A gram panchayat (transl. 'village council') or village panchayat is the only grassroots-level of panchayati raj formalised local self-governance system in India at the village or small-town level, and has a sarpanch as its elected head.
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The failed attempts to deal with local matters at the national level caused, in 1992, the reintroduction of panchayats for their previously used purpose as an organisation for local self-governance. There are about 250,000 gram panchayats in India.
- Panchayat at District (or apex) Level
- Panchayat at Intermediate Level
- Panchayat at Base Level
The gram panchayat is divided into wards and each ward is represented by a Ward Member or Commissioner, also referred to as a Panch or Panchayat Member, who is directly elected by the villagers. The panchayat is chaired by the president of the village, known as a Sarpanch. The term of the elected representatives is five years. The Secretary of the panchayat is a non-elected representative, appointed by the state government, to oversee panchayat activities.
According to Section. 6 (3) of the Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act of 1994, that state's gram sabha has to conduct a meeting at least twice a year.
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