Village Level: Gram Panchayat
The Gram Panchayat (Village Council, Village Panchayat) is the only grassroots-level body to be formalized under the PRI's in India at the village or small-town level.
A Gram Panchayat comprises a total of 7 to 17 members. These members are elected from the wards of the village and are referred to as Panch. A Sarpanch serves as its elected head. The Panch is selected by the village people, and one-third of the total seats are reserved for women. One term served by members of a Gram Panchayat spans 5 years. A Gram Panchyat can be established in a village only if its population consists of at least 300 people who are of voting age (18 years and above).
Following is an indicative list of key functions of a Gram Panchayat:
- Constructing and repairing roads in villages
- Maintaining street lights
- Keeping a record of births, deaths, and marriages in the village
- Providing facilities for sanitation and drinking water
- Providing free education
- Organizing meetings of Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat
- Providing health services and facilities
- Implementing development schemes related to agriculture and animal husbandry
- Planting trees in and around the village and to protect the environment
- Maintaining public parks and playgrounds
- Implementing various government schemes