Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

What is PESA Act?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PESA Act

Mains level : Not Much

A Political Party has declared a six-point “guarantee” for tribals in Gujarat’s Chhota Udepur district, including the “strict implementation” of The Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA Act).

What is PESA Act?

  • The PESA Act was enacted in 1996 to provide for the extension of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas.
  • Other than Panchayats, Part IX, comprising Articles 243-243ZT of the Constitution, contains provisions relating to Municipalities and Cooperative Societies.
  • Under the PESA Act, Scheduled Areas are those referred to in Article 244(1), which says that the provisions of the Fifth Schedule shall apply to the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in states other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
  • The Fifth Schedule provides for a range of special provisions for these areas.

How is the PESA Act, 1996 supposed to work?

  • The PESA Act was enacted to ensure self-governance through Gram Sabhas (village assemblies) for people living in the Scheduled Areas.
  • It recognises the right of tribal communities to govern themselves through their own systems of self-government, and also acknowledges their traditional rights over natural resources.
  • In pursuance of this objective, the Act empowers Gram Sabhas to play a key role in approving development plans and controlling all social sectors.

Special powers accorded by PESA Act includes the:

  1. Processes and personnel who implement policies
  2. Exercising control over minor (non-timber) forest resources
  3. Minor water bodies and minor minerals
  4. Managing local markets
  5. Preventing land alienation and
  6. Regulating intoxicants among other things

States and PESA Act

  • State governments are expected to amend their respective Panchayati Raj Acts without making any law that would be inconsistent with the mandate of PESA.
  • Ten states — Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Telangana — have notified Fifth Schedule areas that cover partially or fully several districts in each of these states.
  • After the PESA Act was enacted, the central Ministry of Panchayati Raj circulated model PESA Rules.
  • So far, six states have notified these Rules, including Gujarat.

What is the issue in Gujarat?

  • Gujarat notified the State PESA Rules in January 2017, and made them applicable in 4,503 gram sabhas under 2,584 village panchayats in 50 tribal talukas in eight districts of the state.
  • The provisions of the law deem the Gram Sabhas as “most competent”.
  • However, the Act has not been enforced in letter and spirit.
  • The Act lays down that the state must conduct elections in such a way that the tribal representation is to be dominant in the Gram Sabha Committees.
  • Yet again, there has been no attempt to proportionally increase the representation.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The Government enacted the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act in 1996. Which one of the following is not identified as its objective?

(a) To provide self-governance

(b) To recognize traditional rights

(c) To create autonomous regions in tribal areas

(d) To free tribal people from exploitation


Post your answers here.
Please leave a feedback on thisx


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Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Municipal finances


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : 74th Constitutional Amendment Act

Mains level : Paper 2- Municipal finances


Recently, the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) analysed data from 80 urban local bodies (ULBs) across 24 States between 2012-13 and 2016-17 to understand ULB finance and spending, and found some key trends.

Health of municipal finances

  • The 74th Constitution Amendment Act was passed in 1992 mandating the setting up and devolution of powers to urban local bodies (ULBs) as the lowest unit of governance in cities and towns.
  • Constitutional provisions were made for ULBs’ fiscal empowerment.
  • Challenges in fiscal empowerment: Three decades since, growing fiscal deficits, constraints in tax base expansion, and weakening of institutional mechanisms that enable resource mobilisation remain challenges.
  • Revenue losses after implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the pandemic have exacerbated the situation.

Analysing the trends in municipal finances

Recently, the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) analysed data from 80 ULBs across 24 States between 2012-13 and 2016-17 to understand ULB finance and spending, and found some key trends.

1] Own sources of revenue less than half of total revenue

  •  Key sources of revenue: The ULBs’ key revenue sources are taxes, fees, fines and charges, and transfers from Central and State governments, which are known as inter-governmental transfers (IGTs).
  • Important indicator of financial health: The share of own revenue (including revenue from taxes on property and advertisements, and non-tax revenue from user charges and fees from building permissions and trade licencing) to total revenue is an important indicator of ULBs’ fiscal health and autonomy.
  • The study found that the ULBs’s own revenue was 47% of their total revenue.
  • Of this, tax revenue was the largest component: around 29% of the total.
  • Property tax, the single largest contributor to ULBs’ own revenue, accounted for only about 0.15% of the GDP.
  • Figures for developing countries: The corresponding figures for developing and developed countries were significantly higher (about 0.6% and 1%, respectively) indicating that this is not being harnessed to potential in India.

2] High dependence on IGTs

  • Most ULBs were highly dependent on external grants — between 2012-13 and 2016-17, IGTs accounted for about 40% of the ULBs’ total revenue.
  •  Transfers from the Central government are as stipulated by the Central Finance Commissions and through grants towards specific reforms, while State government transfers are as grants-in-aid and devolution of State’s collection of local taxes.

3] Tax revenue is largest revenue for larger cities, while smaller cities are more dependent on grants

  • here are considerable differences in the composition of revenue sources across cities of different sizes.
  • Class I-A cities (population of over 50 lakh) primarily depend on their own tax revenue, while Class I-B cities and Class I-C cities (population of 10 lakh-50 lakh and 1 lakh-10 lakh, respectively) rely more on IGTs.
  • Own revenue mobilisation in Class I-A cities increased substantially.
  • It was primarily driven by increases in non-tax revenue

4] Increasing operations and maintenance (O&M) expenses

  • Operations and maintenance (O&M) expenses are on the increase but still inadequate.
  • While the expenses were on the rise, studies (such as ICRIER, 2019 and Bandyopadhyay, 2014) indicate that they remained inadequate.
  • For instance, O&M expenses incurred in 2016-17 covered only around a fifth of the requirement forecast by the High-Powered Expert Committee for estimating the investment requirements for urban infrastructure services.
  • O&M expenses should ideally be covered through user charges, but total non-tax revenues, of which user charges are a part, are insufficient to meet current O&M expenses.
  • The non-tax revenues were short of the O&M expenditure by around 20%, and this shortfall contributed to the increasing revenue deficit in ULBs.

