HISTORY OF PANCHAYATI RAJ IN SIKKIM
The second Panchayat elections were held in April, 1969. In 1982, a new Act was enacted which introduced the constitution of the Zilla or district Panchayat. At the time of the enactment of the Constitution (Seventy-third) Amendment Act, 1992, a new set of Panchayats had recently been elected and was therefore allowed to complete its 5 year term under the provision of Article 243N.
The Sikkim Panchayat Act, 1993 (Act no. 6 of 1993) was enacted and notified on 18.10.1993. The Act follows the guidelines laid down by the Constitution (Seventy third) Amendment Act, 1992, for the constitution of Panchayats in the state. The first Panchayat elections under this Act were conducted in 1997 and for the first time in Sikkim, it was a party based election. The present Panchayat is the fourth in succession under the Sikkim Panchayat Act, 1993.
Sikkim follows a two tier system of Panchayati Raj with the Zilla Panchayat at the district level and the Gram Panchayat at village level. The state is divided into four Zilla or district presently consisting of 110 territorial constituencies and 176 Gram Panchayat Units comprising of 987 wards. Two areas of Sikkim, Lachen and Lachung,have traditional institutions known as 'Dzumsas'.
OVERVIEW OF THE DIRECTORATE
INITIATIVES AND INTERVENTIONS
The Panchayati Raj Directorate, in keeping pace with the times and anticipating the future is embracing the benefits of technological advancements in the coming years. The Directorate has already initiated steps to introduce the following facilities.
1. State-of-the-art video conference facility
To minimize the time taken for communicating the various schemes and related projects to the district levels, a state of the art video conference facility is projected as a future initiative by the Directorate. This video facility would also ensure that the interactions of the state teams with the central teams are conducted over video conferencing facility. This would not only save time but also would be extremely cost effective in the long run.
2. V-Sat connectivity to all Village Administration Centres
To further utilize the advancement and advantage of technology in reducing the time and efficiency gap between the stakeholders, the Directorate is working towards connecting all the village administration centres through V-Sat. It is the endeavor of the Directorate that all 176 Gram Panchayat Units are connected through satellite so that the concept of e-Panchayat gets to see the reality of the day. It is also the endeavor of the directorate that all applications online processed online so as to reduce the process of paper work in the Village Administration Centres.
With an objective to convert the entire mechanism of paperwork online, the Directorate of Panchayat Raj is working towards a complete paperless office at the state headquarter level. With the success of the same at one level, the experiment will further move to the district levels and then subsequently to the block levels. The thrust of the Directorate is that in the next couple of years the entire process goes online thereby bringing in more convenience and accessibility to the entire work ecosystem.
4. Beacon Panchayats
In order to give firsthand experience in learning the workings of becoming a better Panchayati Raj Institution,the Directorate is in the process of selecting a number of Gram Panchayat Units to become the sites for peer learning to other non performing Gram Panchayat Units.This initiative will be supported by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj under the scheme Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and all necessary given to these Beacon Gram Panchayat Units.