1. The Government of India works of three levels. It is difficult for the government to operate from a single point.
  2. It has to divide its task at various levels – The central level, the state level and the local  level.
  3. The local level means the government in village, town or city.
  4. In this three tier system at the village level, we have the Gram Panchayat.
  5. At the block level we have panchayat samiti. Above the Panchayat Samiti we have Zila Parishad.
  6. The vision of Mahatma Gandhi, to empower the villages has been translated into a reality through the three tier system of the Panchayati Raj.
  7. A federal government has two or more tiers of governments.
  8. In India initially we had only two levels of government i.e.
  9. Central and the State. But a vast country like India cannot be run only through these two -tiers.
  10. States in India are as large as independent countries of Europe. Many of these States are internally very diverse.
  11. Thus there is a need for power sharing within these states.
  12. This is the rationale for decentralisation of power.
  13. Thus resulted a third-tier of government, called local government.
  14. A local government is an institution which is constituted to look into
  15. local problems and to provide bare amenities to the people of a village, a town or a city.



  1. Article 40 under the Directive Principles of State Policy directs the State “to organise village Panchayats as units of self-Government”.
  2. On October 2,1953 a network of National Extension Services (NES) for rural development was created.
  3. In 1992, 73rd Amendment Act, gave constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj institutions.
  4. It created the third tier of federalism in India, below the Central government level and the State government level.
  5. The objective of this Amendment was to make democracy more powerful and effective by giving power to the grass-roots units of self-government.


    Rural                                     Urban
(A) Zila Parishads                Municipal Corporation
(B) Block Samitis                 Municipal Councils
(C) Panchayats                      Muncipalities



  1. The Panchayati Raj is also an important form of the local government in the rural areas.
  2. The panchayati Raj is a three-tier system.
  3. It has Panchayats at the root or village level,
  4. Block Samitis at the block level and the Zila Parishads at the district level.
  5. Village Panchayts are the basic units of Panchayati Raj.
  6. The Block Samiti or the Prakhand Samiti is the second layer of the three-tier system of Panchayati Raj.
  7. The Zila Parishad or the District Council is the top layer in the three-tier system of Panchayati Raj.
  8. All the three institutions together look after the needs and problems of the rural areas and they are together called the Panchayati Raj.


    Almost all big villages in India have a Gram Sabha, a Gram Panchayat and a Nyaya Panchayat.
(a)    The Gram Sabha

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