Rural local self-government is popularly known by the name Panchayati Raj. It has a three tier system.
(i) The Gram Sabha : The Gram Sabha which is not a tier of Panchayati Raj is the general body consisting of all the voters residing in the jurisdiction of a Gram Panchayat. The Gram Sabha is supposed to work as the watchdog ofthe Gram Panchayat which is its executive body.
(ii) Gram Panchayat: The Gram Panchayat is the first tier in the Panchayat Raj System. It is constituted for one village or group of villages.
• It is a decision-making body for the entire village. It has to meet at least twice or thrice in a year to approve the annual budget.
• This is a council consisting of several ward members often called panchs, and a President or Sarpanch.
• They are directly elected by all the adult population living in that ward or village by secret ballot system.
(iii) Panchayat Samiti : The intermediate tier in the Panchayati Raj System is known as the Panchayat Samiti. It is constituted for two or more Gram Panchayats at the block level.
• The members of this representative body are elected by all the Panchayat members in that area.
• The elected head of the Samiti is known as "President, chairman or pradhan.
• Panchayat Samiti are the executive bodies for the state government and the Zilla Parishad. They execute transferred schemes, which were previously implemented by the different departments of state governments.
(iv) Zilla Parishad. This is the top tier of Panchayati Raj constituted at the district level by the Panchayat Samitis or mandals. Most members of the Zilla Parishad are elected.
It comprises following categories of members.
• Presidents of Panchayat Samitis.
Local MPs, MLAs and MLCs.
• Persons representing women and scheduled castes and tribes.
• Zilla Parishad chairperson is the political head of the Zila Parishad.