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Overview of the Committee’s Role In Formation of Government

This article, “Overview of the Committee’s Role In Formation of Government ” is written by SITANSHU SHEKHAR SRIVASTAVA, a 4th-year law student at MIT WPU.


Four committees affected the establishment of our modern local self-government system: the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee, the Ashok Mehta Committee, the GVK Rao Committee, and the L.M. Singhvi Committee. These committees were critical in creating India’s decentralized governance structure.

Balwant Rai Mehta Committee

The committee was appointed by the Government of India in 1957 to examine and recommend the functioning of the Community Development Program (CDP) and the National Extension Service (NES). The main focus was on rural development and local government. The committee headed by Balwant Rai Mehta recommended setting up a three-tier system of Panchayati Raj – Gram Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad. This marked the beginning of decentralization in India.

  • Context: After India gained independence in 1947, the structure of governance at various levels of government had to be reorganized and strengthened. The idea is to empower communities and ensure that governance is close to the people so that they can actively participate in the decision-making process The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee was formed to address these issues.
  • Arrangement: This committee was officially known as the “Committee for Panchayati Raj Institutions” and was set up in 1957 by the Government of India. It was formed under the chairmanship of Balwant Rai Mehta, an experienced politician and member of the Indian National Assembly. The committee included some other prominent members who were experts in rural entrepreneurship, economics and social development.
  • Objectives: The main objective of the committee was to study the functioning of the Community Development Program and the State Extension Agency, which were projects aimed at rural development The committee was tasked with assessing the effectiveness of these programs and making recommendations for reforms to strengthen local self-government.
  • Suggestions: The recommendations of the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee formed the basis of a major reform in the structure of rural governance in India. Key suggestions include:
  • Three-Tier Plan: The committee proposed a three-tier plan for rural governance: Gram Panchayat on crops. Panchayat Samiti at Block level. District level district council.
  • Power Sharing: The Board emphasized the sharing of administrative, financial and policy powers among these three departments.
  • Local Resources: The committee emphasized the importance of using local resources and labour for campaigning
  • Democratic Processes: Advocated regular elections at all levels of Panchayati Raj institutions to ensure democratic representation.
  • Financial Independence: The Committee recommended that these organizations should have financial independence and access to diverse sources of funds to function effectively.


The recommendation of the Balavant Rai Mehta Committee laid the foundation for the Panchayati Raj system in India. These recommendations, in turn, were adopted and implemented by state governments, resulting in constitutional amendments establishing local self-government in the Constitution of India in summary, the Balavant Rai Mehta Committee was instrumental in shaping India’s decentralized system of governance and promoting the development of grassroots democracy.

Ashok Mehta Committee

Appointed in 1977, this committee was aimed at reviewing the functioning of Panchayati Raj institutions and making recommendations for reforms. The Ashok Mehta-led committee stressed the need for decentralized democratic governance at the grassroots level. It proposed to set up a two-tier system – Gram Panchayats at the village level and Mandal Panchayats at the block level. The recommendations of this committee were aimed at strengthening the financial independence and decision-making power of the PRI.

  • context: After partially implementing the recommendations of the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee, it was realized that more needed to be done to further strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institutions and ensure their effective functioning In this context, Ashok formed the Mehta Committee in 1977.
  • Arrangement: The committee was officially known as the “Committee on Panchayati Raj Institutions” and was similar to the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee. It was established by the Government of India in 1977 to review and propose measures to revitalize and democratize the Panchayati Raj system.
  • The Chairperson: Ashok Mehta the committee is chaired by Ashok Mehta, a noted political scientist, social activist and statesman. He was actively involved in advocating decentralization and rural development.
  • Objectives: The main objective of the committee was to review the status of Panchayati Raj Institutions, evaluate their performance and make recommendations for their restructuring and capacity-building
  • Suggestions: The recommendations of the Ashok Mehta Committee focused on several key areas:
  • Three-tier structure: The Committee emphasized the importance of Gram Panchayat, Madhyavarti Panchayat and Zila Panchayat and reiterated the three-tier structure of the Panchayati Raj institution.
  • Roles and powers: The committee recommended that more roles and powers should be given to Panchayati Raj institutions, especially in areas like agriculture, education, health and rural development.
  • Electoral Policy: It suggested that elections for these bodies should be held regularly, and reservations should be made for marginalized sections of the population, including Scheduled Castes (Scheduled Castes), Scheduled Tribes (Tribes), and women among
  • Fiscal Autonomy: The Committee stressed the importance of giving financial autonomy to Panchayati Raj institutions, to ensure control over their resources and finances.
  • Training and Capacity Building: It was suggested to set up training institutes to enhance the capacity of elected representatives and Panchayati Raj functionaries.


The recommendations of the Ashok Mehta Committee contributed to the sustainable development of Panchayati Raj Institutions in India. While not all of the committee’s recommendations were immediately adopted, they helped lay the groundwork for subsequent reforms. The committee’s emphasis on empowering local communities, democratizing decision-making processes and promoting rural development was consistent with the broader objectives of localization and grassroots governance In summary, the work of the Ashok Mehta Committee played an important role in the process of governance by recommending more roles, rights and freedoms for local self-governing bodies in the shape of Panchayati Raj in India, and its importance emphasizing the importance of inclusion concerning marginalized communities.

G.V.K. Rao Committee

The G.V.K. Rao Committee was constituted in 1985 to evaluate the operation of PRIs and make recommendations for their renewal. G.V.K. Rao chaired the committee, which proposed devolution of powers and functions to PRIs, notably in the areas of planning and development. It emphasized the importance of transferring financial resources to PRIs in order to facilitate successful local governance.

