Panchayat Samiti is the second tier body in the Panchayati System of Government. Panchayat Samitis in India work for villages in a Tehsil or Taluka which is together known as the Development Block.
Composition of Panchayat Samiti
A Panchayat Samiti consists of the following members -
(i) All the heads of the Gram Panchayats within the Block (ex-officio);
(ii) Members of the Council of States who is not a minister and has a place of residence in the Block;
(iii) Members of the House of the People and Legislative Assembly of the State elected thereto from a constituency comprising the Block who are not ministers;
(iv) Three persons are to be elected by each Gram within the Block
Organization of Panchayat Samiti
Every Panchayat Samiti shall have an executive officer and a Block Development
Officer shall be the ex-officio Executive Officer. Besides the Executive Officer, there shall be a Secretary for all Panchayat Samitis. The Extension Officer of the Panchayats shall act as the ex-officio Secretary. Six Standing Committees (Sthayee Samitis) remain attached with the Panchayat Samiti.
The Panchayat Samiti holds meeting every three months and the head of the Samiti presides over that meeting. One-fourth of the total members of the Samiti shall form a quorum. The Block Development Officer shall attend the meetings of the Panchayat Samiti and should participate in every deliberation.
Powers and Functions of Panchayat Samiti
The Panchayat Samiti executes a number of functions in the villages
(i) The Panchayat Samiti has the power to undertake schemes of giving financial assistance relating to the development of agriculture, livestock, cottage industries, co-operative movement, rural credit, water supply, irrigation, public health and sanitation including establishment of dispensaries and hospitals, communication, primary and adult education.
(ii) It is the duty of the Panchayat Samiti to look after the welfare of students, society and other objects of general public utility.
(iii) The Samiti has also the power to undertake the execution of any scheme entrusted to it by the State Government or Zilla Parishad.
(iv) The Panchayat Samiti makes grants-in-aid to any school, public institution or public welfare organization within the block. The Samiti can contribute such amount of money as it may decide towards the cost of water-supply or anti-epidemic measures undertaken by a Municipality within the Block. It can also adopt measures for the removal of distress
(v) The Panchayat Samiti coordinates and integrates the development plans and schemes prepared by the Gram Panchayats in the Block. It also examines and sanctions the budget estimates of Gram Panchayats in the Block. A Panchayat Samiti may undertake or execute any scheme if the scheme extends to more than one Gram.
(vi) The State Government with the consent of the Panchayat Samiti may construct a road, bridge, ferry, channel, building or any other property vested in the government and situated within the Block under the control and management of the Panchayat Samiti. A samiti may also take over the maintenance and control of any road, bridge, tank, drain etc. belonging to a private owner on such terms as may be agreed upon.
(vii) A Panchayat Samiti has the power to prohibit certain offensive and dangerous trades without any licence granted by it.
(viii) A Panchayat Samiti has the power to grant licence for market.
A Panchayat Samiti has the power to acquire, hold and dispose of property and to enter into contracts. There is a provision for forming a co-ordination committee for every Panchayat.
Source of Income of Panchayat Samiti
For every Panchayat Samiti there shall be constituted a Panchayat Samiti Fund bearing the name of the Samiti. The main sources of income for Panchayat Samiti are:
Contributions and grants received from the State Government, Zilla Parishad and other local authorities;
Loans granted by the Government or collected by the Panchayat Samiti;
All receipts in respect of schools, hospitals, buildings, institutions etc;
Money received as gift or contributions;
Income from trust or endowment,
Levy of tolls and fees on persons, vehicles or animals;
Levy of tolls in respect of any ferry;
Levy of fees and rates on registration of vehicles;
Fees providing sanitary arrangements at such places of worship, fairs, melas etc. (x) fees for licenses for market,
Water and lighting rates for arranging supply of drinking water and lighting of the public streets.
Every Panchayat Samiti in India shall prepare in each year a budget of its estimated income and expenditure for the following year and submit the budget to the Zila Parishad for approval.