The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution mark led to the evolution of local government in India. Panchayati Raj Institutions in rural India, municipalities and municipal corporations in urban India, were established for the first time. These two Amendments accorded them a constitutional status. The Parliament passed these Amendments in December 1992. Local self-governance in rural and urban India was introduced through these amendments.
Decentralization is a particular form of organizational structure where the top management owns the decision-making responsibilities and supervises the daily operations of the middle and lower subordinates. Hence, the top management can focus on making major decisions with more abundance of time. According to Louis A. Allen, “Decentralisation refers to the systematic effort to delegate to the lowest levels all authority except that which can only be exercised at central points.”
History of Panchayati Raj
The inclusion of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the education management dates back to the late 19th century as a corollary to the Woods Despatch (1854) that directed the local tax levy to defray the cost of school maintenance. Following this, subsequent developments took place to a large extent marking the beginning of the local self-government era.
History of Decentralisation in Education
In the modern era, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), started in 1959 as a follow-up to the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee Report. The report recommended an interconnected three-tier organizational establishment of democratic decentralization at different levels such as the village, block and district levels. This led the Panchayat Samitis in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and in some other states to become responsible for primary education. The formulation of the National Policy on Education and Programme of Action, 1986 was a breakthrough. It stated that “the local committees, through appropriate bodies, will be assigned a major role in programmes of school improvement”. Hence, the Panchayati Raj system was adopted by several states in educational management.
Another step taken to fulfil this aim was the introduction of Article 40 which states, “the State shall take steps to organize village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government” was another step in this direction.
Impact of 73rd and 74th Amendments Decentralization of Education and Panchayati Raj
- The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts paved for a new beginning in Indian democratic decentralization.
- The 73rd Amendment aimed for the establishment of the Panchayati three-tier system at the village, intermediate and district levels.
- The 74th Amendment proposed the introduction of municipalities to strengthen local self-government institutions through the provision of a robust legal framework
- In February 1993, a Committee was constituted by The Central Advisory Board of Education (Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India) to formulate decentralized education management guidelines in terms of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments.
- The Committee emphasised that Panchayat Samitis and Zilla Parishads should be authorised for teacher recruitment and appointment for their schools (subject to government guidelines).
- They should also administer the government school services to teachers and the education department’s subordinate officials should be at these bodies’ disposal.