Way forward

  • Improving own revenue: It is essential that ULBs leverage their own revenue-raising powers to be fiscally sustainable and empowered and have better amenities and quality of service delivery.
  • Stability in IGT: Stable and predictable IGTs are particularly important since ULBs’ own revenue collection is inadequate.
  • O&M expenses: Increasing cost recovery levels through improved user charge regimes would not only improve services but also contribute to the financial vitality of ULBs.
  • Measures need to be made to also cover O&M expenses of a ULB for better infrastructure and service.
  • Tapping into property taxes, other land-based resources and user charges are all ways to improve the revenue of a ULB.


The health of municipal finances is a critical element of municipal governance which will determine whether India realises her economic and developmental promise.

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Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Structural interventions by state governments that can create higher-wage jobs


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Structural interventions by State for creating high wage jobs


The recent decision to deduct off-budget borrowings from state borrowing limits reminds chief ministers to be good policy ancestors.

Financing welfare state

  • In A Brief History of Equality, economist Thomas Piketty suggests that “the world of the early 2020s, no matter how unjust it may seem, is more egalitarian than that of 1950 or 1900, which were… more egalitarian than those of 1850 or 1780”.
  • But how the welfare state is financed matters.
  • Changes in state borrowing limits: Adjusting state borrowing limits for their off-budget borrowings leads to transparency because they are routinely breached through vehicles for schemes whose bill comes due far in the future.
  • The confiscation of future spending — interest payments crowd out expenditure and revenue expenditure crowd out capex — matters because our prosperity problem is productivity, wages, not jobs.

5 Structural interventions that can create high wage jobs

1] Reduce regulatory hurdles

  • States control 80 per cent of India’s employers’ compliance ecosystem of 67,000+ compliances, 6,500+ filings and 26,000+ criminal provisions.
  • State governments that rationalise, decriminalise, and digitise their compliance ecosystem will reap lower corruption and higher formality.

2] Fix government schools

  • The most powerful tool for social mobility and employability is free and quality school education.
  • State governments that undertake a significant overhaul of school performance management (the fear of falling and hope of rising for teachers) and governance (the allocation of decision rights around resources and hiring) will create an unfair advantage in human capital.

3] Converge education and employability

  • States should set up skill universities that create qualification modularity (between certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, and degrees), delivery flexibility (equate online, apprenticeships, on-site and on-campus classrooms), and pray to the one god of employers.
  • Degree apprentices innovate at the intersection of employment, employability and education.
  • State governments that remove barriers in their path will see their population of employed learners exceed full-time learners.

4] Devolution of money and power

  • Cities drive productive job creation — New York City’s GDP is higher than Russia’s.
  •  It took 70 years after 1947 for the budget of 28 states to cross the central government’s budget.
  • The combined budget of state governments now exceeds Rs 45 lakh crore, but 2.5 lakh municipalities and panchayats have a budget of only Rs 3.7 lakh crore.
  • Governments that devolve money and power from state capitals to their towns will avoid the curse of megacities and create the competition that drove China’s growth (they have 375 cities with more than a million people versus our 52).

5] Civil service reforms

  • State governments must sell their 1,500+ loss-making public sector units, cut civil service compensation to less than 40 per cent of budget spending, and replace expenditure with capex.
  • Moving from outlays to outcomes needs a new human capital regime for civil servants via seven interventions; structure, staffing, training, performance management, compensation, culture, and HR capabilities.

Shifting resources to protective and productive  version of states

  • Nobel Laureate James Buchanan said any state had three versions — the protective state (police, rule of law, defence, courts), the productive state (common goods like roads, power, health, education, etc.), and the redistributive state.
  • Too many state governments accept the status quo in the first two and “innovate” in the third version.
  • It’s time to shift resources to the first two.


Chief Ministers ought to create high wage jobs, and not borrow money future generations will have to repay.

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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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Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

[pib] Mysuru Declaration on Service Delivery by Panchayats


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Myusur Declaration

Mains level : Not Much

The Participants from 16 States signed the Mysuru Declaration and resolved to roll out the Common Minimum Service delivery by Panchayats across the country from April 1, 2022.

Mysuru Declaration

  • The Mysuru declaration is aimed at recognising Citizen Centric Services as the “Heart of Governance”.
  • It provides key inputs on various aspects of service delivery that are either provided by the panchayats directly or services of other departments that are facilitated by panchayats.

Highlights of the Declaration

WE, the Representatives and Officials recognise the efforts to promote inclusive and accountable Local Self Governments in delivery of services, in consonance with the priorities and the aspirations of our citizens.

We accepresponsibility for seizing this moment to strengthen our commitments to promote transparency, empower citizens, and harness the power of new technologies towards timely and quality delivery of services; enhancing citizen service experiences

We uphold the value of openness in our engagement with citizens to improve services, incorporating diverse views when designing and delivering services. We embrace principles of transparency and open government with a view towards achieving greater prosperity, well-being, and human dignity for sustainable development of local communities.


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Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

25 years of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PESA, FIfth Schedule

Mains level : Tribal autonomy and self-government issues

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has celebrated the 25th year of the inauguration of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 (PESA)’ as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

What is PESA?

  • The PESA is a law enacted by the govt. for ensuring self-governance through traditional Gram Sabhas for people living in the Scheduled Areas of India.
  • Scheduled Areas are areas identified by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

What are Scheduled Areas?

