What is Panchayat raj system ?

  • Panchayat is the name of the local government system in India.
  • Panchayat means a group of “Five Persons”
  • In simple words, a Panchayat is a council of elders representing a village
  • The Panchayat system covers
    • the village level (Gram Panchayat),
    • clusters of villages (block Panchayat)
    • the district level (District Panchayat)


  • Panchayati Raj is a form of government at the village level where each village is responsible for its own activities
  • The Amendment Act of 1992 contains provision for passing the powers and responsibilities to the panchayat for preparation of plans for economic development and social justice
  • We can also call them as Panchayati Raj Institutions


Levels of Panchayati Raj Institutions

  • What are the three-tier Panchayati Raj system ?
    • Gram Panchayat at the village level
    • Panchayat Samiti at the Block level
    • Zila Parishad at the district level


Village Level Panchayat

  • It is a local body working for the welfare of the village.
  • Panchayati Raj is a system of governance in which Gram Panchayat are the basic units of administration.
  • The number of members usually ranges from 7 to 31; occasionally, groups are larger, but they never have fewer than seven members
  • The council leader is named Sarpanch in Hindi, and each of the five members is a Gram Panchayat Sadasya or Panch.
  • In such a system, each villager can voice his opinion in the governance of his village.
  • Decisions are taken without long legal procedure


Block Level Panchayat

  • The block-level institution is called the Panchayat Samiti.
  • Panchayat samiti is a local government body at the tehsil or Taluka level in India.
  • It works for the villages of the Tehsil or Taluka that together are called a Development Block.
  • The Panchayat Samiti is the link between the Gram Panchayat and the District administration.
  • The samiti is elected for 5 years and is headed by the chairman and the deputy chairman

Note: The common departments in the Samiti are General Administration, Finance, Public Works, Agriculture, Health, Education, Social Welfare, Information Technology and others


District Level Panchayat

  • At district level, panchayati raj system is called as “Zila Parishad”
  • It looks after the administration of the rural area of the district and its office is located at the district headquarters.
  • It is headed by the “District Collector” or the “District Magistrate” or the “Deputy Commissioner“.
  • The Chairman of all the Panchayat Samitis form the members of Zila Parishad.
  • It is the link between the State Government and the Panchayat Samiti
  • The major functions of a district level panchayat is to provide essential services like
    • supply of improved seeds, running schools, PHC’s and hospitals, construction of bridges and roads etc

Note: The common departments in the Samiti are General Administration, Finance, Public Works, Agriculture, Health, Education, Social Welfare, Information Technology and others


Role of Women in the Panchayati Raj System

  • Bringing women into the mainstream of development is a major concern
  • The Constitutional (73rd) Amendment Act, 1992 provides for reservation of selective posts for women
  • Women members and Chairpersons of Panchayats, who are new entrants in Panchayats, have to gain the required skill which is imparted by training institutions for which the financial assistance is provided by the Ministry of Rural Development


Aim of Panchayat raj system

To settle the local problems locally and to make the people politically conscious


Balwant Rai Mehta Committee, 1957

    • Originally appointed by the Government of India on 16 January 1957
    • The Chairman of this committee was Balwantrai G Mehta
    • Balwantrai Mehta (19 February 1900 – 19 September 1965) was an Indian politician
    • Second Chief Minister of Gujarat state
    • He is considered as the ‘Architect of Panchayati Raj ‘
    • Examine the working of the Community Development Programme (2 October 1952) and the National Extension Service (2 October 1953) and to suggest measures for their better working.
    • The committee submitted its report on 24 November 1957

What are the recommendations of “Balwant Rai Mehta Committee” ?

  • The village Panchayat should be constituted with directly elected representatives, whereas the Panchayat Samiti and Zilla Parishad should be constituted with indirectly elected members.
  • This is because Panchayat is similar to that of state assembly where there is place for politics where as Samiti and Zilla Parishad members should be more educated and knowledgeable and may not need the majority support
  • All planning and developmental activities should be entrusted to these bodies.
  • The Panchayat Samiti should be the executive body while the Zilla Parishad should be the advisory, coordinating and supervisory body.
  • The District Collector should be the Chairman of the Zilla Parishad
  • There should be a genuine transfer of power and responsibility to these democratic bodies
  • Sufficient resources should be transferred to these bodies to enable them to discharge their functions and fulfil their responsibilities
  • A system should be evolved to effect further devolution of authority in future
  • Irrespective of political parties, Elections has to be constituted for every 5 years in a genuine way

These recommendations were accepted by the National Development Council in January 1958.

When was recommendations of “Balwant Rai Mehta Committee” were accepted by the National Development Council ?

