Block Level: Panchayat Samiti
In the Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs), Panchayat Samitis (Block Development Councils, Kshetra Panchayat, Mandal Panchayat, Taluka Panchayat) are rural local governments at the intermediate or block level. Different states refer to them differently. It coordinates the work of the panchayats located in one block.
The diverse rules passed by each state determine the organization and functions of different Panchayat Samitis. The ex-officio members of Zila Parishad become the Chairmen of all the Panchayat Samitis in one district.
One term of a Panchayat Samiti spans over 5 years in all states. Every Panchayat Samiti elects two of its members as Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson in its very first meeting. One-third of a Panchayat Samitis Chairpersonship is reserved for women. Similarly, certain offices of Chairperson are reserved for individuals from Scheduled Castes. The Chairperson can be removed by the members through passing a resolution supported by a two-thirds majority.
A Panchayat Samiti meets a minimum of 6 times in one year. Taking a break of more than 2 months between 2 meetings is not allowed.
Following is an indicative list of key functions of a Panchayat Samiti:
- Provision of drinking water in the villages
- Development and repair of rural roads
- Frame rules and regulations for the markets
- Provision of improved seeds and chemical fertilizers, pesticides, agricultural tools, and implements
- Promote cottage industries such as handlooms, handicrafts, and traditional art
- Ensure welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes
- Promote self-employment schemes in rural areas