Post-Independent Establishment of Local Self-Government and Gram Sabha – Special Reference of Karnataka State


Dr.Chandrika.C.S, Post-Doctoral Fellow,
DOS in Political Science, University of Mysore, Manasagangothri, Mysore, India.


The political, social, and economic thinkers have long debated the role of Gramsabha and local self-government in the context of rural development. There were opinions both for and against their role. Particularly in developing countries, the Gramsabhas have a prominent role in rural development. Today the Gramsabhas keep the rural people informed of the objectives of democracy and involve the marginalized and exploited sections of the population in the political mainstream and help them march into the sphere of development. Through this process, the Gramsabhas provide an enlightened, responsible civil society to the nation. In this context, the concept of Gram Sabha is not alien to India and its democracy. It has a long historical background dating back to the Vedic period. Under the British rule the local governments were referred to as ‘little republics’. Lord Mayo and Lord Rippen contributed immensely to providing a new dimension to the local governments. After independence, the government of India, which found the need to strengthen and streamline the structure and functions of local governments appointed various committees. The 1957 Balwant Rai Mehta Committee; 1963 Santhanam Committees; 1977 Ashok Mehta Committee; 1982 C.H. Hanumanth Rao Committee; 1985 G.V.K. Rao Committee; 1986 L.M. Singhvi Committee; 1988 Sacharia Committee and the 1988 Tungan Committee have given valuable suggestions to make local governments effective and purposeful. By incorporating and improvising the recommendations of these committees, the Government of India accorded constitutional status to the Panchayat Raj system through the 73 rd Constitutional Amendment and strengthened the Gramsabhas. Karnataka too has a long historical background of working with local governments. After independence, legislations like. Mysore village Panchayats and local Boards Act 1959, Kondajji Basappa Committee, The Karnataka Zilla Parishads, Taluk Panchayat Samities, Mandal Panchayat, and Nyaya Panchayats Act 1983, Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act 1993, etc. are major initiatives taken to form the Gram Sabha and make them effective instruments of governance. This article has tried to recall the historical background of the post-independent Panchayath Raj System in India when it is completing three decades of its establishment.