Panchayati Raj Day in Odisha Date in the current year: March 5, 2024

Panchayati Raj Day in Odisha Panchayati Raj Day (also known as Panchayati Raj Divas or Local Self-Government Day) is an official holiday in the Indian state of Odisha, celebrated on March 5. It commemorates the birthday of Biju Patnaik, a well-known Indian aviator, entrepreneur, and politician who served twice as the Chief Minister of Odisha.

The term “panchayati raj” originally means a local government system originating from the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka). It is literally translated as the “rule of the assembly of five” because traditionally local communities were ruled by five wise and respected elders, who settled disputes between individuals and between villages.

Mahatma Gandhi believed that panchayati raj would be the perfect foundation of the political system of independent India, giving each village responsibility over its own affairs. Instead India developed a highly centralized form of government as soon as it achieved independence.

The present-day system of local self-government in India was formalized in 1992. Although it was named panchayati raj, it isn’t a carbon copy of the traditional system of the same name. Panchayati raji institutions were initially created in eight states, including Odisha, but today they function in most states and union territories of India, except for Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Delhi.

Biju Patnaik was the Chief Minister of Odisha when the constitutional amendment introducing a system of local self-government was adopted. Since he made a great contribution to the introduction of the panchayati raj system in Odisha, the state government decided to celebrate Panchayati Raj Day on his birthday.

Bijayananda Patnaik, popularly known as Biju Patnaik, was born on March 5, 1916. Having graduated from school, he was admitted to the Ravenshaw Collage in Cuttack. However, Patnaik dropped out to pursue his interest in aviation. He trained as a pilot and joined the Royal Indian Air Force during World War II. Although Patnaik was committed to fight on the Allies’ side, he also delivered political leaflets advocating for India’s independence to Indian soldiers.

When India gained independence, Patnaik was elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly. In 1961, he became the chief minister of Odisha. However, he resigned from the post two years later to support the so-called Kamaraj Plan suggested by the former chief minister of Madras K. Kamaraj. When Indira Gandhi declared the Emergency in 1975, Patnaik was one of the first opposition leaders to be arrested.

He was released from prison following the withdrawal of the Emergency in 1977 and returned to politics. In 1990, Patnaik was once again elected the Chief Minister of Odisha. This time, he remained in office for all five years of his term. Patnaik died of a heart attack on April 7, 1997 at the age of 81.

Panchayati Raj Day in Odisha is celebrated with various events and activities dedicated to Biju Patnaik and local self-government. In addition to this regional observance, there’s also National Panchayati Raj Day celebrated on 2010. It was established by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2010.

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Panchayati Raj Day in Odisha, holidays in Odisha, holidays in India, regional observances, local self-government, Biju Patnaik