. India derived its political and economic structure largely from colonial rule, but values and ideals were distinctively derived from national movement and they still serve as political and ethical benchmarks for vast population.
Indian national movement was an inclusive one accommodating wide ideological viewpoints. It was largely non-violent and included not only the elite leadership, but masses also. Ideas of civil liberties, democratic organization and tolerance were inculcated during national movement. Masses had already starting appreciating ideals of liberty and democracy as a result of mass involvement, active debate and, hence, were ready to utilize adult franchise soon after independence.
Apart from these values, national movement also projected an image of strong and self-reliant India and an antipathy to economic imperialism. Both agriculture and industry were accorded high priority. 1931 Karachi Resolution on ‘Fundamental Rights and Economic Program’ was presided over by Sardar Patel and drafted by Nehru echoed state participation in major field of economic self-reliance. Gandhiji primarily supported cottage industry, but said that he is not opposed to machines which are for the larger benefit of community and doesn’t replace human labor. Agrarian reforms were identified as key focus area.
Removal of poverty was also accorded next priority to uprooting of colonialism along with goal of equality irrespective of caste, religion and gender. Karachi Session declared that ‘every citizen shall enjoy freedom of conscience and the right to freely process and practice his religion’. Indians never criticized the British on religious lines they criticized their oppression and not the fact that they were Christians. Secularism never conflicted with religion and Gandhiji believed, politics and religion are not opposite to each other as politics is to be based on morality and all religion are source of morality. But later he also preached separation of two in wake of rising communalization of Indian society.
Q.5. Point out the recommandations of Balwant rai Mehta committee for Panchayati raj system.
Answer. In January 1957, the Government of India appointed a committee to examine the working of the Community Development Programme (1952) and the National Extension Service (1953) and to suggest measures for their better working. The chairman of this committee was Balwant Rai G Mehta. The committee submitted its report in November 1957 and recommended the establishment of the scheme of ‘democratic decentralisation’, which ultimately came to be known as Panchayati Raj. The specific recommendations made by it are:
- Establishment of a three-tier panchayati raj system—gram panchayat at the village level, panchayat samiti at the block level and zila parishad at the district level. These tiers should be organically linked through a device of indirect elections.
- The village panchayat should be constituted with directly elected representatives, whereas the panchayat samiti and zila parishad should be constituted with indirectly elected members.
- All planning and development activities should be entrusted to these bodies.
- The panchayat samiti should be the executive body while the zila parishad should be the advisory, coordinating and supervisory body.
- The district collector should be the chairman of the zila parishad.
- There should be a genuine transfer of power and responsibility to these democratice bodies.
- Adequate resources should be transferred to these bodies to enable them to discharge their functions and fulfil their responsibilities.
- A system should be evolved to effect further devolution of authority in future.
These recommendations of the committee were accepted by the National Development Council in January 1958. The council did not insist on a single rigid pattern and left it to the states to evolve their own patterns suitable to local conditions. But the basic principles and broad fundamentals should be identical throughout the country.
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