  • “Scheduled Areas” mean the Scheduled Areas as referred to in Clause (1) of Article 244 of the Constitution.
  • They are found in ten states of India which have predominant population of tribal communities.
  • At present, Scheduled Areas have been declared in the States of AP (including Telangana), Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, MP, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan.

Powers granted to Gram Sabha/Panchayats

  • Land acquisition: To be consulted on matters of land acquisition and resettlement.
  • Mining licencing: Grant prospecting license for mining lease for minor minerals and concessions for such activities.
  • Water Bodies: Planning and management of minor water bodies.
  • Regulation of Liquor: The power to enforce prohibition or to regulate or restrict the sale and consumption of any intoxicant.
  • Minor Forest Produces: The ownership of MFPs
  • Land reforms: The power to prevent alienation of land and to restore any unlawfully alienated land of a scheduled tribe.
  • Village Markets: The power to manage village markets.
  • Money Lending: The power to exercise control over money lending to scheduled tribes.

Role of Governor in Implementation of PESA

(1) Report as sought by the President:

  • As per para 3 of the Fifth Schedule, the Governor therein is required to make a report to the President regarding the administration of the Scheduled Areas.
  • The Attorney General had advised the Home Ministry that the role of the governor in sending this report is discretionary.

(2) Applicability of certain laws:

  • An even more significant role of the Governor in scheduled areas arises out of the powers inherent in sub-para (1) of Para 5 of the Fifth Schedule.
  • Governor may direct that any particular Act of Parliament or of the Legislature of the State shall not apply to a Scheduled Area or any part thereof in the State or shall apply to a Scheduled Area.

(3) Modification of laws:

  • The regulation-making powers of the Area is bound neither by the advice of the Tribes Advisory Council or the assent of the President.
  • The provision lays down the responsibility on the Governor to ensure that laws that are contrary to the interests of Scheduled Areas may be suitably modified.

Why was PESA enacted?

  • Filling the constitutional vacuum: These Areas were not covered by the 73rd Constitutional Amendment or Panchayati Raj Act of the Indian Constitution as provided in Part IX of the Constitution.
  • Self-governance: PESA sought to enable the Panchayats at appropriate levels and Gram Sabhas to implement a system of self-governance.
  • Customary regulation: It includes a number of issues such as customary resources, minor forest produce, minor minerals, minor water bodies, selection of beneficiaries, sanction of projects, and control over local institutions.

Significance of PESA

  • Tribal autonomy: PESA was seen as a panacea for many of these vulnerabilities where the tribal communities in such Scheduled Areas were to decide by themselves the pace and priorities of their development.
  • Tribal way of development: PESA was viewed as a positive development for tribal communities in Scheduled Areas that had earlier suffered tremendously from engagement with modern development processes.
  • Sustainable access to forests: The loss of access to forest, land, and other community resources had increased their vulnerability.
  • Easing of tribal distress: Rampant land acquisition and displacement due to development projects had led to large-scale distress in tribal communities living in Scheduled Areas.

Issues with PESA

  • Dilution of the role of Tribal Advisory Councils: PESA mandates Tribal Advisory Councils to oversee tribal affairs and also gives extrajudicial, extra-constitutional powers to the Governors.
  • Politicization: The councils, with the CM as their chairperson, have evolved into a non-assertive institution amid the machinations of upper-class politics.
  • Non-involvement: The Governors, in order to have friendly relations with the Chief Ministers, have desisted from getting involved in tribal matters.
  • Lack of coordination at Centre: Two different ministries, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, have an overlapping influence and they function almost without any coordination.
  • Lack of operationalization: In most of the state the enabling rules are not in place more than eight years after the adoption of the Act suggests the reluctance to operationalize the PESA mandate.
  • Ignoring the spirit of PESA: The state legislations have omitted some of the fundamental principles without which the spirit of PESA can never be realised.
  • Ambiguous definitions: No legal definition of the terms like minor water bodies, minor minerals etc. exist in the statute books.

Related question in CS Mains:

Q. What are the two major legal initiatives by the State since Independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs)? (2017, 150W)

Also try answering this PYQ:

In the areas covered under the Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, what is the role/power of Gram Sabha?

  1. Gram Sabha has the power to prevent alienation of land in the Scheduled Areas.
  2. Gram Sabha has the ownership of minor forest produce.
  3. Recommendation of Gram Sabha is required for granting prospecting license or mining lease for any mineral in the Scheduled Areas.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) Only 1

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Post your answers here:
Please leave a feedback on thisx


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Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

[pib] Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

Mains level : Not Much

The Ministry of Rural Development has taken several measures for the successful implementation of the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) Gram Panchayats.

Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY)

  • SAGY is a village development project launched in October 2014, under which each Member of Parliament will take the responsibility of developing physical and institutional infrastructure in three villages by 2019.
  • SAGY aims at instilling certain values in the villages and their people so that they get transformed into models for others.