January 1958

Note: National Development Council (NDC) or Rashtriya Vikas Parishad is the apex body for decision creating and deliberations on development matters in India, presided over by the Prime Minister.


Ashok Mehta Committee (1977)

  • It was decided to appoint a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Ashok Mehta to examine and suggest measures to strengthen PRIs
  • The Committee had to evolve an effective Decentralized system of development for PRIs. They made the following recommendations
    • 1. The district is a workable administrative unit for which planning, coordination and resource allocation are feasible and technical expertise available
    • 2. PRIs as a two-tier system, with Mandal Panchayat at the base and Zilla Parishad at the top
    • 3. The PRIs are capable of planning for themselves with the resources available to them
    • 4. District planning should take care of the urban-rural continuum
    • 5. Representation of SCs and STs in the election to PRIs on the basis of their population
    • 6. Four-year term of PRIs
    • 7. Participation of political parties in elections,
    • 8. Any financial devolution should be committed to accepting

That much of the developmental functions at the district level would be played by the panchayats

The states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal passed new legislation based on this report.

However, the flux in politics at the state level did not allow these institutions to develop their own political dynamics


G.V.K Rao Committee – 1985

  • Appointed by Planning Commission to once again look at various aspects of PRIs.
  • The Committee was of the opinion that a total view of rural development must be taken in which PRIs must play a central role in handling people’s problems
  • It recommended the following
    • 1. PRIs have to be activated and provided with all the required support to become effective organizations
    • 2. PRIs at district level and below should be assigned the work of planning, implementation and monitoring of rural development programmes
    • 3. The block development office should be the spinal cord of the rural development process
    • 4. District development commissioner to be introduced.
    • 5. Election should conduct regularly


L.M. Singhvi Committee – 1986

  • A committee led by Laxmi Mall Singhvi was constituted in the 1980s to recommend ways to revitalize PRIs
  • The Gram Sabha was considered as the base of a decentralized democracy, and PRIs viewed as institutions of self-governance which would actually facilitate the participation of the people in the process of planning and development.
  • It recommended.
    • 1. Local self-government should be constitutionally recognized, protected and preserved by the inclusion of new chapter in the Constitution
    • 2. Non-involvement of political parties in Panchayat elections



The suggestion of giving panchayats constitutional status was opposed by the Sarkaria Commission, but the idea, however, gained momentum in the late 1980’s especially because of the endorsement by the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who introduced the 64th Constitutional Amendment Bill in 1989

64th Constitutional Amendment Bill

  • In 1989, the National Front introduced the 64th Constitutional Amendment Bill, which could not become an Act because of the dissolution of the Ninth Lok Sabha.
  • All these various suggestions and recommendations and means of strengthening PRIs were considered while formulating the new Constitutional Amendment Act

The 64th Amendment Bill was prepared and introduced in the lower house of Parliament.

But it got defeated in the Rajya Sabha as non-convincing. He lost the general elections too



73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments

  • 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments were passed by Parliament in December, 1992


  • Through these amendments local self-governance was introduced in rural and urban India


  • The Acts came into force as the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 on April 24, 1993 and the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 on June 1, 1993


  • These amendments added two new parts to the Constitution, namely, 73rd Amendment added Part IX titled “The Panchayats” and 74th Amendment added Part IXA titled “The Municipalities”. The Local bodies–‘Panchayats’ and ‘Municipalities’ came under Part IX and IXA of the Constitution after 43 years of India becoming a republic.



97th Constitutional Amendment Act (2011)

  • Cooperative Societies are taken under “Local Government” after 97th Constitutional Amendment act 2011,under Dr Manmohan Singh’s Govt. Part-IX of Indian Constitution is related to Local Government, under which Panchayt Raj Defined
  • Then after 74th amendment Municipal Corporation and council were included and defined by inducing Part IX-A, and in 2011,Cooperative Societies were included in Local Government by inducing PartIX-B in the Constitution.
  • The 97th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2011 provided for amendment in following things :
    • 1. It amended article 19(1)c by inserting after the word ‘or unions’ the words ‘or Co-operative Societies’.
    • 2. It also inserted Article 43B in part IV of the Constitution as “The State shall endeavor to promote Voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional Management of the Co-operative Societies”
    • 3. After Part IX-A of the Constitution Part IX-B was inserted. Part IX-B extended from Article 243ZH to Article 243ZT

Terms to remember

“The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996” (PESA

5 January 1966 – first ARC was constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs under Government of India

Zila parishad

  • Top most tier of the panchayat raj system and acts as the link between the state government and the village-level Gram Panchayat.
  • Zilla Parishad is a governing body that operates at district level. It has its control within a certain district. On the other hand, Municipal Corporation operates at either town or city level

Zila Panchayat is also called as District Development Council or Mandal Parishad or District Panchayat



