It was on this historic day (April 24th), 25 years ago that the local bodies – Panchayats and Municipalities – were granted constitutional status through the 73rd and 74th amendment to the Indian Constitution. This day is now celebrated as the National Panchayat Raj Day throughout the country.
The country and the State of Tamizh Nadu can achieve their full potential only when these local bodies are empowered.
Makkal Needhi Maiam is a strong advocate of not just the federal principles that should govern the relationship between Centre and States but is equally passionate about democratic decentralization from the State Government to local bodies.
While there are islands of excellence to showcase the power of Gram Panchayats in our state, the overall functioning of Gram Panchayats needs to be improved significantly. There is a need to improve the extent of decentralization and the ability of Gram Panchayats to raise funds. The Gram panchayats should be encouraged to prepare local plans which would ensure useful and relevant outcomes for the villages.
This is a long journey but like all journeys, need to begin with a single step. This first step is to create awareness about the existing powers of Gram Panchayats amongst the people in rural areas. Gram Sabha is a powerful institution, the only one in the country where participative democracy is practiced.
Gram Sabha needs to be conducted on January 26, May 1, August 15 and October 2 throughout the State. All eligible voters in a Gram Panchayat can attend the Gram Sabha. In order to foster equality, all participants including the President of the Gram Panchayat and Government officials need to be equally seated on the floor during the Gram Sabha meeting.
The Gram Sabha can discuss any issue relating to the Gram Panchayat and can pass any resolution within the bounds of the Constitution and laws of the land. Only such resolutions passed in the Gram Sabha need to be circulated amongst members and signatures obtained for fulfilling the requirements of the Gram Sabha.
MNM conducted a mock Gram Sabha on April 24, 2018 at its party office inviting around 100 party members who hail from rural areas. They were trained by experts on the procedure to be followed in Gram Sabhas. The mock Gram Sabha followed all the above procedures that need to be followed in the real Gram Sabha.
The Party President, Mr.Kamal Haasan appealed to all rural citizens to participate in the Gram Sabha to be held on May 1, 2018 across the state in large numbers in order to strengthen grass root democracy. The Party President also mentioned that letters have been sent by him individually to all District Collectors requesting them to make arrangements to convene
the Gram Sabha meeting on May 1st and ensure that all norms are followed. A delegation of MNM Party officials will also submit a similar letter to all District collectors in person. Pamphlets detailing the powers and procedures to be followed in Gram Sabha have been printed for wide circulation across the state by the Party. An audio-visual communication by the
Party President was also released on the occasion.
Mock Gram Sabha full video youtube link – https://youtu.be/zsY2C3aO82o