Everything You Need To Know About Kurukshetra Magazine Summary November 2023

Local Government

Local Government in India

Local Government refer to all such sets of governmental organisations and bodies that look after the administration of an area or small community such as villages, towns, or cities.

In India, such institutions are generally referred to as the institutions of self-governance due to the presence of a social audit mechanism via the means of Panchayats. Therefore, these are also referred to as the Panchayati Raj institutions.

Importance of Local Government in the UPSC Exam

While reading the articles given on this page you will realise why studying these local bodies is important. But how is it important from the UPSC CSE point of view?

In the UPSC Civil Service examination each year at least one question is asked from the Local bodies in the UPSC Mains Examination, referring to the federal system of India. Similarly, 1-2 questions on average are asked in the UPSC Prelims exam.

Further, it is necessary to understand the structure of our local bodies in order to understand the intricacies of Governance in India and Ethics in GS4.

More about Local Government

In the Indian political system, the administration is composed of three tiers of the government, which consists of: The Union Executive (Central Government), the State Executive (state Government)  the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local bodies (Local Government). 

At the local level too, the government is divided into several levels to ensure effective public participation. The following diagram explains the structure of the government at the local level in India.

Everything You Need To Know About Kurukshetra Magazine Summary November 2023
Complete Details About Kurukshetra Magazine Summary November 2023

From the above chart, one must note that the structure of Local bodies in an area depends on the population and level of urbanisation of the area. In the Rural areas, Elections are held at the ward level where members are elected. These members form the Block Panchayat at the Block level and a certain number of elected members form the District Panchayat at the district level.

In the Urban areas, Nagar Panchayat, Nagar Palika and Mahanagar Palika are the main organs of the urban local government.

How many elected members are there in India’s Panchayati Raj system?

Collectively, the more than 30 Lakh elected people form part of India’s Panchayati Raj system. It makes India with the largest number of elected members in any democracy around the world.

Why UPSC asks questions on Urban Local Government

Local bodies are an important topic for the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) because the practical aspects of governance are intricately linked with the local government structures in India. From Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to MGNREGA, from Jal Shakti Mission to PM Awas Yojana, all are implemented using these structures. UPSC realises this and therefore, it asks such questions which require a civil services aspirant to know about the structure of local bodies/governments in India.

The UPSC CSE is a competitive examination that tests candidates on their knowledge of a wide range of topics, including Indian history, geography, economics, and current affairs. The functioning of the Local bodies and the role of the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the governance of the country are important aspects of the exam syllabus.

In the UPSC CSE, questions on the Panchayati Raj institutions and Urban Local bodies may be asked in the general studies paper in the Prelims and the Mains exam as well as in the Personality test. It is therefore important for candidates to have a good understanding of local bodies.