Understanding the History of Development of Panchayati
Raj in Assam through Assam Legislative Assembly
Debates, 1947 – 1960
By Sanghamitra Sarma
This paper seeks to understand the history of development of Panchayat Raj in Assam by looking into the Legislative Assembly debates prior to the establishment of Panchayati Raj in Assam in 1960. Grassroot democracy in Assam did not develop in a fortnight even after the Government of India, following the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee Report of 1957, seeks to introduce democratic decentralisation or the Panchayati Raj in various states to promote and propagate the culture of participative democracy in the county in the post independence period. The process of establishment of decentralised institutions for the people to participate requires careful discussions and deliberations. The outcome has to be a system which suits the unique socio-cultural system of the state. The paper traces how prominent politicians of Assam during those days laid down the foundational blocks of grassroot democracy in Assam by discussing and debating extensively on the different legislations on decentralisation.