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Gram Panchayats is local self-governments at the village or small town level in India, and the Sarpanch is in charge of it. Under British Colonial rule role of Panchayats were strengthened. Whereas under the post-independence they were given little right of co-determination. After attempts to deal with matters on the national level panchayats where reintroduced as institutions of local self-governance in 1992.1 As of 2002dated info there were about 265,000 gram panchayats in India. The gram panchayat is the foundation of the Panchayat System.
The Sarpanch has the responsibilities of
- Maintaining street lights, construction and repair work of roads in villages and also the village markets, fairs, collection of tax, festivals and celebrations.
- Keeping a record of births, deaths and marriages in the village.
- Looking after public health and hygiene by providing facilities for sanitation and drinking water.
- Providing free education.
- To organise the meetings of Gramsabha(ग्रामसभा) and Grampanchayat (ग्रामपंचायत).
A gram panchyat consists of between 7 and 20 members, elected from the wards of the village, and they are called a "panch". Peoples of village selects panch, with one-eighth of seats reserved for female candidates. To establish a Grampanchyat in a village, the population of the village should be at least 500 people of voting age.
The main source of income of the Gram Panchayat is the property tax levied on buildings and open spaces within the village. Other sources of income include professional tax, taxes on pilgrimage, animal trade, grant received from the State Government in proportion of land revenue and the grants received from the Zila Parishad.
The gramsevak / gram vikas adhikari is communicator in government and village panchayat and do works for sarpanch. DPC (District planning commission) is also responsible for disbursing cash to gram panchayat.
Gram Sabha (s) includes all the adult citizen voters of the village. It is empowered to support or topple down the Gram Panchayat body. This Gram Sabha can contribute the number of decisions taken by the Gram Panchayat and facilitate to modify the weak decisions, whenever they feel. The Gram Panchayat can be established for village having a population more than 750 to 25,000. The villages having less population are grouped under group Gram sabha. The member count usually ranges from 7 to 17 on the strength of village population. These are various Committees viz. Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Public Works, Social Welfare and Health and sanitation in village Gram Panchayat.
According to Sec 6 (3) of APPR ACT, the meeting of Gram Sabha should compulsorily be held for twice in a year. The Government also notified the two dates on which the meeting to be held compulsorily. The Gram Sabha meeting should be held on every 14 April and 3 October. Conduct of gramsabha yearly twice is a minimum, not maximum. Gram Sabha can be convened as and when necessary and as many times as possible depending on the need. In, States like Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Punjab, Sikkim, Uttar pradesh there are statutory provisions to hold the gram sabha two times a year, Where as in states like Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gram Sabhas are being held 4 times a year. Gram Sabhas are being held 6 times in a year in Maharastra.
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has advised the State Governments and Union Territories that in regard to sensitive, controversial and contentious issues such as those relating to forest produce, land acquisition, mining & natural resources likely to affect the traditions and way of life of the community, and on which the consensual agreement of the Gram Sabha in PESA area is necessary and transparency of decision making is imperative, to make a full video-and-audio-graphic record of all Gram Sabha meetings and proceedings therein and the members present. The Ministry has also advised the State Governments to retain a copy of such record in both the Panchayat office and in the District Panchayat Secretary's office and to issue directions to the District Collectors/ ZP/ CEOs to take necessary administrative action to enable the Gram Panchayat to make and keep such records.2
- Ipsita Sapra (February 2013). "Living in the villages". dandc.eu.
- website of Ministry of Panchayati Raj Government of India
- Subramaniam Vincent (2002-02-28). "Ugly duckling to swan". India Together.
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