Panchayat Office in Crumbling Condition, Chattisgarh

Panchayats are the foundation of India's political system, a decentralised form of government in which each village is responsible for its own affairs. The term for such a vision was Gram Swaraj ("village self-governance”), advocated by Mahatma Gandhiji. The Panchayati Raj system of governance was formalised in 1992.

‘Panchayati Raj’ means the Council of Five Officials who work through the Panchayati Raj Institutions to realise village level self government. The main tasks of Panchayats are economic development, strengthening social justice and implementation of Central and State Government Schemes including 29 subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule of Indian constitution. Now, the Panchayati Raj functions as a system of governance in which Gram Panchayats (Village Panchayats) are the basic units of local administration.

But, the Panchayats, throughout the years, have relied on federal and state grants to sustain themselves economically. In this video, you can see that the Gram Panchayat office in Barbaspur village of Balod district has been in a dilapidated condition for 10 years, in Chattisgarh. The head of the panchayat and other members are repeatedly requesting the higher authorities to renovate their Panchayat building. The Video shows how the ceilings are falling off and how their files are getting destroyed because they have no file cabinets to keep documents. One Panchayat member spoke about how a part of the ceiling fell off while a meeting was going on! And of course, they have to do all the public meetings in open air for the fear that the roof may collapse on them.

Because Panchayats are the important pillar of India’s democratic and political values and welfare schemes, they need to be robust and reliable. Please share this video to give power to the decentralised governance machineries. 

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