Chapter 6

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Taluka and District Panchayats


To coordinate the social, economic and political activities of villages there shall be taluka (tahsil) and district panchayats. The functions of these higher bodies shall be advisory and not mandatory; they shall guide, advise and supervise, and not command the lower panchayat.
 
6.1 Taluka Panchayat
Duly elected presidents of a certain number of villages shall constitute the taluka panchayat. The number of members of panchayat will naturally depend on the number of villages grouped into a taluka. Ordinarily, there shall be about 20 villages in a taluka with an approximate total population of say, 20,000. Needless to mention that the sizes of the existing talukas will have to be reduced considerably in order to make their executive, legislative and judicial work manageable and efficient. The term of taluka panchayat, like the village panchayats, shall be three years.

The functions of the Taluka Panchayat shall be:
a. to guide, supervise and coordinate the activities of village panchayats, and audit their accounts.

b. to arrange for secondary or upper basic education.

c. to maintain bigger hospitals and maternity homes for specialised treatment.
 
d. to maintain special reserve of guardians for assisting villages in emergencies.
 
e. to run taluka cooperative banks and marketing societies.
 
f. to keep the inter-village roads in good repairs.
 
g. to maintain model farms for increasing agricultural efficiency.
 
h. to organise inter-village sports and tournaments.
 
6.2 District Panchatyat
All the presidents of taluka panchayats shall constitute the district panchayat. Ordinarily, a district shall not contain more than a dozen talukas of the size indicated above. The terms of the district panchayat shall be three years. Its functions shall be:
 
a. to guide, supervise and coordinate the activities of taluka panchayats and audit their accounts.



EDITORIAL COMMENT
Title ‘Panchayat’ or ‘Government’
The use by the author of the title "panchayat" while referring to higher level governments creates confusion. For example, no one recognises zila panchayat as a government while the collector is believed to be representing the government. Truly, all —- village, taluk or janpad, district, city, state and national —- are governments. The title ‘Panchayat’ is associated with village governments that usually has five councillors. It is odd to call the national parliament ‘All India Panchayat’.
 
In democracies, the governments at the local level are most important to the people. It will be correct to call village governments by their traditional title, gram panchayats, especially since they usually have five councillors and their head Sarpanch. All others should be called government.
 
Zila panchayat should be called district council and the head of the district government, zilapal or district governor. Small towns that are under the coordination of district governments may have nagarpalikas or municipalities headed by mahapor or mayor. Cities that are autonomous may have city governments headed by nagarpal or city governor.
 
The states should have state legislatures and the executive head of the government may be called rajpal or state governor. At the national level, there should be a parliament and an executive president.

 

—- PEOPLE FIRST

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