Balwant Rai Mehta Committee


The Government of India established a committee in January 1957 to review the operations of the National Extension Service (1953) and the Community Development Programme (1952). Measures to improve their performance. The committee’s chairman was Mehta, Balwant Rai G. The panel delivered its report in november 1957 and encouraged the creation of the plan regarding “democratic decentralization,” which eventually became the Panchayati Raj.

It offers the following proposals in detail:

  1. Establishing a three-tier panchayati raj system at the village, block, and district levels (gram panchayat, panchayat samiti, and zila parishad). These levels ought to be organically connected through a method including indirect elections.
  2. The panchayat samiti and zila parishad should be made up of members who were elected indirectly, whilst the village panchayat should be made up of directly elected delegates.
  3. All planning and development activities should be entrusted to these bodies.
  4. The zila parishad should serve as the advising, coordinating, and supervisory body, while the panchayat samiti should serve as the executive body.
  5. The district collector should be the chairman of the zila parishad.
  6. These democratic entities should genuinely receive a transfer of authority and duty.
  7. Transferring sufficient funding to these organizations will allow them to carry out their duties and fulfill their obligations.
  8. A method should be developed to implement future authority devolution.

The National Development Council adopted these committee recommendations in January 1958. The council did not impose any one strict plan and allowed the nations to develop their own patterns according to the local environment. But the fundamental ideas and he general principles should be the same everywhere around the nation.

Panchayati Raj was initially implemented in the state of Rajasthan. On October 2, 1959, the prime minister opened the program in the Nagaur area. Andhra Pradesh came after Rajasthan, which adopted the method in 1959 as well. After it, the majority of states the system was adopted.

Despite the fact that by the middle of the 1960s, most states had established panchayati raj institutions, there were variations across states in terms of the number of tiers, the relationship between samiti and parishad, and other factors tenure, group makeup, job duties, resources, etc. For instance, Tamil Nadu adopted the two-tier system, whereas Rajasthan accepted the three-tier two-tiered structure. On the other hand, West Bengal embraced the four-tier system. Additionally, panchayats follow the Rajasthan-Andhra Pradesh pattern. Samiti was strong since the block was the planning unit and development, but zila parishad was a trend in Maharashtra and Gujarat strong because it served as the planning and development unit. Additionally, several governments created nyaya panchayats, which are judicial small-scale civil and criminal cases are heard by panchayats.

Decentralization is required:

The administration launched initiatives to decentralize authority and decision-making after realizing the need to close this gap and empower rural people. One important move in this approach was the establishment of the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee.

The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee was established.


  • The committee was established in January 1957 under the leadership of well-known civil officer and administrator Balwant Rai Mehta. It had seven members, including authorities in public administration, finance, and rural development.

2. Terms of Reference

The committee’s main goal was to analyze the current rural local government systems and recommend changes to improve their performance. The exact conditions of reference were as follows:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the current local organizations.
  • Advising enhancements to their operation.
  • Outlining strategies for bolstering democratic values at the local level.

3.Important Recommendations

(a).System of Three-Tier Panchayati Raj

  • The creation of a three-tier Panchayati Raj system composed of: was one of the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee’s most important recommendations.
  • Village-level Gram Panchayats are one example.

(b). Panchayat Samitis at the block-level intermediate stage.

(c).District-level Zila Parishads are option.

(d).Greater representation, accountability, and efficiency in municipal governance were the goals of this multi-tiered organization.

4. Elections held by Democrats

  • To these Panchayati Raj institutions, the committee highlighted the value of democratic elections. It suggested that the people elect the members of these bodies, allowing local leaders to be chosen in a democratic manner.

5. Devolution of Functions and Powers

  • The committee suggested delegating appropriate authorities and responsibilities to these local entities in order to strengthen them. Control over local planning, development, and administration was part of this. Making these institutions financially and administratively independent was the goal.

6. Reservation for Marginalized Groups:

  • The committee suggested reservations for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and women in Panchayati Raj institutions, acknowledging the need for social justice and inclusion. This action was taken to remedy historical injustices and guarantee marginalized populations’ involvement in local administration.

7. Financial Independence

  • The committee emphasized how crucial financial independence is for Panchayati Raj entities. The collection of local taxes and fees, as well as a fair distribution of financial resources from the state and the center, were suggested.

Effect and Application

1. 73rd Amendment to the Constitution Act

  • The 1992 passage of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act was made possible by the suggestions made by the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee. With this amendment, India’s Panchayati Raj system underwent important modifications, including the requirement for the creation of a three-tier structure, the holding of democratic elections, and reservations for SCs, STs, and women.

2. Local Self-Empowerment

  • The Panchayati Raj system was put into place per the committee’s recommendations, which had a huge impact on rural India. Local communities now have the authority to influence decisions, organize and carry out local development initiatives, and hold elected officials responsible.

3. Social Justice and Inclusivity

  • The allocation of seats to underrepresented groups has improved their political representation and grassroots clout. As a result, rural government now promotes more diversity and social fairness.

4. Economic Progress

  • The committee’s vision for panchayati raj institutions has been crucial in promoting economic growth.

Afterwards, there are challenges.

India experienced several difficulties in the area of rural government following its independence in 1947. The municipal government systems that were in place were frequently inefficient, dishonest, and governed by a small number of elites. Because of this, there was a widening distance between the government and the rural people, which hampered socioeconomic advancement.



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