The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.

Debate Summary

Draft Article 31-A

The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government'.

Article 31-A was not part of the Draft Constitution 1948. It was a new amendment introduced in the Assembly on 22 November 1948, while deliberations over the Draft Constitution underway. The amendment aimed to, ‘unequivocally’ direct the State to realise a Panchayati Raj system in India.

The Assembly seemed to be in consensus over the inclusion of the Article in the Draft Constitution. Most member speeches focussed on why the Article was important. While some emphasised that the Article was the culmination of  M.K. Gandhi’s ideas on the role of village others focussed that the economic and even military benefits of organising ‘village republics’.

The amendment was added to the Draft Constitution with no opposition.

Note: The specific debate on Article 31-A is insufficient to get an overall sense of the Assembly’s discourse on the question of Panchayats. See here.