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Evolution of local self government

gandhi“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her]own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and yourself melt away.”- One of the last notes left behind by Gandhi in 1948, expressing his deepest social thought.
The aforesaid principle of the Father of the Nation popularly known as Gandhi’s Talisman finds translated in the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution of India which has immensely and logically empowered the common man at the grass root level and the succeeding stages in the hierarchy of development instilling the self-confidence and the modalities by which this vision can be materialized.
Further, Gandhiji was of the opinion that the Self-Government means continuous effort to be independent of Government control, whether it is Foreign Government or whether it is National Swaraj Government, will be a sorry affair if people look up to it for the regulation of every detail of life.
The Father of the Nation has also asserted that Self-Government depends upon our internal strength, upon our ability to fight against the heaviest odds. Indeed Self-Government which does not require that continuous striving to attain it and to sustain it is not worth the name. I have, therefore, endeavoured to show both in word and deed, that, political Self-Government i.e., Self-Government for a large number of men and women is no better than individual Self-Government, and therefore, it is to be attained by precisely the same means that are required for individual Self-Government or Self Rule.
These philosophical postulates of Gandhiji have formed the foundation of the system of Local Self-Government for which the required statutory provisions have been made and implemented accordingly in which the Zilla Parishad finds its key role to turn the ideas of Gandhiji into action.
In the three tier Panchayati Raj system in the State of Odisha, Zilla Parishad is the apex Panchayati Raj Institution at the district level which has been established in consonance with the provisions prescribed under the Odisha Zilla Parishad Act,1991 (Odisha Act 17 of 1991) and made operational under the provisions of the Odisha Zilla Parishad Rules,2001.
The rural areas of Bargarh district has been divided into 34ZillaParishadConstituencies adopting the principle of population of approximately 40,000 per constituency, as far practicable, not extending beyond the territorial limit of the Block, territorial area of a Grama and is compact with due regard to geographical features.
1 The Rural Electorates on the basis of adult suffrage by direct election elect the Zilla Parishad Member from the contesting candidates having political affiliation for each such constituency with tenure of five years.The eligibility of becoming a Member of the Parishad has been stipulated under Section-33 of the Odisha Zilla Parishad Act, 1991 (Odisha Act 17 of 1991).Consequent upon declaration of the result, the elected Zilla Parishad Members elect one of the Zilla Parishad Members as President and another Member as Vice-President .The seat for the President is reserved on gender and caste basis as stipulated by a Notification issued by the State Election Commission.
The results of the Elections to the Zilla Parishad since 1997, the year of 1st Election are as depicted below:-2The 73rd Amendment to the Constitution of India has invigorated the system of PanchayatiRaj institutions in thecountry and hasstreamlined operation of all the stages for smooth functioning of the system. The Directive Principles of State Policy under Article 40 read with Article 243 of the Constitution of India vest such power and authority as found to be necessary to enable the institutions to function as units of “Local Self Government”.
The list of subjects to be dealt with by the institution has been stipulated under the 11th Schedule of the Constitution of India to ensure socio economic development along with social justice and simultaneously the ZillaParishad has been assigned with functional autonomy and provided with adequate resources for discharging such entrustments.
Section 6 of the Act prescribes the following members to constitute the Parishad:
a) Each Member of the ZillaParishad,
b) Chairperson of each PanchayatSamiti of the District,
c) Member of the House of the People and Member of the State Legislative Assembly of the District &
d) Members of the Council of States who are registered as electors within the area of the Parishad.
Further, the Collector of the District is the Chief Executive Officer, the Project Director, District Rural Development Agency is the Executive Officer and Ex-officio Secretary of the ZillaParishad and all the District Level Officers are the Ex-officio Members of the ZillaParishad.
The ZillaParishad shall have to meet not less than four times during any financial year for the transaction of its business and a period of more than three months shall not be allowed to elapse between two successive meetings.

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