  • Objective – In 1985, the Planning Commission established the Commission to Examine India’s Existing Operational Mechanisms for Rural Growth and Poverty Reduction Programs, chaired by G.V.K. Rao. The Commission came to the conclusion that project development had become increasingly bureaucratic and detached from Panchayati Raj.
  • Recommendations – This phenomenon of bureaucratization of development management, as opposed to democratization, damaged Panchayati Raj institutions, resulting in what is accurately referred to as “grass without roots.” As a result, the Committee issued the following recommendations to improve and revitalize the Panchayati Raj system:
  • The Zila Parishad, or district-level body, should be crucial in the concept of democratic decentralisation. According to the document, “the district is the proper unit for planning and development, and the Zila Parishad should become the primary body for the management of all development programs that can be handled at that level.
  • Panchayati Raj institutions at the district and lower levels should be given a significant role in rural development program planning, implementation, and monitoring.
  • Some state-level planning functions should be moved to district-level planning entities for efficient decentralized district planning.
  • A District Development Commissioner position should be established. He should serve as the Zila Parishad’s main executive officer and be in charge of all district-level development departments.
  • Elections to the Panchayati Raj institutions should be held regularly. It found that elections became overdue for one or more tiers in 11 states.

The G.V.K. Rao Committee envisioned their district as the hub of democratic governance. The group also proposed appointing a District Development Commissioner who would act as the CEO of the Zilla Parishad. The District Assemblies Commissioners should have authority over all district-level agencies. This varied from previous committee recommendations, which advised that lower entities serve only as a basis and that Panchayats and Mandal Panchayats take the lead in growth.

L.M Singhvi Committee

Appointed in 1986, this committee had the task of reviewing the Panchayati Raj system and recommending constitutional and statutory amendments to strengthen the PRI. The committee headed by LM Singhvi emphasized the importance of decentralisation, participation of women and equitable distribution of resources. His recommendations led to the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution of India, giving the PRIs constitutional status and making their elections compulsory.

  • Objective – The primary objective of the L.M. Singhvi Committee was to suggest measures that could enhance the integrity, transparency, and fairness of the electoral process in India. The committee was formed against the backdrop of concerns about the role of money and muscle power in elections, as well as the need to strengthen democratic institutions and practices.
  • Recommendation – The L.M. Singhvi Committee, also known as the Committee on Electoral Reforms, submitted a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at improving the electoral process in India. The recommendations covered various aspects of elections, political parties, and the functioning of the democratic system. It’s important to note that not all of these recommendations were immediately adopted or implemented. Here are some of the key recommendations made by the committee:
  • Election expenditure: The Committee looked at measures to monitor and control expenditure on election expenditure by political parties and candidates, with the aim of curbing the disproportionate influence of money in elections
  • Political Criminalization: The Committee explored ways to address the issue of political criminalization by proposing ways to allow individuals with criminal backgrounds to run for office or hold public office.
  • Code of Conduct: The committee recommended the formulation of a code of conduct for political parties and candidates to ensure ethical and impartial conduct during election campaigns.
  • Electoral reform: The committee studied various electoral processes including the possibility of adequate representation to make the electoral process more representative and inclusive
  • Voter participation: The committee looked at ways to increase voter participation, especially among marginalized and underrepresented sections of society.
  • Transparency and Accountability: The task force explored ways to provide transparency and accountability in political finance, campaign finance, and the operations of political parties
  • Anti-secession law: The committee examined the anti-secession law and recommended amendments to strengthen its effectiveness.

These are just a few of the many recommendations made by the LM Singhvi Committee. Some of these recommendations were adopted and implemented to varying degrees, others faced challenges in implementation due to political considerations etc. The work of the committee provided valuable insights into the need for electoral reform in India and contributed to further dialogue on improving democratic processes in the country.


India’s modern system of local self-government was largely shaped by four important committees: the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee, the Ashok Mehta Committee, the GV Kerav Committee, and the LM Singhvi Committee

  • The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee, formed in 1957, played a key role in the initiation of post-independence decentralization in India. Chaired by Balwant Rai Mehta, it advocated a three-tier system of Panchayati Raj—Gram Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad—that strengthens local governance, shares administrative powers, promotes local infrastructure encourages, and emphasizes democratic representation and economic independence.
  • Established in 1977, the Ashok Mehta Committee sought to further strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). Chaired by Ashok Mehta, it proposed the creation of two types of structures—gram panchayats and mandal panchayats—to give more functions and powers to PRIs, hold regular elections targeting marginalized sections, boost financial inclusion independence and enhance capacity through training institutions.
  • In 1985, G.V.K. Rao, recommended a special devolution of powers and functions in planning and development to promote effective local governance and advocated a special role of district level, district-level planning committees and District Development Commissioner to monitor development projects objectively emphasize the revival of PRIs
  • The LM Singhvi committee headed by LM Singhvi was appointed in 1986 to focus on electoral reforms. Its recommendations include controlling electoral expenditure, tackling political crimes, fair campaign laws, increasing representation, increasing voter participation, ensuring more transparent and accountability in the political economy and reforming anti-segregation laws

Together, these committees laid the foundation for the decentralized system of governance of India. Balwant Rai Mehta Committee proposals introduced Panchayati Raj, Ashok Mehta Committee strengthened its policy, GV Kerav Committee emphasized decentralization for effective governance, and LM Singhvi Committee advocated electoral reforms for democratic system improved Resource allocation and aggregation of representation was encouraged.


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