History of RGPRS

Although the Panchayati Raj Constitutional Amendments were passed by the Parliament in December 1992 and were incorporated with Presidential assent in the Constitution in April 1993, a separate ministry for Panchayati Raj could not be constituted. However the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation decided to setup a Panchayati Raj taskforce to track the progress of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the country. One of its landmark efforts was the declaration to mark five years of Panchayati Raj in December 1997, which identified the issues and matters of Panchayati Raj and indicated a way forward.

In 1999, when Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar got elected to the Parliament and chose to become a member of what was then called the standing committee for rural and urban development, he used the forum of the standing committee to prepare the 38th report which laid out a road map for the improvement in implementation of Panchayati Raj, as envisioned in the constitution.

In July 2004, after UPA government was formed, the Congress President announced that the Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan would be established within the Congress Party to work on Panchayats. In a few months RGPRS was established under the Chairmanship of Mr. Chandrasekar Rao S. Thereafter in June 2007, Mr. Aiyar was made the Convener of the RGPRS.

RGPRS was essentially created to identify from among the 32 lakh elected representatives in the 2.5 lakh local bodies those leaders who had acquired their laurels entirely from the result of their own popularity within the communities where they work and not nominated by any higher force. Once RGPRS succeeds, there would be 13-15 lakh influential leaders who align with the Congress ideology in every village of the country.