Introduction to Panchayat Samitis

Panchayat samitis, also known as block panchayats, are rural local government bodies at the intermediate tehsil (taluka/mandal) or block level in India. As defined by the 73rd Amendment, they form the intermediate level of the three-tier panchayati raj institution system.

Composition and Structure

A panchayat samiti is typically composed of elected members from the area it represents, including:

Panchayati raj treemap Zila parisad-district level
  • The block development officer
  • Members of the state’s legislative assembly
  • Members of parliament
  • Representatives of unrepresented groups like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women
  • Associate members such as farmers and cooperative society representatives

The samiti is headed by a chairman/president and deputy chairman/vice president elected by its members. It is elected for five year terms.

Key Functions

The key functions performed by a panchayat samiti include:

  • Collecting and evaluating gram panchayat plans for funding and implementation
  • Identifying and prioritizing issues to be addressed at the block level
  • Supervising gram panchayats in the block
  • Acting as a coordinating body between the district and village panchayats


Common departments found within a panchayat samiti include:

  • Administration
  • Finance
  • Public works
  • Agriculture
  • Health
  • Education
  • Social welfare
  • Information technology
  • Women and child development

Each department has its own government-appointed extension officer under the supervision of the block development officer.

Sources of Income

Sources of income for panchayat samitis include:

  • Taxes on land, water use, professions, liquor, etc.
  • Income generation programs
  • Government grants and loans
  • Voluntary contributions

For many samitis, state aid forms the main income source, while others rely more on traditional tax revenues, often shared with gram panchayats.

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In summary, panchayat samitis form a key administrative body at the block level. They coordinate gram panchayat activities, deliver important services, and utilize various funding sources to address local rural development needs. The composition, functions and finances of these vital local government institutions allow grassroots democracy to thrive.

By Annu

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