News Excerpt
Union Minister of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development and Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, has said that Sarpanchs and elected representatives of Panchayats should perform their responsibility for the overall development of villages.

Pre-Connect
•    The Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India has been incentivizing the best performing Panchayats recommended by the State Governments/UT Administrations since 2011-12.
•    The awards are given on the National Panchayati Raj Day celebrated on 24th April every year.
•    The National Panchayati Raj Day (NPRD) has been celebrated on 24 April since 2010.
•    The Ministry of Panchayati Raj commemorates the National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April 2020.

Prominent Panchayat Awards
    Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar (DDUPSP): These awards are given to best performing Panchayats (District, Intermediate and Gram Panchayat) across the States/UTs in recognition for improving delivery of services and public goods.
    Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar (NDRGGSP): These awards are given to Gram Panchayats only for their outstanding contribution to the socio-economic development by involving Gram Sabhas.
    Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) Award: It was introduced during 2018, with a view to encourage the GPs which have developed their GPDPs according to the State/UT specific guidelines prepared in line with the models guidelines issued by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. The award is to be given to give one GP in each State/UTs.
    Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award (CFGPA):This award was announced on 1st March, 2019 for the best performing Gram Panchayats (GPs)/Village Councils (VCs) (one in each State/UT) for adopting child-friendly practices.
    E-PanchayatPuraskar: The main aim of this award is to encourage the Panchayats for the use of information and communication technology and to incentivize those States/UTs, which have made dedicated efforts in adopting and implementing the e-Panchayat Applications and enabling electronic delivery of services through Panchayats & equivalent rural bodies.
Gram Manchitra: It is a Spatial Planning Application launched by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in 2019, for facilitating and supporting GP users to perform planning at Gram Panchayat level with the use of geo-spatial technology. It provides a single/unified GeoSpatial platform to better visualize the various developmental works to be taken up across the 29 sectors and provide a decision support system for GPDP.

Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs):
    In January 1957, the Government of India appointed a committee to examine the working of the Community Development Programme (1952) and the National Extension Service (1953) and to suggest measures for their better working. The chairman of this committee was Balwant Rai G Mehta.
    The committee submitted its report in November 1957 and recommended the establishment of the scheme of ‘democratic decentralisation’, which ultimately came to be known as Panchayati Raj.
    Panchayati Raj was constitutionalised through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992.
    Rajasthan was the first state to establish Panchayati Raj on October 2, 1959, in Nagaur district.
    Rajasthan was followed by Andhra Pradesh, which also adopted the system in 1959.


Conclusion
Even after conferring the constitutional status and protection through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act (1992), the performance of the Panchayati Raj Institutions has not been satisfactory and not up to the expected level. The recognition of work through the PRI awards gives a feeling to serve at the grassroot level better.

PEPPER IT WITH
73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, Article 40, 243 I, 243 K, Ashok Mehta Committee, G.V.K. Rao Committee, L M Singhvi Committee, Thungon Committee, Gadgil Committee