District Level: Zila Parishad
Zila Parishad (Zila Panchayat, District Council, District Panchayat) are the Apex or District level panchayats in the Panchayat Raj Institutions. They work directly with the state government, but they are not part of the state government.
A Zila Parishad needs to have at least 50 and at most 75 members. Some seats reserved for people who belong to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and also, women.
The administrative setup of the Zila Parishad is headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This individual needs to be either an IAS officer or a senior state service officer. They are assisted by Deputy CEOs and other officials at the District and Block level. Zila Parishad members include individuals from the state legislature and members of the Parliament of India. Based on the manner in which a district structures its Zila Parishad, members can serve for 4 to 5 years.
The key functions of the Zila Parishad, with some variations across different states, are as follows:
- Providing essential services and facilities to the rural population
- Planning and executing the development programs for the district.
- Supplying improved seeds to farmers, informing them of new techniques of farming, undertaking the construction of small-scale irrigation projects and percolation tanks, and maintaining pastures and grazing lands.
- Setting up and running schools in villages.
- Executing programs for adult literacy, and running libraries.
- Starting Primary Health Centers and hospitals in villages, and conducting vaccination drives against epidemics and family welfare campaigns.
- Executing plans for the development of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- Encouraging entrepreneurs to start small scale industries like cottage industries, handicrafts, etc., and implementing rural employment schemes.
- Constructing roads, schools, and maintaining public property.