Giriraj Singh : Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj

from Begusarai, Bihar

Shri Kapil Moreshwar Patil : Minister of State for Panchayati Raj

bhiwandi assembly constituency, Maharastra



Sri. Errabelli Dayakar Rao Garu
Hon’ble Minister , Panchayat Raj & Rural Development and RWS

In Telanaga,

No. of Rural Districts:
No. of Zilla Praja Parishads:
No. of Mandal Praja Parishads:
No. of Gram Panchayats :




  • Robert Clive established the dual system of government in Bengal. Because of Diwan, Panchayat was destroyed by the East India Company
  • From 1870 that Viceroy Lord Mayo‘s Resolution gave the needed impetus to the development of local institutions


  • 18 May 1882 – Lord Ripon Resolution :Government policy on decentralization can be attributed to Lord Ripon, viceroy of india
  • In 1906, Congress accepted the Self government as the political goal for the country


  • The Royal Commission on Decentralization (1907)
    • First ever reference of village panchyat as local self govt institutions was made in the report of this commision
    • C. E. H.Hobhouse, chairman of the Royal Commission


  • The Morly-Minto reforms of 1909
    • report of Royal Commission on Decentralization (1907)  result into Morly-Minto reforms of 1909
    • commission viewed local self government should start from village level instead of district level

Gandhi favoured Village Swaraj and strengthening the village panchayat to the fullest extent

Dr. B.R Ambedkar opposed this idea. He believed that the village represented regressive India, a source of oppression

  • The Montague-Chemsford reforms (1919)
    • Brought local self-government as a provincial transferred subject, under the domain of Indian ministers in the provinces



Although panchayats have been in existence in India since antiquity.We find Panchayati system from Chola dynasty in Sangam period. In post-Independence India, most of the rural development and community development projects have been sought to be executed through panchayats. India’s federal structure of governance means that different states have different laws governing the powers of the gram panchayats and sarpanches.


Panchayat elections

In many states, elections were not held for decades and instead of elected sarpanches, the gram panchayats were run by bureaucratically appointed administrators. With the passage of 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in 1992, a number of safeguards have been built in, including those pertaining to regular elections.


Reservation for women

Article 243D(3) of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment requires one-third of seats in panchayats and one-third of panchayat chairperson positions be reserved for women, across all three levels of the panchayati raj system.[7][8]: 24  This amendment followed various state-level legislative reforms in which reservations were set for panchayat positions to be held by women


Khap is a community organisation representing a clan or a group of North Indian castes or clans

A Khap Panchayat is an assembly of Khap elders, and a Sarv Khap is an assembly of many Khap Panchayats

In India, mayor is the first citizen of a city and the head of Municipal Corporation which is a local government of cities with a population over 1 million. 


Numbardar or Lambardar is a title in the Indian subcontinent which applies to powerful families of zamindars of the village revenue estate, a state-privileged status which is hereditary and has wide-ranging governmental powers share in it, the collaboration with the police for maintaining law and order in the village, and it comes with the associated social prestige

A village accountant, or patwar, is an administrative government position in rural areas of the Indian subcontinent.The patwar system, introduced to the Indian subcontinent during the rule of Sher Shah Suri, was further enhanced by the emperor Akbar.

A jagir also spelled as jageer, was a type of feudal land grant in the Indian subcontinent at the foundation of its Jagirdar (Zamindar) system.[

The jagirdar system was introduced by the Delhi Sultanate

Mankari (Mānkari or Maankari) is a hereditary title used by Maratha nobles and troops  from the Indian subcontinent who held land grants, and cash allowances


Questions for Practice

_______District in telangana region has least Grampayath in Telangana when compared with other districts ?

Medchal Malkajgiri, 6 Mandals and 84 GP


Highest GP in Telangana ?

Nalgonda (949 GP)

Rangareddy (646 GP), 33 Mandals


Who considered as the ‘Architect of Panchayati Raj ‘ ?

Balwantrai Mehta


Which establishment of the scheme of ‘_____________ which finally came to be known as Panchayati Raj.

Democratic decentralization


National Panchayati Raj Day (National Local Self-Government day)

24 April annually


Who declared the first National Panchayati Raj Day on 24 April 2010

Then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh 


Who called for an end to the practice of “husbands of women sarpanches” or “sarpanch pati” exercising undue influence on the work of their wives elected to power ?

Modi, 24 April 2015 


Who mentioned that if Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) functioned properly and locals participated in the development process, the Maoist threat could be countered ?

Manmohan singh


Ministry of Panchayati Raj

Shri Giriraj Singh, Cabinet Minister

Shri Kapil Moreshwar Patil, Minister of State


When was Ministry of Panchayati Raj created ?

