Panchayat Samiti or Block Panchayat
This is the local government body at the tehsil (तहसील) or taluka (तालुका) or prakhand (प्रखंड) or block level. All the villages under a tehsil (block) form the Development Block. The Block Panchayat works as a link between the Gram Panchayat and the Zila Parishad.
Constitution of Block Panchayat
The Block Panchayat is composed of ex-officio members, co-opt members, associate members and some elected members.
- The ex-officio members include all the sarpanchs of the panchayat samiti area, the MPs (Member of Parliament) and the MLAs (Member of Legislative Assembly) of the area and the SDO (Sub Divisional Officer) of the subdivision.
- The co-opt members include representatives of women and SC/ST (Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes).
- The associate members include a farmer of the area, a representative of the cooperative societies and a representative of the marketing services.
The Panchayat Samiti is elected for five years. It is headed by the Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
The Zila Parishad makes the top tier of the Panchayati Raj system. It is headed by an officer from the IAS (Indian Administrative Service) cadre. Its function is to look after the working of all the Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayats under the district. It also executes various welfare programmes in the district.
Importance of Gram Panchayat
Gram Panchayat gives power in the hands of the people. It is believed that people are the best judges of local needs and problems. Moreover, everything cannot be tackled by the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister. So, people should be given some degree of power to tackle the problems of their locality.