These values include:

  • Adopting people’s participation as an end in itself – ensuring the involvement of all sections of society in all aspects related to the life of village, especially in decision- making related to governance
  • Adhering to Antyodaya – enabling the “poorest and the weakest person” in the village to achieve well being
  • Affirming gender equality and ensuring respect for women
  • Guaranteeing social justice
  • Instilling dignity of labour and the spirit of community service and voluntarism
  • Promoting a culture of cleanliness
  • Living in consonance with nature – ensuring a balance between development and ecology
  • Preserving and promoting local cultural heritage
  • Inculcating mutual cooperation, self-help and self-reliance
  • Fostering peace and harmony in the village community
  • Bringing about transparency, accountability and probity in public life
  • Nurturing local self-governance
  • Adhering to the values enshrined in the Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties of the Indian Constitution

Identification of an Adarsh Gram

  • A Gram Panchayat would be the basic unit.
  • It will have a population of 3000-5000 in plain areas and 1000-3000 in hilly, tribal and difficult areas.
  • In districts where this unit size is not available, Gram Panchayats approximating the desirable population size may be chosen.
  • The MP would be free to identify a suitable Gram Panchayat for being developed as Adarsh Gram, other than his/her own village or that of his/her spouse.
  • Lok Sabha MP has to choose a Gram Panchayat from within his/her constituency and Rajya Sabha MP a from the rural area of a district of his/her choice in the State from which he/she is elected.
  • Nominated MPs may choose a Gram Panchayat from the rural area of any district in the country.
  • In the case of urban constituencies, (where there are no Gram Panchayats), the MP will identify a Gram Panchayat from a nearby rural constituency.
  • The newly elected MPs will have the option to select the GP of their choice.

Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

[pib] Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas Campaign


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas

Mains level : Not Much

The Government has launched ‘Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas’ campaign for inclusive and holistic preparation of the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).

Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas

  • Under Article 243 G of the Constitution, Panchayats have been mandated for the preparation and implementation of plans for economic development and social justice.
  • Thus, Panchayats have a significant role to play in the effective and efficient implementation of flagship schemes/programs on subjects of national importance for transforming rural India.
  • The objectives of the campaign broadly include strengthening of elected representatives and Self-Help Groups, evidence-based assessment of progress made.
  • The campaign aimed to help Gram Panchayats (GPs) in preparation of convergent and holistic GPDP through the identification of sectoral infrastructural gaps in respective areas.

Back2Basics: Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP)

  • The Gram Panchayats are constitutionally mandated for the preparation of GPDP for economic development and social justice utilizing resources available with them.
  • The GPDP should be comprehensive and based on a participatory process involving the community particularly Gram Sabha.
  • It will be in convergence with schemes of all related Central Ministries / Line Departments related to 29 subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution.

Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Federalism and India’s human capital


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : 73rd and 74th Amendments

Mains level : Paper 3- Decentralisation and its relationship with human capital

The article argues for recognising the correlation between human capital and decentralisation in India.

Low human capital indicators

  • In the World Bank’s Human Capital Index, the country ranked 116th.
  • The National Family Health Survey-5 for 2019-20 shows that malnutrition indicators stagnated or declined in most States.
  • The National Achievement Survey 2017 and the Annual Status of Education Report 2018 show poor learning outcomes.
  • In addition, there is little convergence across States.
  • India spends just 4% of its GDP as public expenditure on human capital:1% and 3% on health and education respectively— one of the lowest among its peers.

Initiatives to address these issues

  • Investing in human capital through interventions in nutrition, health, and education is critical for sustainable growth.
  • The National Health Policy of 2017 highlighted the need for interventions to address malnutrition.
  • On the basis of NITI Aayog’s National Nutrition Strategy, the Poshan Abhiyaan was launched, as part of the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Scheme.
  • The latest Union Budget has announced a ‘Mission Poshan 2.0’ and the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan has been the Centre’s flagship education scheme since 2018.

Relation between decentralisation and human capital

  • International experience suggests that one reason why these interventions are not leading to better outcomes may be India’s record with decentralisation.
  • Globally, there has been a gradual shift in the distribution of expenditures and revenue towards sub-national governments.
  • These trends are backed by studies demonstrating a positive correlation between decentralisation and human capital.

Issues with decentralisation in India

1) Letting states decide the way of empowerment

  • The 73rd and 74th Amendments bolstered decentralisation by constitutionally recognising panchayats and municipalities as the third tier.
  • The Amendment also added the Eleventh and Twelfth schedules containing the functions of panchayats and municipalities.
  • These include education, health and sanitation, and social welfare for panchayats, and public health and socio-economic development planning for municipalities.
  • However, the Constitution lets States determine how they are empowered.
  • In effect, three tiers of government are envisaged in the Constitution it divides powers between the first two tiers — the Centre and the States
  • This has resulted in vast disparities in the roles played by third-tier governments.

2) Centralised nature of fiscal architecture

  • While the Constitution assigns the bulk of expenditure responsibilities to States, the Centre has major revenue sources.
  • To address this vertical imbalance, the Constitution provides for fiscal transfers through tax devolution and grants-in-aid.
  • In addition, the Centre can make ‘grants for any public purpose’ under Article 282 of the Constitution.
  • While fiscal transfers that are part of tax devolution are unconditional, transfers under grants-in-aid or Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs) can be conditional.
  • Therefore, the increase in the States’ share of tax devolution represents more meaningful decentralisation.
  • Despite some shifts towards greater State autonomy in many spheres, the centralised nature of India’s fiscal architecture has persisted. 
  • Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) have formed a sizeable chunk of intergovernmental fiscal transfers over the years, comprising almost 23% of transfers to States in 2021-22.
  • But its outsized role strays from the intentions of the Constitution.
  • There are issues in the design of CSSs as well, with the conditions being overly prescriptive and, typically, input-based.
  • Against this, international experience reveals that schemes with output-based conditions are more effective.
  • Moreover, CSSs typically have a cost-sharing model, thereby pre-empting the States’ fiscal space.

3) Lack of fiscal empowerment

  • Third-tier governments are not fiscally empowered.
  • The collection of property tax, a major source of revenue for third-tier governments, is under 0.2% of GDP in India, compared to 3% of GDP in some other nations.
  • The Constitution envisages State Finance Commissions (SFCs) to make recommendations for matters such as tax devolution and grants-in-aid to the third tier.
  • However, many States have not constituted or completed these commissions on time.


