A panchayat is usually a small body with a population of about 2,000 to 5,000 in most cases. A few big panchayats (major panchayats) may have a population of upto 25,000. Therefore it is easy for you to keep an eye on what is happening to your tax money.
In towns and cities, even in local governments it is difficult to know how your tax money is spent and who is responsible for the services provided to you.
The constitution makes it compulsory to have Ward Committees for one or more wards, with sufficient powers and responsibilities. These Ward Committees can be given the responsibility to collect tax in their wards, and a major portion of the tax, say 75% or so, can be spent by the Ward Committee in the area from where taxes are collected.
The municipal employees for the area can be controlled by the Ward Committee and their wages can be paid locally. Thus through proper functioning of Ward Committees you will know how your tax money is spent, and how your services are maintained.
Though the Ward Committees must be formed, such action has not been taken in most places. Any government elected by us at the local level, state level or national level always tends to keep all powers to itself and centralize them.
As citizens we should always ensure that powers and functions are decentralized and exercised at a local level as close to us as possible. Then only we will understand how that government is serving us, and how our money is spent by it.
Please join hands with your neighbours and bring pressure on your local government and State government to form the Ward Committees and give them major responsibilities and most of your tax money to spend under your watchful eye.
Please remember, the government is created by you to provide services for you with your with your tax money. As a citizen, you are the master and all government functionaries are your servants.
Please contact your local or district branch of Lok Satta to know more about these Ward Committees and to play a greater role in monitoring you tax money and the services provided to you.
Please take an active interest in your government affairs at any level and insist on knowing what is happening. If you need any information or help or guidance, please contact your local Lok Satta unit.
If there is no Lok Satta unit in your town or village area, please form one in consultation with your district branch or Apex Unit. You can then exercise greater control over your government and collectively you can work to improve things that matter to you.