Here, you will find summaries, questions, answers, textbook solutions, pdf, extras etc. of (Nagaland Board) NBSE Class 11 Political Science Chapter 17: Local Government. These solutions, however, should be only treated as references and can be modified/changed.
The Panchayati Raj system in India, as outlined in the 73rd Amendment Act, is a three-tier structure of local self-governance at the village, block, and district levels. The Gram Panchayat operates at the village level, the Panchayat Samiti at the block level, and the Zila Parishad at the district level. The Gram Sabha, a body consisting of persons registered in the electoral rolls of a village, exercises powers and functions at the village level as provided by the Legislature of a State.
The 74th Amendment Act provides for Municipal Corporations for major cities, Municipalities or Municipal Councils for middle rung cities, and Nagar Panchayats for smaller towns. The administration of a Municipal Corporation vests in an elected Council, the Mayor, Standing Committees, and the Municipal Commissioner. The Mayor, elected annually by the members of the Corporation, holds a very dignified position and is known as the “First Citizen” of the town.
The functions of a Municipality are similar to that of a Municipal Corporation, including construction of roads and bridges, water supply, maintaining hospitals and dispensaries, fire services, slum improvement, and maintaining an account of births and deaths. In addition, they are expected to undertake functions of socio-economic development such as poverty alleviation and safeguarding the interests of weaker sections of society.
Mahatma Gandhi believed that “Independence must begin at the bottom” and that when Panchayati Raj is established, public opinion will do what violence can never do. He envisaged a system where every village would be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs, thus emphasizing the importance of local self-governance.
Textual questions and answers
A. Long answer questions
1. What is meant by Local Government? What is the significance of Local Governments? (Or) What can be said in justification of the Local Government? Answer it with reference to the following:
(a) Efficient and effective management of the local affairs
Answer: Local matters like sanitation, electricity, water-supply, education, public works and other utilities can be better handled by the local people because they have first-hand knowledge of their specific needs.
(b) It is a people-friendly administration
Answer: Local government seems to be the friendliest administration in the world. One of its great strengths is its friendliness to people, who have no hesitation to approach a Village Sarpanch or a Municipal Councillor when they have a problem.
(c) Independence (Self-government) must begin at the bottom
Answer: Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Independence must begin at the bottom. It follows, therefore, that every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs.’ Local Government provides opportunity to the whole community to govern themselves. Devolution of power from the higher to lower levels is the best guarantee for the success of democracy.
(d) The system has Accountability and is extremely Economical
Answer: A local government is fully accountable to the people. In other words, the village Panchas or Municipal Councillors are completely responsible for what they do. They must be prepared to justify their actions.
2. Discuss the composition, powers and functions of the Gram Panchayats, especially in view of the 73rd Amendment Act and Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.
Answer: Members of the Gram Panchayat are elected by the Gram Sabha. Panchayat does not mean that it will have only five members. The number varies from State to State. The Panchayati Raj Act provides that in all the Panchayats seats would be reserved for SCs and STs in proportion to their population. Moreover, not less than one-third of the total number of seats would be reserved for women. It is important to note that offices of Sarpanchas or Adhyakshas (Chairpersons) shall also be reserved for SCs, STS and Women at all three levels.
Under the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution, Panchayati Raj Institutions have been entrusted with an expanded set of responsibilities. Traditionally, the functions of the Panchayats included the provision of safe drinking water, establishment of dispensaries and health centres, provision of primary education, maintenance of roads and footpaths, ensuring good drainage, provision of street lights, and settlement of disputes. However, with the new mandate, they are now also tasked with developmental activities. These include rural electrification, provision of vocational education, promotion of cottage and small industries, and facilitation of rural housing.
3. At the top in the Panchayati Raj system there stands the Zila Parishad. In this context answer the following questions:
(a) What is the composition of the Zila Parishads in India?
Answer: A Zila Parishad has the following members:
- Pradhans of the Panchayat Samitis of the District.
- Members of Parliament and Members of State Legislature from that district.
