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How to organise a Gram Sabha

In order to ensure effective participation in the Gram Sabha all members should be formally and compulsorily informed in time. However, we know through experiences that mere formal notification does not guarantee participation of the people. Their participation depends on the Sarpanch/President’s leadership capacity; his/her style of functioning and his/her ability to build interpersonal relations. If the Sarpanch/President is of friendly nature, knows how to communicate with the officials and people, and she/he also seems to be participative and transparent in her/his dealings, then there is no reason why people will not participate in the Gram Sabha.

Formal Notification

  • Before organising the Gram Sabha, it is important to issue notice as per the existing norms of the state. Wide publicity must be ensured. The notice of the Gram Sabha can also be publicised by beating of drums and pasting of the notice at the Panchayat bhavan, schools and local market place.
  • All voters must receive the notice of the Gram Sabha at least a week before the scheduled date.
  • The notice should necessarily mention the date, time, venue and agenda of the Gram Sabha.
  • The agenda of the Gram Sabha should be written in a clear and simple language so that people can understand it easily.

Ensuring Participation of people from all sections

While preparing village development plans, focus should be given for the upliftment of people belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward classes and other weaker sections We have to ensure their better participation in the gram Sabha meeting and provide an opportunity for them to freely express their felt needs and grievances.

In order to ensure their better participation, the information regarding the conduct of gram Sabha should be extensively propagated in areas inhabited by Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Weaker Sections.

If their grievances are redressed before the next Gram Sabha meeting, their faith on gram Sabha will increase and they show more interest for attending Gram Sabha meetings regularly.

Participation of women in Gram Sabha

Normally, the attendance of Women in Gram Sabha is very poor, and even if they attend, they find it difficult to express their opinions and put forward problems pertaining to women due to lack of congenial circumstances. Though the women self-help groups in our State have formed into village level groups and are interacting on issues like Savings, Loans etc, they are still hesitant to openly participate in Gram Sabha.

In these circumstances, the Gram panchayat should take initiative and ensure wider participation of Women in gram Sabha by active propagation through Women Self-help groups and Village Organisations. This can be taken up with the assistance of Women ward members and other members.

Women specific problems should be discussed and steps should be taken to resolve them.

To involve women in the process of decision making in Gram Sabha, separate Women Gram Sabha are being conducted prior to Gram Sabha meetings in the State of Maharashtra. This ensures proper resolution of Women related issues.

Image on Participation of women in Gram Sabha

The required quorum for the Gram Sabha

The quorum for the meeting of the Gram Sabha shall be one-tenth of the members / voters of the Gram Panchayat meeting. If the first meeting is postponed for want of quorum the meeting shall adjourn to another date  and the procedure shall be as per the provisions of state.

Issues to be discussed in the Gram Sabha

Though the Gram Sabha is free to discuss any issue related to the Gram Panchayat, there are some issues which have to be discussed necessarily. These issues are as follows:

  • The annual statement of accounts of the Gram Panchayat.
  • The report of the preceding financial year. Last audit note and replies, if any, by the Gram Panchayat.
  • The budget of the Gram Panchayat for the next financial year.
  • The report in respect of development programmes of the Gram Panchayat relating to the preceding year.
  • Development programmes proposed to be undertaken during the current year.
  • Reports of the Vigilance Committee.
  • The recommendations of the Ward Sabha.
  • The Gram Sabha can discuss those proposals also which it thinks is important enough for a Ward although the Ward Sabha has not included it in its agenda.
  • Utilization of funds for the plans & programmes.

Factors influencing effective participation

In order to ensure effective participation in the Gram Sabha all members should be formally and compulsorily informed in time. However, we know through experiences that mere formal notification does not guarantee participation of the people. Their participation also depends on the qualities of Sarpanch/President’s such as

  • Leadership capacity
  • Style of functioning and ability to build interpersonal relations
  • Friendly nature, knows how to communicate with the officials and people
  • Participative and transparent in her/his dealings, etc

When the Sarpanch/President’s has above qualities, then there is no reason why people will not participate in the Gram Sabh.

Source : National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad



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