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India now has constitutionally mandated 232,332 village Panchayats, 6,000 intermediate Panchayats and 534 Zilla Panchayats. The three tiers of these elected bodies consist of as many as 27,75,858 village Panchayat members, 1,44,491 members of the intermediate Panchayat and 15,067 members of the district Panchayat.
Women head about 175 District Panchayats, more than 2,000 Block Panchayats and about 85,000 Gram Panchayats. The southern states are doing better in promoting women leadership compared to the northern states. Along with the Southern States West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh also have more than 33 per cent women heads.
Government has accepted, in toto, the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission for providing grants to the tune of Rs 2,00,292 crore between 2015 and 2020 to gram panchayats (GPs) directly, and also released the allocations to rural local bodies this year. It needs to be noted that the grants awarded by the NDA are three times higher than the earlier period, that is, between 2010 and 2015.
In a study conducted by the ministry of panchayati raj in 2014-15 on the Panchayat Devolution Index, which looked at the devolution of powers to panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in terms of the three Fs, Kerala topped the list in all parameters except funds while Karnataka was best in transferring funds to PRIs. Though Sikkim did well in transferring functions, it was low on other parameters.
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