The Orissa Gram Panchayat Act, of 1948 was the first legislation prescribing the constitution, power, and functioning of Gram Panchayats in the State. In the year 1961, the 3-tier system of Panchayati Raj Institutions was established in the State.
The 3-tier system of Panchayati Raj Institutions has been in existence in the State for the last 50 years. The institution of Gram Panchayat is the foundation stone of the Panchayati Raj system. The Gram Panchayats are the link between the people and the government at the grassroots level.
The Gram Panchayat is a rural local self-government institution. It is an elected body. The term of office of the members of a Gram Panchayat is five years. One-third of the members of a Gram Panchayat retire every second year.
The Gram Panchayat is headed by the Sarpanch. The Sarpanch is elected by the Gram Panchayat. The Sarpanch presides over the meetings of the Gram Panchayat. The Sarpanch is the chief executive officer of the Gram Panchayat.
The Gram Panchayat has several committees to look after specific functions. The Gram Sabha is the general body of the Gram Panchayat. All the adult members of the village are members of the Gram Sabha.
The Gram Panchayat has the following powers:
1. To levy and collect taxes, duties, fees, and charges;
2. To borrow money;
3. To undertake works for the development of the village;
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