self contained microcosm, a composite peasant society representing different communities and cultural hues. It does not have irritant elements but represent an integrated culture, free to a greater extent from the penetrations of urban cultural patterns into the village life. The importance of village with its head man, called Gramani, could be traced to Rig Vedic times and this head man figures in later Vedic literature as one of the jewels or Ratnas of the administration. The Decimal system of classifications of village into units of 10, 20 or 100 or 1000 is well known. According to Vinaya, heads of the villages (Gramikas) are stated to be meeting in an assembly of their own. Narada supervised the appointment of five officials in each village. The state took full responsibility of rural development, particularly by constructing roads, setting up of markets etc. There were also references to village elders -- Gamma- vriddhas and Grama mahattaras – the prominent persons in the village being associated with village administration. An account of the Panchayat system comparing five persons (official and non official) in districts as well as in sub divisions is afforded by the inscriptions of the Gupta period. At the districtlevels, the Vishayapati or its head had a non official advisory council representing different interest in the locality. These included the Nagara- sresthin- the chief banker representing the commercial interests; the Sarthavaha or carvan – the chief of the leader of the trading community; the Prathama kulika – the chief of the head of the families or the community head; and the Prathama kayastha – the chief scribe or the official administrator. The assistance of the council was sought in matters of alienation of lands and other allied matters of the community interest. At the subdivision (Vithi) and village level, there was a council of non officials consisting of the Vithi- mahaattaras and the kutumbins, representing the elders and agricultural house holds, respectively. The kulikas represented the non official elements in an advisory capacity. At the village level, the Gramika or the head man and his council settled land disputes by fixing boundaries and they also mentioned law and order. His advisory council constitutes the mahattaras – the village elders and the Astha – kuladhikarans – the eight head of the families and other leading men of experience and status. The village elders in southern India were known as Mahajans and they regulated the socio-economic life of the village and assisted equally in administration. The Panchayat system was prevalent in the urban context as well. The local body was called Uttarasabha, Goshthi, Panchakula and a board of Sauvayika. The Panchakula signified a body of five persons who were appointed by provincial head. They deliberated in the town hall called Mandapika. The committee looked after proper realization of grant and rent from the endowed property. On May 15, 1989, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi introduced a constitutional amendment bill in Lok Sabha. This was introduced to make Panchayat Raj in India a truly representative and effective system. The bill could not become law as it was not passed by Rajya Sabha. The bill was again introduced in the new parliament by Narasimha Rao government. This bill, the seventy third amendment act, 1992, passed by parliament, was bought into effect on April 24, 1993. Madhya Pradesh was the first state in the country to comply with the spirit and letter of the act. Presently, there are 2.20 lakhs village...
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