What is Gram Panchayat?

The Gram Sabha includes all adults of the village who are more than 18 years old. They together elect the members of the Gram Panchayat.

Gram Panchayat

  • The Sarpanch is the head of the Gram Panchayat. A Vice Sarpanch is also elected from among its members. They are honorary members and are not paid a salary.
  • The membership of a Village Panchayat varies from 5–31 depending on the size of the village.
  • One-third of the seats in the Panchayat are reserved for women. Seats are also reserved for the members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Administrative Functions of Gram Panchayat

  • To look after the public works such as maintenance of the village roads, bridges, tanks and wells
  • To look after sanitation and to set up dispensaries and basic health care centers at the village level
  • To provide primary education to children
  • To look after the irrigational facilities and supply seeds and fertilizers to farmers
  • To maintain the records of common village property, their sale, and purchase

Social and Economic Functions of Gram Panchayat

  • To construct and build libraries, guest houses, and marriage halls
  • To organize village fairs and exhibitions
  • To establish fair price shops and co-operative credit societies
  • To plant trees, parks, gardens, and playgrounds for recreational activities

Judicial Functions of Gram Panchayat

  • Nyay Panchayats, also known as Panchayati Adalats, look after the administration of justice in villages.
  • They ensure quick and inexpensive justice to villagers.
  • They cannot award a sentence of imprisonment and lawyers cannot appear before these panchayats.
  • If Nyay Panchayats deliver justice within their jurisdictions, there can be no appeal against its decisions.
  • However, sub-divisional magistrates and sub-judges of the district are empowered to hear appeals.
  • The state government or the state judicial service decides the jurisdiction of these panchayats.

Panchayat Samiti (Block Level)

The Panchayat Samiti works at a block or middle level. It consists of the following members:

  • Sarpanchs of all panchayats which come under its circle
  • Members of the State Legislative Assembly of the state from the area
  • Members of Parliament of the area The gram panchayat have set up various health care centers in their villages
  • Block Development Officers of the area
  • Representatives of Cooperative Societies in certain states
  • Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, and Secretary

Functions of Panchayat Samiti

  • To supervise and coordinate the working of Gram Panchayats
  • To make provision for education at the secondary level and above for a group of villages at the block level
  • To build hospitals and provide health facilities to the people
  • To develop agriculture by undertaking irrigation projects, distribution of good quality seeds and fertilizers
  • To approve building plans and to undertake the construction of roads and bridges at the block level
  • To provide safe drinking water
  • To act as a link between the Gram Panchayat and the Zilla Parishad
  • Also Read Panchayati Raj System

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