Gram panchayat
Polity type
  • Local governmentLocal government institute
Part ofPanchayat Raj system[1][2]
Legislative branch

Gram panchayat (transl. 'Village council') is a basic governing institution in Indian villages. It is a political institution, acting as cabinet of the village. The Gram sabha work as the general body of the Gram panchayat. The members of the Gram panchayat are elected directly by the people. The President of Gram Panchayat is called Pradhan or Sarpanch

There are about 250,000 Gram panchayats in India.[3][4]


Established in various states of India, the Panchayat Raj system has three tiers: Zila Parishad, at the district level; Panchayat Samiti, at the block level; and Gram Panchayat, at the village level. Rajasthan was the first state to establish Gram Panchayat, Bagdari Village (Nagaur District) being the first village where Gram Panchayat was established, on 2 October 1959.[5]

In 1992, the institution of Gram Panchayat was modified in order to deepen democracy. The 73rd Amendment to the Constitution re-introduced panchayats as the institutions of local self-governance, with a basic structure for operations at three administrative levels; villages, groups of villages and districts.[6]


Gram Panchayats are at the lowest level of Panchayat Raj institutions (PRIs), whose legal authority is the 73rd Constitutional Amendment of 1992, which is concerned with rural local governments.[7]

The Gram Panchayat is divided into wards and each ward is represented by a Ward Member or Commissioner, also referred to as a Panch or Panchayat Member, who is directly elected by the villagers.[8] The Panchayat is chaired by the president of the village, known as a Sarpanch.[9] The term of the elected representatives is five years. The Secretary of the Panchayat is a non-elected representative, appointed by the state government, to oversee Panchayat activities.[10]

Republic of India
StatesUnion Territories
Municipal Corporations
(Nagar Nigam/Maha Nagar Palika)
(Nagar Palika)
City Councils
(Nagar Panchayat)
(Gram Panchayat/Gram Sabha)


According to Section. 6 (3) of the Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act of 1994, that state's gram sabha has to conduct a meeting at least twice a year.[11]


A Sarpanch's term of office is five years. Every five years elections take place in the village. All people over the age of 18 who are residents of the territory of that village's Gram panchayat can vote.[12][13]

For women's empowerment and to encourage participation of women in the democratic process, the government of India has set some restrictions on Gram panchayat elections, reserving one-third of the seats for women, as well as reserving seats for scheduled castes and tribes.[13]


See also


  1. ^ "Gram Sabha and its Functions". 14 May 2020. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b "The Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992". Government of India – Ministry of Law and Justice – Legislative Department. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  3. ^ Chaturvedi, Mahesh Chandra (2012). India's waters. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-1439872833. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Ground Rules". Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Panchayati Raj – History". Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  6. ^ Sapra, Ipsita (February 2013). "Living in the villages". Rural Democracy. D+C Development and Cooperation. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  7. ^ Benoy Banerjee; Irfaan Khan; Rajeev Kumar; et al. (2006). "Chapter Eight: Local Governments". India Constitution at Work: Textbook in Political Science for Class XI. National Council of Educational Research and Training. ISBN 81-7450-550-4. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  8. ^ Seetharam, Mukkavilli (1 January 1990). Citizen Participation in Rural Development. Mittal Publications. p. 34. ISBN 9788170992271.
  9. ^ "Rajasthan Sarpanch Salary 2021 – What is the Salary Of Sarpanch". Exam Craze. 30 January 2021. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  10. ^ Social Science. Vk Publications. p. 117. ISBN 9788179732144.
  11. ^ "The Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1994" (PDF). 2002. Section 6.(3). Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  12. ^ "What is Gram Sabha". Vikaspedia. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Panchayati Raj System in India | Definition, Examples, Diagrams". Retrieved 4 December 2020.