In Haryana, a state which is still rooted in traditions and adheres to them in a steadfast manner, the panchayats or local self government bodies, play a major role. The state of Haryana came into being on November 1, 1966 and ever since the panchayat raj institutions or PRIs have been integral parts of life in this state. As per the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act 1994 the PRIs in Haryana are supposed to carry out all the functions and duties that have been mentioned in the 29 subjects, which are listed in the Indian Constitution's Eleventh Schedule. In all there are 119 panchayat samitis in Haryana and 6083 gram panchayats. They have been tasked with the responsibility to handle the local administration duties of 6754 villages.
The positive role played by the panchayats in Haryana can be understood from this incident. Recently a student named Pinky Chauhan, a college student from Kasan, committed suicide as a mark of protest against mismanagement and intentional provision of less marks. She had been one of the 1000 odd students who were protesting against Maharshi Dayanand University of Rohtak and Government Post-Graduate College for Women close to Sector 14 in Gurgaon. As a way of protesting against the unfortunate turn of events, four villages including Kasan opted to forego the assembly polls that took place on October 15, 2014. The panchayat at Kasan has also decided to ask for inquiry into the incident by higher authorities.
Quite many people might think on the contrary but the panchayats have been doing some commendable work for the society. In some areas they have been providing bus services for girls from villages, so that they are able to attend their colleges and continue their studies without thinking about peripheral issues, such as transport, too much. They have also been working for empowerment of women in the villages. Given the relative position of women in Haryana society, especially in the rural areas this is a major development and if done properly it can be a serious game changer for one and all.
However, there are areas where the panchayats can make a major impact. To start with, they should take greater steps to ensure that the position of girl child improves. Haryana has one of the worst gender ratios in India and this is one area where the local administrative bodies can play a bigger and better role by making people understand that it is not a crime for a girl child to be born in a family. In fact they can provide special privileges social, economic and otherwise for families with girl children.
One of the major problems ailing the rural areas in India is the lack of proper education and Haryana is no exception. May be the panchayats should look to encourage building of schools and related facilities in the backward areas so that they could be brought at par with the advanced areas of the state such as Gurgaon and Chandigarh. More than anything else these bodies could play a greater role in generating awareness. They should also exert greater control as far as maintaining law and order in the state is concerned and make sure that the state's image is not tarnished any more than what has happened already.
However, in order to make them more effective from an execution point of view they should be provided greater funds. The panchayats, though, need to be made accountable as well because power without control is a major problem as has been so often.