- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
What to study?
For Prelims: Constitution, composition and functions of Gram Sabha.
For Mains: Issues associated with their functioning, need for more powers.
Context: The Haryana Cabinet has taken an in-principle decision to bring an amendment in Section 31 of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, allowing devolution of powers to the Gram Sabha to ban liquor within the local area of a Gram Panchayat.
- The quorum of the Gram Sabha meeting for passing such a resolution shall be one-tenth of its members.
What is Gram Sabha?
The term Gram Sabha is defined in the Constitution of India under Article 243(b).
Gram Sabha is the primary body of the Panchayati Raj system and by far the largest.
It is a permanent body.
The power to annul a decision of the Gram Sabha rests with the Gram Sabha only.
- Persons, those who are above 18 years of age.
- Living in the village.
- Whose names are included in the electoral rolls for the Panchayat at the village level.
Powers and functions:
Constitution mentions that Gram Sabha exercises such powers and performs such functions at the village level as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide.
Important and specific functions of Gram Sabha:
- To help implementation of the development programmes and schemes of the Panchayat.
- To identify beneficiaries for different programmes and schemes. However, if the Gram Sabha fails to identify such beneficiaries within a reasonable time, the Gram Panchayat shall identify the beneficiaries.
- To solicit support — in cash or kind or both and voluntary labour — from the public for community welfare programmes.
- To support the programmes of mass education and family welfare.
- To promote unity and harmony among all sections of the society in the village.
- To seek clarification from the Mukhiya, Up-Mukhiya and other members of the Gram Panchayat about any particular activity, scheme, income and expenditure.
- To discuss and recommend appropriate action with regard to reports of the Vigilance Committee.
- Other related matters brought to the notice of the Gram Sabha.
- To consider levy of taxes, rates, rents & fees & enhancement of rates thereof.
- To consider all such matters as may be referred by the Gram Panchayat for its decision.
Sources: the Hindu.