- One representative of each of the co-operative societies of the district.
- Representatives of women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- Chairpersons of the Municipalities in the district. In some States the District Magistrate is empowered to attend the meetings of the Zila Parishad, but he does not have the right to vote.
(b) What are the Civic and Welfare functions of a Zila Parishad?
Answer: The Civic Facilities and Welfare Functions of a Zila Parishad include:
- Construction and maintenance of public roads, bridges and culverts.
- Construction of parks.
- To develop the land, water and human resources of the area.
- To establish libraries, educational institutions and dispensaries.
- To promote the welfare of women and weaker sections of society, especially children, the handicapped and mentally retarded.
(c) What are the Supervisory and Developmental functions of a Zila Parishad?
Answer: The Supervisory and Developmental functions of a Zila Parishad are as follows:
- Coordinating and Supervisory Functions: The Zila Parishad supervises the activities of the Panchayat Samitis and the Gram Panchayats. The Zila Parishad examines and approves the budgets of the Panchayat Samities.
- Advisory and Financial Functions: The Zila Parishad tenders advice to the State government regarding needs of the people in rural areas. It receives funds from the Union or State-government, which it distributes among the Panchayat Samitis.
- Developmental Functions: The Panchayati Raj institutions all levels will undertake many developmental functions, such as irrigation schemes, rural electrification, poverty alleviation programmes and public distribution system, etc.
4. With regard to the Municipal Corporation answer the following questions:
(a) What are the functions of the Mayor of a Corporation?
Answer: The Mayor main functions are:
- To preside over the meetings of the Corporation and maintaining decorum and discipline in the meetings.
- To act as the channel of communication between the Corporation and the State or the Union Government, as the case may be.
- To receive the foreign dignitaries visiting the city.
(b) What are the functions of a Municipal Corporation, especially as listed in the Twelfth Schedule of the Constitution?
Answer: The functions of Municipal Corporations and other local institutions, as listed in the Twelfth Schedule of the Constitution, cover a broad range of civic responsibilities. These include the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, provision of water supply, ensuring public health and sanitation, and providing fire services. They are also tasked with slum improvement and the provision of public amenities, which include street lighting, parking lots, bus stops, and public conveniences. The mandate extends to urban forestry and the creation of urban amenities such as parks and gardens. The promotion of cultural and educational aspects also falls within their purview, as does safeguarding the interests of weaker sections of society, including the handicapped and mentally retarded.
5. There were some essential differences between the local governments before and after the 73rd Amendment Act. Mention those differences with reference to the following:
(a) Reservation of Seats for the Disadvantaged Sections of society
Answer: Before the 73rd Amendment Act, there was no constitutional mandate for reservation of seats for disadvantaged sections of society in local government. After the 73rd Amendment Act, reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population was introduced. Also, at least one-third of the total number of seats are reserved for women.
(b) Duration of Panchayats (Uniform Term of 5 Years)
Answer: Prior to the 73rd Amendment Act, there was no uniform term for Panchayats across the country. After the amendment, every Panchayati Raj Institution has a uniform five-year term. If the Panchayati Raj institution is dissolved for any reason before the end of the period of 5 years, elections are held within six months.
(c) Conduct of Elections by the State Election Commission
Answer: Before the 73rd Amendment Act, the elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions were conducted by Officers under the direct control of the State Government. After the amendment, the Governor appoints the State Election Commissioner who has been assigned the responsibility of preparing the electoral rolls and conducting elections to the PRIs. Sufficient care has been taken to ensure that the Election Commissioner is able to discharge the duties of his office impartially.
(d) State Finance Commission
Answer: Before the 73rd Amendment Act, there was no constitutional provision for the State Finance Commission. After the amendment, the State government is required to appoint a State Finance Commission every five years. The Commission will review the financial position of the Panchayats and make recommendations to the Governor as to the principles which should govern the distribution of revenues between the State and the Panchayats.
B. Short answer questions
6. What is meant by the Three-tier Structure of the Panchayati Raj? Explain the term ‘Gram Sabha’ and mention its functions.
