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Democratic decentralization of power has been one of the avowed objectives of the present Government of West Bengal through effective implementation of the principles of Panchayati Raj since 1978. Not only elections to the 3-tier bodies of the Panchayati Raj administration have been held at regular intervals in 1978, 1983, 1988 and 1993 but also there has been a continuous devolution of powers and functions on the Panchayat bodies to make the decentralization truly meaningful. W.B. Panchayat Act, 73 was comprehensively amended in 1992 to make provision for compulsory reservation of seats for members belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities in all three tiers of the Panchayat bodies i.e. Gram Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti and Zilla Parishad proportionate to the percentage of population of these communities in the respective tiers and also for compulsory reservation of seats to the extent of not less than one-third of the total seats for the women members.


The result of the last Panchayat election held on May 30, 1993, will bear ample testimony to the fact that the Government of West Bengal is much inclined to give adequate importance to the backward section as well as the women of the rural areas.


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