Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Nod to extend Gram Swaraj Scheme


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Gram Swaraj Scheme

Mains level: Read the attached story

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved a proposal to continue the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA), a scheme for improving the governance capabilities of Panchayati Raj institutions, till 2025-26.

What is RGSA?

  • The RGSA, a centrally sponsored scheme, was first approved by the Union Cabinet in 2018 for implementation from 2018-19 to 2021-22.
  • It is a unique scheme proposed to develop and strengthen the Panchayati Raj System across India in rural areas.
  • The objective of the campaign is to promote social harmony, spread awareness about pro-poor initiatives of the government, and reach out to poor households to enroll them as also to obtain their feedback on various welfare programs.
  • The main central components of the scheme included incentivization of panchayats and mission mode project on e-Panchayat including other activities at central level.

Scope of the scheme

  • RGSA is extend to all States and Union Territories (UTs) of the country. It includes institutions of rural local government in non-Part IX areas.
  • Part IX provides for a 3 tier Panchayat system, which would be constituted in every state at the village level, intermediate level and district level.
  • This provision brought uniformity in the Panchayati Raj structure in India.

Areas where Part IX is not applicable:

As per Article 243M of the Constitution, provisions of Part IX of the Constitution are not applicable to:

  • Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas referred to in Article 244.
  • The States of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
  • The hill areas in the State of Manipur for which District Councils exist. (In these areas, district councils and various types of village-level bodies are in existence)
  • Panchayats at the district level to the hill areas of the District of Darjeeling in the State of West Bengal.
  • Provision of the Article 243D with respect to reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes is not applicable to the State of Arunachal Pradesh.

Purpose of extension

The scheme would work towards:

  • Poverty-free and enhanced livelihood in villages
  • Healthy villages, child-friendly villages
  • Water-sufficient villages
  • Clean and green villages
  • Self-sufficient infrastructure in villages
  • Socially-secure villages with good governance and engendered development


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