May 2004

The Ministry was created on May 27, 2004, with Mani Shankar Aiyar being the first minister


National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) in 



e- Panchayat is one of the Mission Mode Project (MMP) implemented with a vision to empower and transform rural India


WHo was the chairman of Expert Group constituted by Ministry of Panchayati Raj in June, 2007 ?

Dr. B.K. Gairola, Director General, NIC (National Informatics Centre), Government of India


When was National e-Governance Plan approved ?



Who suggested to the Government to take up a “National IT for Panchayati Raj Programme ?

 National Advisory Council (NAC), 2005


National e-Governance Plan is formed on?

May 18, 2006


Who is the President & CEO of NeGD ?

Ms Radha Chauhan, IAS


Nyaya panchayat

a system of dispute resolution at the village level in the panchayati raj system of India.


Caste panchayat

Caste panchayats, based on caste system in India, are caste-specific juries of elders for villages or higher-level communities in India


The term panchayat implies a body of five (Sanskrit: panch) individuals,



PESA fullform

Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996


Which law enacted by the Government of India for ensuring self governance through traditional Gram Sabhas for people living in the Scheduled Areas of India ?



Scheduled Areas are areas identified by the _____ Schedule of the Constitution of India

Fifth Schedule


On Which date PESA was enacted, ?

24 December 1996


were not covered by the 73rd Constitutional Amendment or Panchayati Raj Act of the Indian Constitution as provided in the Part IX of the Constitution ?

The Scheduled Areas


The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA is a law enacted by the Government of India for ensuring self governance through traditional Gram Sabhas for people living in the Scheduled Areas of India



Local Government of India

Refers to governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state. India is a federal republic with three spheres of government: central, state and local. 


The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments 

Give recognition and protection to local governments and in addition, each state has its own local government legislation


Since 1992, local government in India takes place in two very distinct forms. 

  1. Urban localities, covered in the 74th amendment to the Constitution, have Nagar Palika but derive their powers from the individual state governments, 
  2. The powers of rural localities have been formalized under the Panchayati raj system, under the 73rd amendment to the Constitution


Administrative setup of India, 

the democratically elected Local governance bodies are called the “municipalities” (abbreviated as the “MC”) in urban areas 

the “Panchayati Raj Institutes (PRI)” (simply called the “panchayats”) in rural areas. 


There are 3 types of municipalities based on the population, 

Municipal Corporation (Nagar Nigam) with more than 1 million population, 

Municipal Councils (Nagar Palika) with more than 25,000 and less than 1 million population

Municipal Committee (Nagar Panchayat) with more than 10,000 and less than 25,000 population. 


PRIs in rural areas have 3 hierarchies of panchayats, 

Gram panchayats at village level, 

Mandal or block panchayats at block level, 

Zilla panchayats at district level


Rural local governance bodies


The democratically elected local governance bodies in the villages of rural India are called Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) which are based on the vedic era native democratic panchayat (Council of five officials) system.


3 hierarchies of PRI panchayats

The following 3 hierarchies of PRI panchayats exist in states or Union Territories with more than two million inhabitants:


Gram Panchayats at village level

Panchayat Samiti/Mandakl Parsihad at Community Development Block/Mandal level and

Zila Parishad at district level.


The panchayati raj system is a three-tier system with elected bodies at the village, taluk and district levels. The modern system is based in part on traditional Panchayat governance, in part on the vision of Mahatma Gandhi and in part by the work of various committees to harmonize the highly centralized Indian governmental administration with a degree of local autonomy.[19] The result was intended to create greater participation in local government by people and more effective implementation of rural development programs. Although, as of 2015, implementation in all of India is not complete, the intention is for there to be a gram panchayat for each village or group of villages, a tehsil level council, and a zilla panchayat at the district level.


Functions of PRIs

Defined in the Part IX of the Indian Constitution,[20][21] these are responsible for the 29 subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule including the “economic development, and strengthening social justice.



Which of the below “State or Union Territory” doesn’t have Rural Local Bodies ?

Meghalaya NA

Mizoram NA

Nagaland NA

NCT Delhi


Which of the below states have Halque Panchayat ?

Jammu and Kashmir




This Act may be called the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989.

Halqa Panchayat


Which of the below stated does have only Zilla Parishad and Gram Panchayat only ?


Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu





Which states are known of having “Kshetra Panchayat” as Mandal Panchayt as Rural Local Bodies ?

Uttar Pradesh




In Gujarat, Block panchayat is known as 

Taluka Panchayat


In Chhattisgarh , Block panchayat is known as 

Janpad Panchayat


“Anchalik Samiti” is Rural Local body just like mandal parishat of which state ?


Arunachal Pradesh





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