Gram panchayat

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Polity type
  • Local governmentLocal government institute
Part ofPanchayat Raj system[1][2]
Legislative branch

Gram Panchayat (English: Village council) is a basic village governing institute in Indian villages. It is a democratic structure at the grass-roots level in India. It is a political institute, acting as cabinet of the village. The Gram Sabha work as the general body of the Gram Panchayat. The members of the Gram Panchayat are elected by the Gram Sabha.[3]

There are about 250,000 Gram Panchayats in India.[4][5]


Established in various states of India, the Panchayat Raj system has three tiers: Zila Parishad, at the district level; Nagar Palika, at the block level; and Gram Panchayat, at the village level. Rajasthan was the first state to establish Gram Panchayat, Nagur village being the first village where Gram Panchayat was established, on 2 October 1959.[6]

The failed attempts to deal with local matters at the national level caused, in 1992, the reintroduction of Panchayats for their previously used purpose as an organisation for local self-governance.[7]


Gram Panchayats are at the lowest level of Panchayat Raj institutions (PRIs), whose legal authority is the 73rd Constitutional Amendment of 1992, which is concerned with rural local governments.[8]

  • Panchayat at District (or apex) Level
  • Panchayat at Intermediate Level
  • Panchayat at Base Level

The Gram Panchayat is divided into wards and each ward is represented by a Ward Member or Commissioner, also referred to as a Panch or Panchayat Member, who is directly elected by the villagers.[9] The Panchayat is chaired by the president of the village, known as a Sarpanch. The term of the elected representatives is five years. The Secretary of the Panchayat is a non-elected representative, appointed by the state government, to oversee Panchayat activities.[10]


According to Section. 6 (3) of the Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act of 1994, that state's gram sabha has to conduct a meeting at least twice a year.[11]


A Gram panchyat's term of office is five years. Every five years elections take place in the village. All people over the age of 18 who are residents of the territory of that village's Gram panchayat can vote.[12][3]

For women's empowerment and to encourage participation of women in the democratic process, the government of India has set some restrictions on Gram panchayat elections, reserving one-third of the seats for women, as well as reserving seats for scheduled castes and tribes.[3]


  • Administrative functions
    • Public work and welfare functions, such as maintenance, repair and construction of roads, drains, bridges, and wells.
    • Install and maintain street lamps.[3]
    • Provide primary education.
  • Social and Economic functions (not obligatory)
    • Construct libraries, marriage halls, etc.
    • Establish and run fair-price shops and cooperative credit societies.
    • Establish of gardens, ponds, and orchards.[3]
  • Judicial functions (Nyaya Panchayat; the state judicial service decides jurisdiction.)
    • Ensure quick and inexpensive justice.
    • Can impose fines up to Rs. 100.
    • Not represented by lawyers.[3]

See also


  1. "Gram Sabha and its Functions". 14 May 2020. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992". Government of India – Ministry of Law and Justice – Legislative Department. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Panchayati Raj System in India | Definition, Examples, Diagrams". Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  4. Chaturvedi, Mahesh Chandra (2012). India's waters. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-1439872833. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  5. "Ground Rules". Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  6. "Panchayati Raj - History". Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  7. Sapra, Ipsita (February 2013). "Living in the villages". Rural Democracy. D+C Development and Cooperation. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  8. Benoy Banerjee; Irfaan Khan; Rajeev Kumar et al. (2006). "Chapter Eight: Local Governments". India Constitution at Work: Textbook in Political Science for Class XI. ISBN 81-7450-550-4. Retrieved 29 August 2020. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. Seetharam, Mukkavilli (1 January 1990). Citizen Participation in Rural Development. Mittal Publications. p. 34. ISBN 9788170992271.
  10. Social Science. Vk Publications. p. 117. ISBN 9788179732144.
  11. "The Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1994" (PDF). 2002. Section 6.(3). Retrieved 30 September 2015.

External links