• Recently, the Assam Cabinet announced that Gaon Buras, village-level functionaries of the district administration, will be called ‘Gaon Pradhans’.
  • The government has reasoned that a number of young men (and women) become Gaon Buras, and thus, the word ‘Bura’ (meaning old in Assamese) is no longer appropriate.

Important  points:

  • Gaon Buras are the village headmen. They are the eyes, nose, ear of the district administration at the village level.
  • There are about 6,000 Gaon Buras in Assam. Women ‘Gaon Buras’ are not very common and they take over, if their husbands die.
  • It belongs to the colonial era, when the British appointed the oldest person in the village as the head, who would oversee matters relating to land and revenue in a particular area.
  • Post-independence, the government continued with the institution and made the Gaon Bura a formal part of the Assam Revenue and Disaster Management department, increasing his responsibilities, and eventually introducing a small honorarium for the role.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, too, the Gaon Buras (and Buris) are the most important village-level functionaries.
  • Maintaining a population register of the village, maintaining land records, helping police investigate crime, etc.
  • It involves now maintaining a log of Covid-19 cases in the village, organising vaccination camps, functioning as booth-level officers during elections etc.
  • To issue a ‘Gaon Bura certificate’, a certificate that determines the permanent residency in a particular village.
  • It became crucial during the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for women to establish linkages with their husbands and parents.


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