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Panchayati Raj System in India - Polity NCERT Notes for UPSC

Jan 23, 2023

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Panchayat

Gram Sabha

Role of Gram Sabha

The Gram Panchayat

Functions of a Gram Panchayat

Sources of funds for the Panchayat

Role of Gram Panchayat

Three Levels of Panchayat

Panchayati Raj System in India - Polity NCERT Notes for UPSC

Panchayat

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

Gram Sabha

  • It is a meeting of all adults who live in the area covered by a Panchayat. 
  • This could be only one village or a few villages. 
  • In some states, a village meeting is held for each village. 
  • Anyone who is 18 years old or more and who has the right to vote is a member of the Gram Sabha.

Role of Gram Sabha

  • The Gram Sabha discusses the local issues of importance such as road repairing plans or discussions on water shortages etc.
  • Ensure accountability of Gram Panchayat: It is the place where all plans for the work of the Gram Panchayat are placed before the people. 
  • The Gram Sabha prevents the Panchayat from doing wrong things like misusing money or favoring certain people. 
  • It plays an important role in keeping an eye on the elected representatives and in making them responsible to the persons who elected them.

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The Gram Panchayat

Functions of a Gram Panchayat

  • Construction and maintenance of water sources, roads, drainage, school buildings and other common property resources. 
  • Levying and collecting local taxes. 
  • Executing government schemes related to generating employment in the village

Sources of funds for the Panchayat

  • Collection of taxes on houses, market places etc. 
  • Government scheme funds received through various departments of the government – through the Janpad and Zila Panchayats. 
  • Donations for community works etc.

Role of Gram Panchayat

  • The Gram Panchayat meets regularly and one of its main tasks is to implement development programmes for all villages that come under it. 
  • The work of the Gram Panchayat has to be approved by the Gram Sabha. 
  • In some states, Gram Sabhas form committees like construction and development committees. These committees include some members of the Gram Sabha and some from the Gram Panchayat who work together to carry out specific tasks.

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Three Levels of Panchayat

  • The Gram Panchayat: It is the first tier or level of democratic government. 
  • The Janpad Panchayat or the Panchayat Samiti: It is the Block level. It has many Gram Panchayats under it. 
  • District Panchayat or the Zila Parishad: It is above the Panchayat Samiti. It actually makes developmental plans at the district level. With the help of Panchayat Samitis, it also regulates the money distribution among all the Gram Panchayats. 

As per guidelines given in the Constitution of India, each state in the country has its own laws with regard to Panchayats. The idea is to provide more and more space for people to participate and raise their voices.

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