Rural development is the key to India’s economic transformation as a majority of its population lives in the rural areas. Villages in Tamil Nadu have relatively better facilities and services in terms of electrification, drinking water supply, road connectivity, transportation, education and health infrastructure when compared to most other states. Yet, improving these amenities further so as to bridge the urban-rural divide has been a principal policy focus of the Government of Tamil Nadu – as stated by the Honourable Chief Minister in the quotation above.
The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department is responsible for the implementation of various Centrally sponsored and State schemes for poverty alleviation, employment generation, sanitation, capacity building, womens’ social and economic empowerment, apart from provision of basic amenities and services. The department is also entrusted with the responsibility of enabling the various Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) to function as effective units of Local Self – Government.
PANCHAYAT RAJ INSTITUTIONS (PRIS)
Local Self Government in Tamil Nadu has a long history as is evident from the Uthiramerur stone inscriptions in Kancheepuram district. Tamil Nadu, in those days, was a land of village republics, with community groups undertaking many activities for their area development. This tradition reached its peak during the 10th – 11th centuries under the reign of Cholas when Village Councils used to levy taxes, improve community life and administer justice in their limited area. These Village Councils had effective links with the Chola rulers. “Kuda Olai Murai” was the name of the secret ballot method exercised to elect members to the Village autonomy and rise of the centralized feudal administrative system. This continued till British rulers introduced local self-governance primarily as an administrative convenience for the imperial Government.
In the post independence era, the first enactment in democratic decentralization in the State was the the Madras Village Panchayat Act 1950. Pursuant to the white paper on the “Reform of Local Administration” in 1957, the Madras Panchayat Act 1958 and Madras District Development Council Act 1958 were enacted with the following salient features:
- A two tier system of Village Panchayats and Panchayat Unions.
- Creation of Panchayat Unions co-terminus with the Community Development Blocks.
- Village Panchayat Presidents to become ex-officio members of the Panchayat Union Councils with the Chairperson of the Panchayat Union Council directly / indirectly elected.
- Entrusting the Panchayat Unions and Village Panchayats with a large number of developmental and welfare functions.
- Abolition of District Panchayat Boards.
- Creation of District Development Council as an advisory body.
This two tier system operated very well till 1975 and elections were held regularly. Subsequently, the tenure of the Panchayat Unions and Village Panchayats were extended up to 1.2.1977 and 12.9.1979 respectively. Thereafter, Special Officers (Block Development Officer for all the Village Panchayats in a Block and Divisional Development Officer for all the Panchayat Unions in a Division) managed the rural Local Bodies till the next elections in 1986. The elected rural Local Bodies continued in office till March 1991. Again, no elections were held till October 1996 and the Special Officers managed the rural Local Bodies.
In 1992, the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution was enacted andit brought about a number of fundamental changes in the Panchayat Raj system. Consequently, the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act 1994 came into force with effect from 22.4.1994. Some of the important changes brought about by the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution and the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act 1994 are listed below.
- Introduction of a three tier system – at the Village, Intermediate (Block) and District level.
- Mandatory conduct of Local Body elections every five years.
- Introduction of reservation of seats (i.e ward members) and offices (i.e Chairpersons / Presidents) for Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population in every Local Body with provision for rotation of the reserved seats and offices.
- Introduction of reservation of one third of total number of seats and offices for women with provision for rotation.
- Constitution of a State Election Commission as an independent body to conduct elections to both rural and urban Local Bodies regularly.
- Establishment of a quinquennial State Finance Commission to recommend devolution of resources from the State Government to the Rural and Urban Local Bodies.
- Constitution of a District Planning Committee to consolidate the plans prepared by the rural and urban Local Bodies in the district with a view to preparing a comprehensive development plan for the district.
- Introduction of the concept of “Grama Sabha” comprising all registered voters in a Village Panchayat.
In Tamil Nadu (Except Chennai) District Panchayat has been established in all the districts. District Panchayat area has been bifurcated into wards on the basis of 50,000 population per ward. In Local Body election one member has been elected per ward and subsequently the elected members select the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the District Panchayat in indirect election.
In Thanjavur District, District Panchayat office is situated in the following address.
District Panchayat ,
1st floor, Panagal Building,
(Near) Old Bus Stand,
Organisation Chart :
Every Month State Finance Commission release fund. From this fund development works taken in considering the basic needs of Rural People.
Requests for Development works in Rural areas will be placed in the District Panchayat Council Meeting for debate. After debate resolution will be passed in the Council considering the Fund position and needs of requests.
After resolution the concerned works will be permitted to Execute through proper Channel. ie Block Development Officer, after Completion of works fund will be released.
Thanjavur District Rural areas have been bifurcated into 28 Wards. Members are elected from these wards through local body Election. Then Comprising of these members, District Panchayat Council formed.
Important Officers Address
Address – District Panchayat Secretary
Panagal Buildings, Thanjavur
Telephone No – 04361- 231655 Mobile No. 7402607339
Mail id – dpo.tntnj[at]nic.in
Right Information Act
Information Officer – Deputy Block Development Officer(Admin)
District Panchayat, Thanjavur