Ministry of Panchayati Raj
Ministry of Panchayati Raj, as the name indicates, looks into matters related to Panchayati Raj and Panchayati Raj Institutions. It came into existence in May 2004 and is headed by a minister of cabinet rank.
The agency was created with the vision to attain decentralised & participatory local self-government through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). Its key mission is empowerment, enablement & accountability of PRIs to ensure inclusive development with social justice, and efficient delivery of services.
The mandate of the Ministry is to oversee the implementation of Part IX of the Constitution (which is regarding Panchayats), the provisions regarding District Planning Committee as per Article 243ZD, and the Provisions of the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) 1996.
Of the 2.51 lakh Panchayats in the country, 2.39 lakh are Gram Panchayats, 6904 are Block Panchayats and 589 are District Panchayats. The strength of Panchayat representatives is close to 29 lakh. The constitution mandates regular elections to three tiers of Panchayats and representatives for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Women.
Panchayat is a State subject and MoPR promotes Panchayati Raj through its schemes, advocacy with States, and by creating and sharing knowledge about Panchayati Raj.
The ministry gives a number of annual awards, among them to the states for their performance in Devolution index, e Panchayat Awards, Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar’ to Panchayats and ‘Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar’ to best Gram Sabhas.