Balwant Rai Mehta Committee
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The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee was a committee appointed by the Government of India in January 1957 to examine the working of the Community Development Programme(1952) and the National Extension Service(1953) and to suggest measures for their better working. The Chairman of this committee was Balwantrai G Mehta. The committee submitted its report in November 1957 and recommended the establishment of the scheme of 'democratic decentralisation' which finally came to be known as Panchayati Raj.The main aim of Panchayat raj system is to settle the local problems locally and to make the people politically conscious.
The specific recommendations of the committee are:
- Establishment of a 3-tier Panchayati Raj system - Gram Panchayat at the village level, Panchayat Samiti at the block level, and District Parishad at the district level. These tiers should be organically linked through a device of indirect elections.The main purpose of this division is to simplify and to decrease the work load of the state and central government[MSD].
- The village Panchayat should be constituted with directly elected representatives, whereas the Panchayat Samiti and Zilla Parishad should be constituted with indirectly elected members.This is because Panchyat is similar to that of state assembly where there is place for politics where as Samiti and Zilla Parishad members should be more educated and knowledgble and may not need the majority support.
- All planning and developmental activities should be entrusted to these bodies.
- The Panchayat Samiti should be the executive body while the Zilla Parishad should be the advisory, coordinating and supervisory body.
- The District Collector should be the Chairman of the Zilla Parishad.
- There should be a genuine transfer of power and responsibility to these democratic bodies.
- Sufficient resources should be transferred to these bodies to enable them to discharge their functions and fulfil their responsibilities.
- A system should be evolved to effect further devolution of authority in future.
These recommendations were accepted by the National Development Council in January 1958.
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