'Panchayats' are institutions of self-government recognized by the Constitution of India. India has about 2.51 lakh Panchayats divided into three tiers: Gram Panchayats (2.39 lakhs), Block Panchayats (6904), and District Panchayats (589). These institutions play a significant role in the effective and efficient implementation of flagship schemes in rural India.
Panchayati Raj Day, held on 24th April every year, celebrates the Panchayats of India.
Panchayati Raj Day Background
Although Panchayats had been in existence in India since time immemorial, these institutions had not been able to acquire the status and trust as a viable and responsive people's body. Some of the reasons behind this were:
- Absence of regular elections
- Prolonged supersessions
- Insufficient representation of women and the weaker sections of society
- Inadequate devolution of power
- Lack of resources
To remedy this, the 73rd Constitutional Act vested constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions of India. The Act came into effect on 24th April 1993 and changed the power equations of these institutions.
Accordingly, the Government decided to celebrate 24th April as National Panchyati Raj Day to mark the defining moment of the decentralization of power in the history of India.
The first Panchayati Raj Diwas was celebrated on 24th April 2010. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj anchors the commemoration of Panchayati Raj Day every year.
Panchayati Raj Day Significance
National Panchayati Raj Day provides the country's leaders with an opportunity to hold dialogues with Panchayat representatives from all over the country.
The unique occasion recognizes the work done by Panchayats towards the socio-economic development at the grass-root level (village, block, and district level).
The institutions are also felicitated for their work towards building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The best performing Panchayats are given the following awards:
- Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar (DDUPSP)
- Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar (NDRGGSP)
- Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) Award
- e-Panchayat Puraskar
- Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award (CFGPA)
Panchayati Raj Day 2021 Facts
- 24th April 2021 marked the 12th anniversary of the Panchayati Raj Diwas.
- On National Panchayati Raj Day 2021, PM Narendra Modi launched SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) nationwide.
- PM Narendra Modi electronically distributed property cards/ titleholders to more than 4 lakh property holders of nearly 5000 villages under the SVAMITVA scheme. House owners of 1308 villages of Haryana were amongst the recipients of the property cards.
- Around 74,000 Panchayats participated in the 2021 Panchayati Awards. This was a 28% increase from the previous year's participation.
- The distribution of awards on National Panchayati Raj Day 2021 was as follows:
- Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar- 224 Panchayats
- Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar – 30 Gram Panchayats
- Gram Panchayat Development Plan Award- 29 Gram Panchayats
- Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award – 30 Gram Panchayats
- e-Panchayat Puraskar – 12 States
- Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Singh presented the National Panchayat Award 2021. Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Department bagged 17 awards, while Chattisgarh received 12 awards.
- The award money was credited directly to the bank account of the concerned Panchayats in real-time.
- The PM also called for making efforts to stall the deadly coronavirus from hitting the villages of India.
FAQs on Panchayati Raj Day
Q.1) When is National Panchayati Raj Day celebrated?
National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated on 24th April each year.
Q.2) When was the first Panchayati Raj Diwas celebrated?
The first Panchayati Raj Diwas was celebrated in 2010.
Q.3) Who anchors the commemoration of Panchayati Raj Day each year?
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj anchors the commemoration of Panchayati Raj Day every year.