  • The Centre should play an enabling role, for instance, encouraging knowledge-sharing between States.
  • For States to play a bigger role in human capital interventions, they need adequate fiscal resources.
  • To this end, States should rationalise their priorities to focus on human capital development.
  • The Centre should refrain from offsetting tax devolution by altering cost-sharing ratios of CSSs and increasing cesses.
  • Concomitantly, the heavy reliance on CSSs should be reduced, and tax devolution and grants-in-aid should be the primary sources of vertical fiscal transfers.
  • Panchayats and municipalities need to be vested with the functions listed in the Eleventh and Twelfth Schedules.

Consider the question “There is a positive correlation between decentralisation and human capital. This in part explains India’s low human capital indicators. In light of this, examine the issues with the decentralisation in India and suggest the measures to deal with it.”


Leveraging the true potential of our multi-level federal system represents the best way forward towards developing human capital.



Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Issues related to Urban local bodies


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 243X

Mains level : Paper 2- Making urban local bodies financially strong

The inability of ULBs’ to raise revenue

  • Although it is envisaged that municipal revenue should be 1% of GDP, between 2010 and 2018 revenues declined from 0.48% to 0.43%.
  • As against the municipal revenue of Rs 4,624 per capita, own-source revenue was only Rs 1,975 in 2018 (ICRIER, 2019).
  • This affects the low-levels of municipal services and translates into salary delays for employees.

8-way strategy to increase the revenue of ULBs

1) Increasing the property tax base

  • In India, property taxes only account for 0.15% of GDP, whereas in developing economies they account for 0.6% and the global average is 1.04%.
  • To double the property tax collection the property tax base needs to be expanded using GIS mapping, cross-checking with building licenses, ration cards, mutations, electricity/gas accounts, and review of exemptions.
  • This also needs to cover government properties as per GoI circular 2009 and the SC judgment in Rajkot Corporation vs Railways.
  • Similarly, rates need revision in the guiding value for rent or unit area; for instance, in Delhi, rates are fairly low.
  • The collection process needs to be automated too.
  • ABC (Always best Control) analysis should be done to target the top 10-20% properties, and measures such as attaching bank accounts must be implemented.

2) Upward revision of various fees

  • The value capture taxes need to include upward revision of building license fee and new sources like impact fee, as imposed in Telangana, exactions, and betterment levy like the one imposed in Gujarat.

3) Levy advertisement fee

  • An advertisement fee needs to be levied.
  • Thiruvananthapuram listed the sites and plugged leakages for 33,170 unauthorized boards to double its income from 2018 to 2019.
  • South Delhi MC has achieved a three-time increase with revision of rates in a ratio of 1:8 as per location and by dividing the city into clusters.

4) Local fee

  • Local fee/charges also have immense potential such as (i) recovery on user charges (water, etc) which is only 20% (ii) right of way from gas/electricity and fiber optic lines, (ii) cell tower, (iii) leasing electricity poles, etc.

5) Participatory funding

  • The potential of participatory funding (private sector, CSR, and local community) needs to be tapped.
  • This has been done by Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Mathura (Hybrid Annuity project), Indore, and Pune.

6) Special attention for assigning and activating the fiscal instrument

  • Sixth, small and medium-sized municipal bodies need special attention for assigning and activating fiscal instruments.
  • Better mobilization of own sources may also lead to revenue account surplus.
  • This has been achieved in Ahmedabad, Pune, etc and it also enables access to the capital market.

7) Revision of Article 243X

  • Article 243X needs suitable revision to allow larger inclusion of fiscal instruments above within the scope of a municipality’s own sources.

8) Creating ULBs as per MoHUA’s advisory

  • Over 3,000 census towns not having city government need special attention to create ULBs in line with MoHUA’s advisory in 2016.
  • It will create an innovative and effective financing framework for sustainable urban development.


Financially strong local bodies hold the key to the development of the country. The steps mentioned here needs to be implemented effectively to make the ULBs financially strong.


Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

[pib] E-Gram Swaraj Portal


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : e-Gram SWARAJ

Mains level : E-governance of PRIs

A unified tool e-Gram SWARAJ portal has been developed by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj for effective monitoring and evaluation of works taken up in the Gram Panchayats.


  • It unifies the planning, accounting and monitoring functions of Gram Panchayats.
  • Its combination with the Area Profiler application, Local Government Directory (LGD) and the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) renders easier reporting and tracking of Gram Panchayat’s activities.
  • It provides a single-window for capturing Panchayat information with the complete Profile of the Panchayat, details of Panchayat finances, asset details, activities taken up through Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) etc.

Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Enabling people to govern themselves


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with the governance, importance of decentralisation.

The article examines the issues exposed by the pandemic with the current system of governance in India as well as the global level. Strengthening the local governments is suggested as the need of the hour.

How pandemic exposed the limits of systems

  • Governance systems at all levels, i.e. global, national, and local, have experienced stress as a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • There was a breakdown in many subsystems in health care, logistics, business, finance, and administration.
  •  Solutions for one subsystem backfired on other subsystems.
  • For example, lockdowns to make it easier to manage the health crisis have made but it was disastrous for the economy.

Following 3 are the problems exposed in the governance

1) Mismatch in abilities and functions

  • Human civilisation advances with the evolution of better institutions to manage public affairs.
  • Institutions of parliamentary democracy did not exist 400 years ago.
  • Institutions of global governance, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, did not exist even 100 years ago.
  • These institutions were invented to enable human societies to produce better outcomes for their citizens.
  • The pandemic has revealed a fundamental flaw in their design.
  • There is a mismatch in the design of governance institutions at the global level with the challenges they are required to manage.

