A Panchayat is divided into several Wards. Ward Sabha is the smallest administrative unit of the Panchayati Raj system.
Who are members of Ward Sabha
Every Ward has a demarcated territorial constituency. All voters living in the Ward level electoral constituency are members of the Ward Sabha.
In a state like Odisha it is constituted with all voters of a revenue village and is called Palli Sabha.
Structure of Ward Sabha
- Like the Gram Sabha, the Ward Sabha is also a permanent body and an important part of the Panchayati Raj System.
- Ward Sabha must be organised in each Ward within a Gram Panchayat.
- The elected member of the Gram Panchayat, who represents the Ward, shall convene and preside over the meeting of the Ward Sabha. If the Ward Representative is unable to hold a meeting due to any reason then the Gram Panchayat President/Vice-President can convene the meeting and preside over it.
- The Ward Sabha shall meet once in three months.
- The quorum (the minimum number of the Ward Sabha members to be present) has to be strictly followed. To complete the quorum one tenth of the voters of the Ward need to be present.
Powers and Responsibilities of Ward Sabha
The duties and functions of the Ward Sabha are similar to those of the Gram Sabha. According to the State Panchayat Raj Act and its rules, the powers and duties of the Ward Sabha are as follows:
- To generate proposals and determine the priority of schemes and development programmes to be implemented in the area of the Ward Sabha and forward the same to place it before the Gram Sabha for inclusion in Gram Panchayat development plan.
- To identify the most eligible persons from the area of the Ward Sabha for beneficiary oriented schemes on the basis of criteria fixed
- To verify the eligibility of persons getting various kinds of welfare assistance from Government such as pensions and subsidies
- To get information from the Gram Panchayat on the rationale of every decision of the Gram Panchayat concerning the area of the Ward Sabha
- To provide and mobilize voluntary labour and contributions in cash and kind for development work and supervise such development works through volunteer teams
- To make efforts to ensure that the members of the Ward Sabha pay taxes and fees(if any) to the Gram Panchayat
- To suggest, on the request of the Mukhiya, the location of streetlights, street or community water taps, public sanitation units, and such other public amenity schemes within the area of the Ward Sabha
- To impart awareness on matters of public interest such as cleanliness, preservation of the environment and prevention of pollution
- To assist the employees of the Gram Panchayat in sanitation arrangements in the area of the Ward Sabha and render voluntary service in the removal of garbage
- To promote programme of adult education within the area of Ward Sabha
- To assist the activities of public health centers in the area of the Ward Sabha especially in disease prevention and family welfare and to create arrangements to quickly report the incidence of epidemics and natural calamities
- To promote harmony and unity among various groups of people in the area of the Ward Sabha and to arrange cultural festivals and sports meets to give expression to the talents of the people of the locality and
- To exercise such other powers and discharge such other functions as may be prescribed
All decisions of the Ward Sabha are taken unanimously or approved by a majority. The majority is decided on the basis of people having voting rights and are present in the meeting.
Source : National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad
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