Gram Sabha is used to mean a general assembly of all the people of a village, who have attained the age of 18 years and their name is entered in the voter list. The executive committee of the Gram Sabha is known as Gram Panchayat which consists of the representatives elected by the Sabha.
In India, democracy is present at all the levels, whether it is central, state or local level. At the local level, Panchayati Raj system is established by the government, after independence, so as to maintain law and order in the villages or small towns. It is a three-tier structure, which consists of Zila Parishad at the district level, Panchayat Samiti at the block level and Gram Panchayats at the village level. The Gram Panchayat is further subdivided into Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat and Nyaya Panchayat.
The article attempts to shed light on the differences between Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat, take a read.
Content: Gram Sabha Vs Gram Panchayat
|Basis for Comparison||Gram Sabha||Gram Panchayat|
|Meaning||Gram Sabha refers to the legislative body, that operates at village level, and takes into account the annual budget and audit reports of the Gram Panchayat.||Gram Panchayat is the lower tier of the Panchayati Raj functioning at the village level for welfare and development of the village.|
|Body||It is a permanent body.||It is a temporary body.|
|Member||Every person whose name is registered in the voter list of the respective village.||Ward members, Panches and Sarpanch are its members.|
|Election||The members of the Sabha are not elected ones.||Members of the Panchayat are elected by the members of Sabha directly.|
|Meetings||Two meetings in a year are compulsory.||One meeting in a month should be held.|
Definition of Gram Sabha
Gram Sabha is described as a legal general assembly of all adult persons residing in a village or a group of villages. The roles, powers and functions of the Sabha are decided by the State Legislature, as per the 73rd amendment.
Gram Sabha reviews annual budget, accounts of the Panchayat and also discusses its audit and administrative reports and tax proposal. Further, it approves development schemes formulated by the Panchayat. It also plans and organizes various resources for community development programs.
Two meeting of the Gram Sabha, are organised every year, wherein the first meeting is to consider the budget of the Gram Panchayat and the second meeting is held to take into account the reports of the Panchayat. The members of the Sabha elect their representatives at the Village Panchayat, i.e. its members and the Chairperson, through voting by a secret ballot.
Definition of Gram Panchayat
Gram Panchayat or otherwise called as village panchayat is the primary body of the rural local self-government, working as an executive committee of the Gram Sabha. In the three-tier structure, Gram Panchayat is the lower tier of the Panchayati Raj Institution.
The total number of members in the gram panchayat varies from village to village, decided on the basis of its population. However, generally, the numbers of members range from 5 to 9, who are called as Panches, elected by way of direct elections of the Gram Sabha. The chief of the Panches is called the President or Sarpanch.
During elections, the village is divided into different wards, and one member from each ward is elected, who is known as Ward member. There are reservations for the seats in the Gram Panchayat for women and persons belonging to scheduled caste and scheduled tribes.
Every month a meeting is organized by the gram panchayat. The functions of the Gram Panchayat may bifurcate as obligatory and optional functions. The obligatory functions include civic roles such as sanitation, drains and ponds, public toilets, vaccination, cleaning of roads, drinking water supply, street lighting, primary and adult education and so forth. On the other hand, optional functions are related to the plantation of the trees, promotion of agriculture, organizing child and maternity welfare.
Key Differences Between Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat
The points given below are presents you all the substantial differences between gram sabha and gram panchayat:
- Gram Sabha can be understood as a simple meeting of all the persons whose names are registered in the electoral rolls of the Village Panchayat. On the contrary, Gram Panchayat is the executive body, operating at the village level, that works for the development and welfare of the village.
- While gram sabha is a permanent body, gram panchayat is a temporary one, as the members of the Panchayat are elected for a term of five years only.
- All the adult people of the village who are registered as voters are the members of the Gram Sabha. Conversely, the members of Gram Panchayat include ward members, Panch and Sarpanch. Apart from these members, there is a Panchayat Secretary, Gram Sewak and Watchman who are the officials appointed by the state government, to look after the Panchayat’s activities.
- Gram Sabha members are not elected, but they are the villagers whose name is included in the voter list. As against, members of the Gram Panchayat are elected through direct elections, by the Gram Sabha members.
- When it comes to meeting, two meetings are held by the gram sabha each year. Unlike, gram panchayat, wherein every month one meeting is held by the Sarpanch.
The Panchayati Raj System is the classical system of local government, prevalent not only in India but also in other countries of South Asia. The Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat are basically established to introduce development and welfare programmes in the village, understand the needs and problems of the people living the area covered by the Panchayat and resolve the issues between two villagers and between two villages also.