2) Interconnected issues

  • All 17 Sustainable Development Goal are interconnected with each other.
  • Environmental, economic, and social issues cannot be separated from each other.
  • Experts working in silos or by agencies focused only on their own problems cannot solve these problems.
  • As government responses to the novel coronavirus pandemic have revealed, a good solution to one can create more problems for others.

3) Local solution requires local problems

  • Even if experts in different discipline arrives at silo-ed solutions at the global level, they will not be able to solve the systemic problems of the SDGs.
  • Because, their solutions must fit the specific conditions of each country, and of each locality within countries too, to fit the shape of the environment and the condition of society there.
  • Solutions for environmental sustainability along with sustainable livelihoods cannot be the same in Kerala and Ladakh.
  • Solutions must be local.
  • For the local people to support the implementation of solutions, they must believe the solution is the right one for them.

Decentralisation of governance

  • Governance of the people must be not only for the people. It must be by the people too.
  • There are scientific explanations for why local systems solutions are the best.
  • Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, had developed the principles for self-governing communities from research on the ground in many countries, including India.
  • Indian Constitution requires devolution of powers to local government too.
  • During pandemic States in India, such as Kerala, have weathered the storm better than others.
  • A hypothesis is that those States and countries in which local governance was stronger have done much better than others.

Consider the question “Examine the issues with the current system of governance which were exposed by the pandemic. Also explain why decentralisation could improve many problems the governance faces.


The government has to support and enable people to govern themselves, to realise the vision of ‘government of the people, for the people, by the people’. Which is also the only way humanity will be able to meet the ecological and humanitarian challenges looming over it in the 21st century.

Original article:

Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Taking care of finances of local governments


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Local bodies.

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with fiscal independence of the local bodies.

This article makes some suggestions to improve local finance and argues that the extant fiscal illusion is a great deterrent to mobilisation.

Advantageous position in handling disasters

  • In terms of information, monitoring and immediate action, local governments are at an advantage, and eminently, to meet any disaster such as COVID-19.
  • While increasing the borrowing limits of the state form 3.5% of GDP to 5%, there was a recognition that local governments should be fiscally empowered immediately.
  • This is a valid signal for the future of local governance.

4 challenges posed by Covid and addressing them collectively

  • COVID-19 has raised home four major challenges:1) economic, 2) health, 3) welfare/livelihood 4) resource mobilisation.
  • These challenges have to be addressed by all tiers of government in the federal polity, jointly and severally.

Local government empowerment: 5 critical areas

  • 1) Own revenue is the critical lever of local government empowerment.
  • But the several lacunae that continue to bedevil local governance have to be simultaneously addressed.
  • 2) The new normal demands a paradigm shift in the delivery of health care at the cutting edge level.
  • 3) The parallel bodies that have come up after the 73rd/74th Constitutional Amendments have considerably distorted the functions-fund flow matrix at the lower level of governance.
  • 4) There is yet no clarity in the assignment of functions, functionaries and financial responsibilities to local governments.
  • Functional mapping and responsibilities continue to be ambiguous in many States.
  • Instructively, Kerala attempted even responsibility mapping besides activity mapping.
  • 5) The critical role of local governments will have to be recognised by all.

Let’s look into resource mobilisation issue: 3 Heads

  • A few suggestions for resource mobilisation are given under three heads: 1) local finance, 2) Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme-MPLADs, 3) the Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC).

1. Local finance

  • Property tax collection with appropriate exemptions should be a compulsory levy and preferably must cover land.
  • The Economic Survey 2017-18 points out that urban local governments, or ULGs, generate about 44% of their revenue from own sources as against only 5% by rural local governments, or RLGs.
  • Per capita own revenue collected by ULGs is about 3% of urban per capita income while the corresponding figure is only 0.1% for RLGs.
  • There is a yawning gap between tax potential and actual collection, resulting in colossal underperformance.
  • When they are not taxed, people remain indifferent.
  • LGs, States and people seem to labour under a fiscal illusion.
  • In States such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, local tax collection at the panchayat level is next to nil.
  • Property tax forms the major source of local revenue throughout the world.
  • All States should take steps to enhance and rationalise property tax regime.
  • A recent study by Professor O.P. Mathur shows that the share of property tax in GDP has been declining since 2002-03.
  •  The share of property tax in India in 2017-18 is only 0.14% of GDP as against 2.1% in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
  • If property tax covers land, that will hugely enhance the yield from this source even without any increase in rates.

Other 2 options for raising finances

  • 1) Land monetisation and betterment levy may be tried in the context of COVID-19 in India. To be sure, land values have to be unbundled for socially relevant purposes.
  • 2) Municipalities and even suburban panchayats can issue a corona containment bond for a period of say 10 years.
  • We are appealing to the patriotic sentiments of non-resident Indians and rich citizens.
  • Needless to say, credit rating is not to be the weighing consideration.
  • That the Resurgent India Bond of 1998 could mobilise over $4 billion in a few days encourages us to try this option.


  • The suspension of MPLADS by the Union government for two years is a welcome measure. The annual budget was around ₹4,000 crore.
  • The Union government has appropriated the entire allocation along with the huge non-lapseable arrears.
  • MPLADs, which was avowedly earmarked for local area development, must be assigned to local governments, preferably to panchayats on the basis of well-defined criteria.

3) Fifteenth finance commission-FFC

  • A special COVID-19 containment grant to the LGs by the FFC to be distributed on the basis of SFC-laid criteria is the need of the hour.
  • The commission may do well to consider this.
  • The local government grant of ₹90,000 crore for 2020-2021 by the FFC is only 3% higher than that recommended by the Fourteenth Finance Commission.
  • Building health infrastructure and disease control strategies at the local level find no mention in the five tranches of the packages announced by the Union Finance Minister.

