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Indian Polity / Local Self Governments

Rural Local Self Government in India


    73rd Amendment accorded Constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions under PART IX, Articles 243(A) to 243(O). Eleventh Schedule deals with functions of Rural Local Self Governments in India. 29 functions are given to Rural Self Governments.

    Rural Government at Village Level

    • Article 243A talks about Gram Sabha. The village assembly is called Gram Sabha and the village executive committee is called Gram Panchayat. Gram Sabha contains all the registered voters of the village. Gram Sabha shall hold at least 2 meetings in a year. It is the Sarpanch or chairperson who presides over the meetings of Gram Panchayat as well as Gram Sabha.
    • Article 243C talks about the composition of Panchayats. Gram Panchayat consists of members who are elected directly by the registered voters of that Panchayat area through a secret ballot for a term of 5 years. And the Sarpanch can be directly or indirectly elected among the members of the Gram Panchayat as decided by State Legislature. The vice sarpanch is elected indirectly among the members of the Gram Panchayat.
    • Article 243D talks about reservations in Panchayats. Reservations for SCs and STs are provided in proportion to their population. One third seats in Panchayats are reserved for women. Some States even provide reservations for Backward Castes.
    • Functions of Gram Panchayat
      • It provides drinking water, streetlights, sanitation activities, etc. and constructs and maintains village roads and public buildings.
      • It maintains village libraries.
      • It encourages village and cottage industries.
      • It registers the births and the deaths.
    • The finances for Gram Panchayat come from House tax, Share in State Government taxes, Grants from the State and the Center, Funds received for self and wage employment programmes, etc.

    Rural Government at Block Level

    • At intermediate level, the members of Block Panchayats are elected directly by the registered voters within the territorial constituencies of the Block. State Government decides the number of members for each Block.
    • The chairman and the vice chairman at Block level are elected by the members among themselves.
    • Apart from the members of the Block Panchayat area, MLAs, MLCs and MPs who are registered voters in the Block, can be provided representation in the Block Panchayat.
    • Functions of Block Panchayat - The functions include development of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, cottage and village industries, promotion of Health and Education, etc.
    • The finances for Block Panchayat come from the taxes and share in State taxes, funds from District Panchayat, Grants from institutions like Khadi and Village Industries Corporation, etc.

    Rural Government at District Level

    • At district level, there will be a Zilla Panchayat consisting of members elected directly by voters within the territorial constituencies of the district. Their number is decided by the State Government. Both chairman and vice chairman are elected by the members among themselves.
    • Apart from the members of the Zilla Panchayat area, chairpersons of the Block Panchayats in the district, MLAs, MLCs and MPs who are the registered voters in the District, can be provided representation in the District Panchayat. Panchayat.
    • Functions of District Panchayat - The functions include Approval of budgets of Block Panchayats, Allocation of grants that are received from State and Central Governments to Block Panchayats, Coordinating the plans of Block Panchayats and plan accordingly at district level, supervising secondary education, etc.
    • The finances for District Panchayat come from the share in State taxes, Grants that come from State and Central Governments, Funds received as part of implementing various developmental programmes, Grants from institutions like Khadi and Village Industries Corporation, etc.
Extra Information

    • State Election Commission - At State level, there will be an Election Commission headed by State Election Commissioner, who will be appointed by the concerned State Governor. The State Election Commission is in charge for conducting and superintending all the elections to the Panchayats. The State Election Commissioner can be removed from his office like that of a judge of High Court.
    • Finance Commission - A Finance Commission will be appointed for every five years by the Governor in order to review financial position of the Panchayats and make recommendations for distribution of taxes between the Panchayats and the State and the Grants-in-aid of the Panchayats.