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Sunday, May 23, 2021

Balwant Rai Mehta Committee (1957) - Panchayati Raj (Rural Economics)

Balwant Rai Mehta Committee - Panchayati Raj

In January 1957, the Government of India appointed a committee to examine the working of the Community Development Programme (1952) and the National Extension Programme (1953) and to suggest measures for their better working. The chairman of this committee was Balwant Rai G Mehta. The committee submitted its report in November 1957 and recommended the establishment of the scheme of "democratic decentralization", which ultimately came to be known as Panchayati Raj.

Balwant Rai Mehta Committee (1957)

Recommendations by Balwant Rai Mehta:

  • Establishment of a three-tier Panchayati Raj system- Gram Panchayat at the village level, Panchayat Samiti at the block level, and Zila Parishad at the district level. These tiers should be organically linked enough as a device of indirect elections.

  • The village Panchayat should be constituted with directly elected representatives, whereas the Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad should be constituted with indirectly elected members.


  • The Panchayat Samiti should be the executive body while the Zila Parishad should be the advisory, coordinating, and supervisory body.

  • The district collector should be the chairman of the Zila Parishad.

  • There should be a genuine transfer of power and responsibility of these democratic bodies.

  • Adequate resources should be transferred to these bodies to enable them to discharge their functions and fulfill their responsibilities.

  • A system should be evolved to effect further devolution of authority in the future.

These recommendations of the committee were accepted by the National Development Council in January 1958. The council did not insist on a single rigid pattern and left it to the states to evolve their own patterns suitable to local conditions. Bit the basic principles and broad fundamentals should be identical throughout the country.


Evolution of Panchayati Raj:

Rajasthan was the first state to establish Panchayat Raj. The scheme was integrated by the then Prime Minister on October 2, 1959, in Nagaur district.

Andhra Pradesh followed Rajsthan and adopted the system in 1959. Thereafter, most of the states adopted the system.

Though most of the states created Panchayati Raj institutions by the mid-1960s, there were differences from one state to another state with regard to the number of tiers, the relative position of Samiti and Parishad, their tenure, composition, functions, finances, and so on.

  • Rajsthan adopted the three-tier system.
  • Tamilnadu adopted the two-tier system.
  • West Bengal adopted the four-tier system.

Further, in the Rajsthan-Andhra Pradesh pattern, Panchayat Samiti was powerful as the block was the unit of planning and development, while in the Maharashtra-Gujarat pattern, Zila Parishad was powerful as the district was the planning and development.

Some states also established Nayaya Panchayats, that is, judicial panchayats to try petty civil and criminal cases.

👉 Previous Page:L.M. Singhvi Committee (1986) - Panchayati Raj (Rural Economics)

👉 Next Page:Ashok Mehta Committee  (1978) - Panchyati Raj (Rural Economics)

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