In December 1977, the Janta Government appointed a committee on Panchayati Raj institutions under the chairmanship of Ashok Mehta. It submitted its report in August 1978 and made 132 recommendations to revive and strengthen the declining Panchayati Raj System in the country. Its main recommendations are:
1. The three-tier system of Panchayati Raj should be replaced by the two-tier system, that is, Zila Parishad at the district level, and below it, the Mandal Panchayat consisting of a group of villages covering a population of the 15000 to 20000.
2. A district should be the first point for decentralization under popular supervision below the state level.
3. Zila Parishad should be the executive body and made responsible for planning at the district level.
4. There should be an official participation of political parties at all levels of Panchayat elections.
5. The Panchayati Raj institutions should have compulsory powers of taxation to mobilize their own financial resources.
6. There should be a regular social audit by a district level agency and by a committee of legislators to check whether the funds allotted for the vulnerable social and economic groups are actually spent on them.
7. The state government should not supersede the Panchayati Raj institutions. In case of an imperative supersession, election should be held within six months from the date of supersession.
8. The Chief Electoral Officer of state in consultation with Chief Election Commissioner should organise and conduct the Panchayati Raj elections.
9. Development functions should be transferred to the Zila Parishad and all development staff should work under its control and supervision.
10. A minister for Panchayati Raj should be appointed in the state council of ministers to look after the affairs of the Panchayati Raj institutions.
11. Seats for SC and ST should be reserved on the basis of their population.
Due to the collapse of the Janta Government before the completion of its term, no action could be taken on the recommendations of the Ashok Mehta Committee at the central level.