The Amendment provides for the continuous existence of Panchayats. The normal term of a Panchayat is five years. If a Panchayat is dissolved earlier, elections are held within six months. There is a provision
for State Election Commission, for superintendence, direction, and control of the preparation of electoral rolls and conduct of elections to Panchayats.
Article 243 E is a provision on the duration of members in Panchayat. A clear term for 5 years has been provided for the Panchayats and elections must take place before the expiry of the terms. However, the Panchayat may be dissolved earlier on specific grounds in accordance with the state legislation. In that case, the elections must take place before the expiry of 6 months of the dissolution.
The state legislature can confer power upon panchayat systems (A.243G to 243H) and the 11th schedule enshrines the distribution of powers between the State legislature and the Panchayats.
The State can authorize a Panchayat by Law to levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, etc.
To review the financial position and status of the Panchayat the state legislatures are authorized to appoint a Finance Commission.
The main source of income of the panchayat samiti is grants-in-aid and loans from the respective State Governments.
Referring to Article 329 of the Constitution, the courts cannot interfere in matters relating to allotment of seats, delimitation of Constituencies as under article 243K. Any matters relating to the election of panchayats can be questioned only by means of Election petition following certain procedures prescribed by the State legislature.
Each village has its own set of issues, which only the locals can understand. Members of a Panchayat are far more cognizant of the region-specific problems, and thus they are capable of taking a more informed decision in favour of the people of their village. Taking into consideration the specified needs of their inhabitants, the panchayats work accordingly. The panchayats undertake works of varied levels starting from creation of necessary establishments such as primary schools, to hygiene-related issues, to water requirements, to seek the central government’s help towards generating jobs at the village level as well. They also have a major share of contribution towards mobilization of local resources, encouraging, large-scale community participation, planning at the lower levels, reduction of corruption as well as improvement in quality oh nations working.
Few states have not yet rested and delegated the powers to the panchayats to the true meaning and spirit of the 73rd constitutional amendment. Even if the functions have been delegated, the required powers to
execute the said functions are not with the PRIs.
There is a general lack of manpower in the PRIs, particularly at the village level. With a limited number of officials, even after the complete devolution of powers, it may become difficult for the PRIs to look after all the works assigned to them by the State government. Unless the PRIs are equipped with adequate staff to discharge their functions.
As required by the panchayat act, the gram sabhas have not been efficient in ensuring and empowering the participation of people at the lower levels to the fullest sense possible.
Powers given to the State Election Commissions also vary from State to State. No uniformity is ensured in this regard. Also, Recommendations of State Finance Commissions (SFCs) are generally not taken seriously.
While women got political representation, the real power was usurped by their husbands, “The Sarpanch Pati” depriving them of any meaningful gains. Caste and gender-based discrimination are still prevalent and despite earning a political position, women are denied their due respect. Widespread illiteracy and ignorance further inhibit their capacity to perform.