State legislation has revolutionised, at least in the legal sense, the composition, constitution, rights and duties of village councils. The Mysore Village Panchayats and District Boards Act, 1952 introduced adult franchise and substituted elected for hereditary authority; it made provisions for reserved seats for Scheduled Castes at village as well as at District Board level. Membership of District Boards was determined by indirect election from among the elected village councillors. I have already outlined the practical effect this new democratic legislation had on Wan-gala’s and Dalena’s political system as I found it in 1955. ‘In order to bring about democratic decentralisation and to instil in the people a sense of participation in developmental activities… a new system of Panchayat Raj has been ushered in, with the enactment of the Mysore Village Panchayats and Local Boards Act, 1959’ (M.S.G., 1967:378). The old District Boards were abolished and a new three-tier local administration established, consisting of Village Panchayats, Taluk Boards and a District Development Council for each of Mysore’s 19 districts. This reorganisation of the local government structure effectively decentralised the administration : instead of having one District Board for Mandya District population, which according to the 1961 census was 899, 210, there are now seven Taluk Boards; Mandya taluk for instance had a population of 183,403 in 1961 (M.S.G., 1967:65).
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