Answer: The Three-tier Structure of the Panchayati Raj is a system of rural local self-government in India. It consists of three levels: the village level (Gram Panchayat), the block level (Panchayat Samiti), and the district level (Zila Parishad).
The Gram Sabha is a body consisting of persons registered in the electoral rolls of a village comprised within the area of Panchayat at the village level. It exercises such powers and performs such functions at the village level as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide.
7. What is a Nyaya Panchayat? What is its function?
Answer: A Nyaya Panchayat is a separate institution which administers justice in some states. It secures speedy and inexpensive justice to the villagers.
A Panchayat tries only petty civil suits relating to movable property and minor offences such as petty thefts, trespass, unauthorised occupation of public places, cheating and assault. The Panchayats have no power to imprison a person, they can only fine up to ₹ 1,000.
8. What are the main powers and functions of a Panchayat Samiti?
Answer: The functions of a Panchayat Samiti are of two kinds. Civic Facilities and Developmental Functions include Rural Health Programme which includes Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres, Rural Water Supply, Rural Roads and Regulation of Markets, functions relating to Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries which include the provision of improved seeds and chemical fertilisers and distribution of pesticides, Development of Cottage Industries such as handlooms, handicrafts and village industries, Social Welfare which includes the welfare of SCs and STs, women and other backward classes. The Panchayat Samiti also supervises the work of the Gram Panchayats. The Samiti examines the Budget of the Panchayats and may make suitable modifications in it. It also exercises control over the functioning of Block Development Officer and his assistants.
C. Very short answer questions
9. What was Mahatma Gandhi’s opinion or belief about the Panchayati Raj?
Answer: Mahatma Gandhi’s opinion or belief about the Panchayati Raj was that “Independence must begin at the bottom. It follows, therefore, that every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs.”
D. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✔) the correct answer.
10. Which of the following Amendment Acts provided guidelines for Panchayati Raj Acts in States?
Answer: (d) The Constitution Seventy-third Amendment Act, 1993
11. Which is the most suitable venue for the Gram Sabha meeting?
Answer: (c) The School premises
12. At what level does the Panchayat Samiti stand in the three-tier structure of Panchayati Raj Institutions?
Answer: (b) At the Block level
Mrs. A. Joseph is a Sarpanch in one of the villages of her State. She wants to ensure that women of her village do not have to go to far off places to fetch water for their families. Make a few suggestions about how she could solve this problem.
Answer: Mrs. A. Joseph, as a Sarpanch, can take several steps to ensure that women of her village do not have to go to far off places to fetch water:
- She can initiate the construction of community wells or water tanks in different parts of the village to ensure easy access to water.
- She can liaise with the state government or NGOs to implement rainwater harvesting systems in the village. This will not only provide a local source of water but also promote sustainable water management.
- She can advocate for the installation of piped water supply in the village. This would require liaising with the relevant government departments or agencies.
- She can organize awareness programs to educate the villagers about the importance of water conservation and proper usage to ensure the available water resources are not depleted.
- She can also explore the possibility of digging borewells, but this should be done responsibly, keeping in mind the water table and potential for depletion.
- If the village is near a natural water source like a river or a lake, she can work on creating a system to channel water from these sources to the village.
Additional/extra questions and answers
1. Define the term ‘Local Government’ as used in the context of the democratic structure in India.
Answer: Local Government, as understood in the context of Indian democratic structure, refers to an elected body enjoying a certain degree of autonomy and serving as an administrative unit for local affairs. This is typically comprised of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Municipal Institutions (MIS), which are grassroots level entities of governance.
2. What is the significance of the All-India Panchayat Adhyakshas Conference held in November 1995?
Answer: The All-India Panchayat Adhyakshas Conference held in November 1995 is significant because it demonstrated the commitment of the Central Government to involve the people at the third level of governance. The 7000 delegates who attended the Conference were assured by the national government of adequate powers, as well as sufficient finances to enable the PRIs to function as effective units of self-government.
