What is Panchayat Samiti?
The Panchayat Samiti is the tehsil or taluka or block level of rural local-self government system in India. They form the middle level of the Panchayati Raj Institutions in India. It acts as a link between Village Panchayats (Gram Panchayats) and Zila Parishad (District council).
Members of Panchayat Samiti
There are different types of members in the Panchayat Samiti. All the Pradhans of the Gram Panchayat within the block area are the members of Panchayat Samiti. The elected members of the Lok-Sabha and the State Legislature belonging to the block or any part of it or the members of the Rajya Sabha residing in that block-all are ex-officio members of the Panchayat Samiti.
Three members are elected from each Gram Panchayats in the Panchayat Samiti and this member is very much rigid. These representatives are elected through the secret ballot system on the basis of universal adult suffrage. The voters of the State Legislative Assembly of the region elect them.
As per the new Panchayat Act, like the Village Panchayat, in Panchayat Samiti also one-third of the total numbers of membership are reserved for the women candidates. Women reservation ensures participation of women at the local governance level. There are the reservation of the seats for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes also.
The elected members of the Zilla Parishad, from within the constituency of the block will also become the ex-officio member of the Panchayat Samiti. But the Sabhadhipati or Saha-Sabhadhipati of the Zilla Parishad, even if a resident of the Block, will not become a member of Panchayat Samiti. Likewise, no minister residing in that region (block) shall be a member of the Panchayat Samiti. The elected members of the Panchayat Samiti are elected for a period of five years.
The chairman is the head of the Panchayat Samiti.
Functions of Panchayat Samiti
- The Panchayat Samiti is placed between the Gram Panchayat and the Zilla Parishad (District Council). It acts primarily as a coordinating agency between the two extremes.
- It co-ordinates the welfare and development activities of the Gram Panchayat of the block relating to agriculture, cottage industries, co-operatives and rural credit, water supply, irrigation, sanitation, public health and primary education.
- Maintenance of public utilities, co-ordination and integration of development plans, adoption of relief measures in times of natural calamities are some important functions of the Panchayat Samities.
- Panchayat Samiti also approves the budget proposals of the Gram Panchayat under it.
- It also has to perform those activities which the government may confer upon it.
- The new Panchayat Act has also conferred some other responsibilities on it. These are to make planning for comprehensive urbanization and water supply, to send representatives in the management of the Central Co-operative Banks and other organizations, to supervise the schools and health centers within the block under its jurisdiction, etc.