VV’s Correspondent Puja Thakur Reports on Functionality of Panchayati Raj System in the Tea Garden

Mahatma Gandhiji propagated the idea of Gram Swaraj (Village Self - Governance) as a foundation for India - a  decentralised form of government responsible for its own development. 

Panchayati Raj is the system of local self governance, it consists of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). Part IX of the Indian Constitution stipulates that in States or Union Territories with more than two million inhabitants there are three levels of PRIs: the Gram Panchayats at village level, the Mandal Parishad or Block Samiti or Panchayat Samiti at block level and the Zila Parishad at district level.

In India, the Panchayati Raj system was introduced by the 73rd constitutional amendment in 1992, based on the historical Panchayati Raj system of the Indian subcontinent. Community Correspondent (CC) Puja Thakur, in this video is inquiring about the existing Panchayati Raj systems in Tea Gardens of Alipurduar of West Bengal state. 

Towards the end of the video, she raised one tricky question about the importance and  validity of the Panchayati system in a Tea Garden set up. As Tea gardens are on proprietorship, to implement government welfare schemes, they have to take No Objection Certificates from the Tea Garden owners. This lengthy and complicated process often excludes and delays the Government schemes to reach to the tea garden labourers.

The Panchayati Raj system started in 1995 in tea gardens of West Bengal. The place CC Puja Thakur is reporting from is Kumargaon’s Jayanti Tea Garden with a population of 5500. That Tea Garden is under Village Level Panchayat though because of the private ownership of the Gardens, all the government schemes do not reach to their beneficiaries. Please share this video to make people understand the complexities of implementation of welfare schemes.

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