Suggestions related to grants

  • The ratio of basic (i.e. with no conditions) to tied (with condition)grant is fixed at 50:50 by the commission.
  • In the context of the crisis under way, all grants must be untied  for freely evolving proper COVID-19 containment strategies locally.
  • The 13th Finance Commission’s recommendation to tie local grants to the union divisible pool of taxes to ensure a buoyant and predictable source of revenue to LGs (accepted by the then Union government) must be restored by the commission.

Consider the question “The stable source of revenue for the local government bodies whether from their own sources or in the form of grants should lie at the heart of efforts to empower them. Comment.”


COVID-19 has woken us up to the reality that local governments must be equipped and empowered. Relevant action is the critical need.


73rd and 74th Amendment Acts, 1993

  • It’s been 25 years since decentralized democratic governance was introduced in India by the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendments, which came into force on April 24 and June 1, 1993, respectively.
  • The 73rd Amendment to the Constitution (Part IX) has given constitutional status to the Panchayats, and has provided it with a substantial framework. It envisions the Panchayats as the institutions of local self-governance and also the universal platforms for planning and implementing programmes for economic
    development and social justice.
  • The creation of lakhs of “self-governing” village panchayats and gram sabhas, with over three million elected representatives mandated to manage local development, was a unique democratic experiment.
  • Article 243A gives constitutional recognition to the Gram Sabha as a body consisting of persons registered in the electoral rolls relating to a village comprised within the area of the Panchayat at the village level.
  • The 74th Amendment Act provided for the constitution (Part IXA) of three types of municipalities in urban areas depending upon the size and area.
  • The Constitution provides for a complete institutional mechanism including reservation for women and formation of State Finance Commissions (SFCs) for local democracy.

Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Opportunity to strengthen the 73rd and 74th amendment


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments

Mains level : Paper 2- Need for strengthening the panchayat raj institutions in the letter and spirit enshrined in the Constitution.

The article brings to the fore untapped potential held by the panchayats and municipalities. However, there is a need for devolution in letter and spirit by the states to tap this potential. The article explains how the panchayats and municipalities could contribute effectively in the fight against Covid-19.

Cooperative federalism amid COVID-19

  • An unintended but welcome consequence of the struggle against COVID-19 is that the “confrontational federalism” is on the decline with the revival of “cooperative federalism”.
  • There is a realisation that there is no way the COVID-19 situation can be tackled except through a measure of cooperation between the Centre and the states.
  • Consultative process: The Centre is offering flexibility to states to adopt guidelines to their respective circumstances and states are accepting guidelines from the Centre.
  • A principal reason for Kerala’s amazing performance in “flattening the curve” is their robust system of effective devolution. Such devolution helped the Kudumbashree programme to function in association with the panchayats.

The concept of 3 tier devolution: Centre-State-Panchayats

  • Article 243G provides that state legislatures “may, by law, endow the Panchayats with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government”. 
  • This means state governments cannot and must not treat panchayats as extensions of the state government but as “institutions of (local) self-government”.
  • The logic of “cooperative federalism” is that states must function not as implementation arms of the central government but as autonomous units within the federation.
  • By the same logic panchayats too must be conceived not as an extension of state governments but as “units of self-government”. 
  • It is thus that panchayats need to be brought into the three-tier devolution system envisaged in the Constitution: Centre-State-Panchayats (and municipalities).

How could devolution help in the fight against Covid-19?

  • In line with the rising cooperation between the Centre and the states, the focus should be on further devolution in keeping with the constitutional obligations under the 73rd and 74th amendments.
  • The starting point could best be Entry 23 of the Eleventh Schedule that reads, “Health, sanitation, including hospitals, primary health centres and dispensaries”
  • Entry 23 is among the list of 29 subjects illustratively set out for devolution to the panchayats, subject to conformity legislation being enacted by state legislatures.
  • All state legislation has included this subject for devolution.
  • Therefore, empowering the panchayats in this regard with functions, finances and functionaries is now a statutory obligation under state law under Article 243G.
  • With the migrant workers returning to their native villages, it is important to fully involve village panchayats and municipalities as “institutions of self-government” – 243W in the anti-COVID-19 campaign.
  • Entry 28 of the Eleventh Schedule mentions the “public distribution system” as among the subjects for devolution.
  • There are many other entries in the Schedule that are relevant to this exercise.
  • There is an army of 32 lakh elected representatives in the panchayats and about two lakh more in the municipalities to contribute in the fight against Covid-19.
  • Well over a third of them, some 10-12 lakh, are drawn from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes and, therefore, in touch with the most destitute in every village and town.
  • There are some 14 lakh women who have established themselves by election as village leaders. 
  • Imagine a constructive role such women can play as “front-line workers” in the battle against the coronavirus.
  • The most important requirement is planning to receive the migrant labour influx.
  • Last-mile delivery can only be comprehensively ensured by empowered panchayats and municipalities reporting to their respective gram sabhas and ward sabhas mandated under Articles 243 A and 243 S.
  • Planning for withstanding the ingress of COVID-19 requires the full deployment of the mechanisms for district planning envisaged in Article 243 ZD.

Consider the question asked by the UPSC in 2018-“Assess the importance of the Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what sources the Panchayat can look out for financing developmental projects?”


As the cooperative federalism underlines India’s fight against Covid-19, devolution to the third tier –panchayats and municipalities would give a much needed fillip to the fight against Covid-19.

