Chapter 5. Panchayati Raj

Gram Sabha
• Gram Sabha is a meeting of all adults who live in area covered by a Panchayat. This could be only one village or a few villages.
• Anyone who is 18 years old or more and who has right to vote is a member of Gram Sabha.
• Gram Sabha is a key factor in making Gram Panchayat play its role and be responsible. This is place where all plans for work of Gram Panchayat are placed before people.
• Gram Sabha prevents Panchayat from doing wrong things like misusing money or favouring certain people. It plays an important role in keeping an eye on elected representatives and in making them responsible to persons who elected them.

Gram Panchayat
• Every village Panchayat is divided into wards, [i.e., smaller areas]. Each ward elects a representative who is called Ward Member [Panch].
• All members of Gram Sabha elect a Sarpanch who is Panchayat President.
• Ward Panchs and Sarpanch form Gram Panchayat.
• Gram Panchayat is elected for five years.
• Gram Panchayat has a Secretary who is Secretary of Gram Sabha.
• This Secretary is not an elected person but is appointed by government.
• Secretary is responsible for calling meeting of Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat and keeping a record of proceedings.

Functions of Gram Panchayat
• Gram Panchayat meets regularly, and one of its main tasks is to implement development programmes for all villages that come under it.
Sources of funds for Panchayat are:
(1) Collection of taxes on houses, marketplaces.
(2) Government scheme funds received through various departments of government through Janpad and Zila Parishad.
(3) Donations for community works.
work of a Gram Panchayat includes:
(1) construction and maintenance of water sources, roads, drainage, school buildings, and other common property resources.
(2) Levying and collecting local taxes.
(3) Executing government schemes related to generating employment in village.

Levels of Panchayat
• Gram Panchayat is first level of democratic government in rural areas.
• Janpad Panchayat or Panchayat Samiti is [the second level] at Block level. Panchayat Samiti has many Gram Panchayats under it.
• District Panchayat or Zila Parishad is above Panchayat Samiti, and it is third level.
• Zila Parishad makes developmental plans at district level. With help of Panchayat Samitis, it regulates money distribution among all Gram Panchayats.
• Each state in country has its own laws with regard to Panchayats.

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