experts. It also provides technical assistance and facilities cross-learning across states. In the
      light of recent changes in policy and to take advantage of the emerging opportunities, the
      Ministry has repositioned itself with basic changes in its mandate.
      Relevant Website: www.panchayat.gov.in
      Constitutional Mandate
            Part IX of the Constitution of India provides for setting up of three tiers of Panchayats (only
      two tiers in case of states of union territories having population less than 2 million): (i) gram
      panchayats at village level; (ii) district panchayats at district level; and (iii) intermediate
      panchayats at sub-district level in between gram panchayats and district panchayats. It also
      provides for gram sabha (general assembly of registered voters who reside in the area of gram
      panchayat) as a forum for direct participation of villagers in local governance. The Constitution
      India has fixed five year term for these panchayats and has made provision for the reservation of
      seats for women and marginalized sections (scheduled castes and scheduled tribes) of Indian
      society. While reservation of schedule castes (SCs) & scheduled tribes (STs) is in proportion to
      their share in population, that for women is at least 33.33 per cent. However, many states have
      increased the reservation of seats and chairperson posts for women in panchayats to 50 per cent.
      The Constitution of India also stipulates direct elections of all members of panchayats. For
      conducting these elections, all states are mandated to constitute a state election commission. Also
      it is compulsory for states to constitute a State election commission. Also it is compulsory for
      states to constitute a State Finance Commission (SFC) every fifth year for recommending
      principles for division of financial resources between state and local governments (both urban
      and rural). SFCs are to make recommendations to the Governor regarding the distribution
      between the state and panchayats of the net proceeds to taxes, duties, toll and fees, etc. the
      determination of taxes, dudies, tolls and fees which may be assigned to, or appropriated by, the
      panchayats, and grants-in-aid to the panchayats from the Consolidated Fund of the State, as well
      as measures needed to improve the financial position of panchayats.
            Within this broad framework, as local government is a state subject, State legislatures have
      a critical role in determining various aspects of panchayati raj in their states. States are keys as
      far as devolution of powers to panchayats is concerned. The Constitution envisaged that
      Panchayats will function as institutions of local government and prepare plans and implement
      schemes for economic development and social justice, but leaves the precise devolution of
      powers and authority to panchayats to the states.
      Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyan
            To improve the functioning of PRI, the MoPR implemented the Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat
      Sashaktikaran Abhiyan (RGPSA) in the 12th Five Year Plan period i.e., from 2012-13 upto
      2015-16. The RGPSA addressed the major constraints of inadequate devolution of powers, lack
      of manpower, inadequate infrastructure and limited capacity in the effective functioning of
      panchayats by providing manpower, infrastructure, training and promotion of devolution of
      power to panchayats and put in place structures of accountability.
      Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan
            The Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGGA) will focus on capacity building of Panchayati
      Raj Institutions for convergent action to deliver basic services and achieve development goals.
      Under RGSA comprehensive efforts will be made to support and enhance the capacity building
      and training facilities for all stakeholders with particular thrust on the aspects of GPDP.