3. List and explain at least two reasons that highlight the importance of Local Government.
- Efficient and Effective Management of Day-to-Day Life and Local Affairs of the People: Local matters such as sanitation, electricity, water-supply, education, public works, and other utilities can be better handled by local people because they have first-hand knowledge of their specific needs. Local government institutions are most familiar with the nuances of their communities and hence, are best equipped to manage these issues.
- People-Friendly Administration: Local government is often the most approachable and friendly form of administration. One of its greatest strengths is its friendliness to people, who often have no hesitation to approach a Village Sarpanch or a Municipal Councillor when they have a problem. This proximity to the community enhances the overall effectiveness and efficiency of governance.
4. What are the benefits of having local government institutions as per Mahatma Gandhi’s view and how does it relieve the State Administration of some of its burden?
Answer: Mahatma Gandhi opined that independence must begin at the bottom, and therefore, every village has to be self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs. Local Government provides the opportunity for the whole community to govern themselves. The devolution of power from higher to lower levels is the best guarantee for the success of democracy. This concept of self-governance ensures active participation of the entire community in decision-making processes and running of local affairs.
On the other hand, having local government institutions can significantly relieve the State Administration of some of its burdens. The devolution of authority enables the State government to focus better on matters like public order, police, prisons, and trade and commerce within the State. This is because a significant portion of administrative responsibilities are assumed by local bodies, leaving the State Administration free to concentrate on broader policy issues and maintaining law and order.
5. Explain in detail how Local Government is accountable and economical.
Answer: A local government is fully accountable to the people. This means that the representatives at this level, such as village Panchas or Municipal Councillors, are completely responsible for what they do and they must be prepared to justify their actions. This accountability is fostered by the close proximity of these representatives to their constituents, allowing for transparent operations and easy scrutiny.
Further, Local Government can also be more economical. Local bodies are often more adept at managing resources efficiently due to their deep understanding of the local context, specific needs, and constraints. This intimate knowledge allows them to devise and implement strategies that can effectively address local issues at a lower cost. In addition, devolving powers to local bodies can lead to substantial savings in administrative costs for the state and central government as it allows for greater efficiency and minimizes duplication of efforts. Thus, Local Government is both accountable and economical.
6. What does Article 40 of the Constitution of India mandate in terms of local self-governance?
Answer: Article 40 of the Constitution of India, under the Directive Principles of State Policy, directs the Government to take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with powers and authority as may be necessary to function as units of self-government.
76. Who manages the day-to-day business of the Nagar Panchayat?
Answer: The day-to-day business of the Nagar Panchayat is transacted by the Secretary.
1. What is the Indian democratic structure comprised of?
A. National, State, and Local Governments B. National and State Governments C. National, State, and Village Governments D. National and Local Governments
Answer: A. National, State, and Local Governments
2. What are the grassroots-level entities of governance in India?
A. National Institutions and Municipal Institutions B. State Institutions and Municipal Institutions C. Panchayati Raj Institutions and Municipal Institutions D. Panchayati Raj Institutions and State Institutions
Answer: C. Panchayati Raj Institutions and Municipal Institutions
3. When was the All-India Panchayat Adhyakshas Conference held?
A. November 1993 B. November 1994 C. November 1995 D. November 1996
Answer: C. November 1995
4. What was assured to the delegates at the All-India Panchayat Adhyakshas Conference?
A. Adequate powers and finances B. Autonomy and powers C. Adequate powers and autonomy D. Finances and autonomy
Answer: A. Adequate powers and finances
5. Which administration is referred to as the friendliest?
A. National Government B. State Government C. Local Government D. Municipal Government
Answer: C. Local Government
6. Who said, “Independence must begin at the bottom.”?
A. Jawaharlal Nehru B. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel C. Mahatma Gandhi D. B. R. Ambedkar
Answer: C. Mahatma Gandhi
86. Who manages the day-to-day business of a Nagar Panchayat?
A. Chairperson B. President C. Executive Officer D. Secretary
Answer: D. Secretary
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