Back2Basics: 73rd and 74th Amendments

  • 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments were passed by Parliament in December, 1992.
  • Through these amendments local self-governance was introduced in rural and urban India.
  • The Acts came into force as the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 on April 24, 1993 and the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 on June 1, 1993.
  • These amendments added two new parts to the Constitution, namely, 73rd Amendment added Part IX titled “The Panchayats” and 74th Amendment added Part IXA titled “The Municipalities”.
  • The Local bodies–‘Panchayats’ and ‘Municipalities’ came under Part IX and IXA of the Constitution after 43 years of India becoming a republic.

Salient Features

  • Basic units of democratic system-Gram Sabhas (villages) and Ward Committees (Municipalities) comprising all the adult members registered as voters.
  • Three-tier system of panchayats at village, intermediate block/taluk/mandal and district levels except in States with population is below 20 lakhs (Article 243B).
  • Seats at all levels to be filled by direct elections [Article 243C (2)].
  • Seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and chairpersons of the Panchayats at all levels also shall be reserved for SCs and STs in proportion to their population.
  • One-third of the total number of seats to be reserved for women. Onethird of the seats reserved for SCs and STs also reserved for women. One-third offices of chairpersons at all levels reserved for women (Article 243D)
  • Uniform five year term and elections to constitute new bodies to be completed before the expiry of the term. In the event of dissolution, elections compulsorily within six months (Article 243E).

Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Removal of AP State Election Commissioner by ordinance route


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Appointment, removal, change in the conditions of service of the SEC.

Mains level : Paper 2- Power of the state governments to change the tenure of the SEC can affect the independence of the body in conducting free and fair elections.

The removal of the SEC by the ordinance route raises the question over the legality of the move. And if it passes the judicial scrutiny it would harm the independence of the body.

The legality of the removal and its implication for free and fair elections

  • The fact that it was the culmination of an open conflict between the Election Commissioner and Chief Minister makes it a glaring instance of misuse of power.
  • The State government got the Governor to issue an ordinance to cut the SEC’s tenure from five to three years.
  • The ordinance also amended the criterion for holding that office from being an officer of the rank of Principal Secretary and above to one who had served as a High Court judge.
  • This automatically rendered the SEC’s continuance invalid.
  • Last month, just days before the local body polls were to be held, the SEC postponed the elections, citing the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The State government approached the Supreme Court, but the court declined to interfere.
  • Having exhausted its legal remedy, the government should have waited for the ongoing fight against the disease to be over.
  • The Chief Minister has no legal right to terminate the SEC’s tenure.
  • The Constitution makes the holder of that post removable only in the same manner as a High Court judge.
  • If courts uphold this means of dislodging the head of an independent election body, it would mark the end of free and fair elections.

Past judgements on the issue

  • The State government seems to have gone by legal opinion that citedAparmita Prasad Singh vs. State of U.P. (2007).
  • Cessation of term vs. removal: In that judgement the Allahabad High Court ruled that cessation of tenure does not amount to removal, and upheld the State Election Commissioner’s term being cut short.
  • The Supreme Court, while dismissing an appeal against the order, kept open the legal questions arising from the case.

UPSC can frame the question based on the judgement in case by the SC and its implication for the independence of the body in conducting the fair, free and impartial election.

Issues arising out of the past judgements

  • The judgment seems erroneous, as it gives freedom to the State government to remove an inconvenient election authority by merely changing the tenure or retirement age.
  • This was surely not what was envisioned by Parliament, which wrote into the Constitution provisions to safeguard the independence of the State Election Commission.
  • It is a well-settled principle in law that what cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly.
  • Therefore, the removal of an incumbent SEC through the subterfuge of changing the eligibility norms for an appointment may not survive judicial scrutiny.
  • Prohibition on the variation of condition of service: Further, the Constitution, under Article 243K, prohibits the variation of any condition of service to the detriment of any incumbent.
  • Even if the State government argues that a change of tenure does not amount to varying the conditions of service, the new norm can only apply to the successor SEC, and not the one holding the office now.


In order to ensure the independence of the SEC and free and fair elections, legality of the move should not pass the legal scrutiny. Even if it passes the legal scrutiny the government should amend this provision avoid such instances in the future.


Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

[pib] Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0, SISDP Project

Mains level : Utility of geospatial data in governance

The Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0 web portal was recently launched.

Bhuvan Panchayat Version 3.0

  • For better planning and monitoring of government projects, the ISRO has launched the Bhuvan Panchayat web portal’s version 3.0.
  • For the first time, a thematic data base on a 1:1000 scale for the entire country is available with integrated high resolution satellite data for planning.
  • In the project that will last for at least two years, ISRO will collaborate with the gram panchayat members and stakeholders to understand their data requirements.
  • The third version of the portal will provide database visualisation and services for the benefit of panchayat members, among others.
  • The project is meant to provide geo-spatial services to aid gram panchayat development planning process of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
  • The targeted audiences for this portal are Public, PRIs and different stakeholders belonging to the gram panchayats.

About SISDP Project

  • Space based Information Support for Decentralised Planning at Panchyayat level (SIS-DP) is a national initiative of preparing basic spatial layers useful in planning process for local self governance.
  • ISRO launched SISDP project to assist Gram Panchayats at grassroot level with basic planning inputs derived from satellite data for preparing developmental plans, its implementation and monitoring the activities.
  • The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) is the lead centre to execute the project in collaboration with various State Remote Sensing Centres.
  • SISDP phase I Project was successfully concluded in the year 2016-17.
  • Under Phase II, this project shall be implemented shortly with a enhanced scope of updating geodatabase with latest high resolution remote sensing data and spatial data analytics.
  • For the first time, thematic database on 1:10,000 scale for the entire country is available with high integrated High Resolution satellite data for planning.

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