Panchayat Raj Institutions – Ashok Mehta Committee (1977)

Ashok Mehta Committee (1977)

In 1977, the Janata government appointed a Committee with Ashok Mehta as Chairman. It was entrusted with the task of enquiring into the causes responsible for the poor performance of Panchayat Raj Institutions. It was also asked to suggest measures to strengthen Panchayat Raj Institutions. The committee suggested two tire system of Panchayat Raj consisting of Zilla Parishads at the district level and Mandal Panchayats at the grass root level as against three tier system suggested by the Balwantrai Mehta Committee. The committee recommended constitutional protection to the Panchayat Raj Institutions and further decentralization of power at all levels.

The Ashok Mehta Committee Suggested:
1. Reservation of seats for the weaker sections
2. Two seats for women
3. Adequate financial resources for the panchayats
4. Requirement of Constitutional sanctions
5. To extend people’s participation in developmental activities

Due to the fall of the Janata government, the Ashok Mehta Committee recommendations were not implemented. Few states including Karnataka formulated new legislation on the basis of the recommendations of this Committee. Both the Committees overlooked the importance of panchayats as units of self government.

During 1980’s, two important Committees were appointed to look into local governments. G.V.K. Rao Committee in 1985 and Dr. L.M. Singhvi Committee in 1986. The G.V.K. Rao Committee recommended the revival of Panchayati Raj Institutions such that greater responsibility of planning, implementation, and monitoring of rural development programmes could be assigned to them L.M. Singhvi Committee recommended that the Panchayat Raj Institutions should be constitutionally recognized and protected.

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