The Panchayati Raj bill

State legislature should decide the powers of gram sabhas.

All states must have panchayats at the village level. But state legislatures can decide if they want panchayats also at the intermediate (block, taluka etc) and district levels.

All seats in village panchayats and intermediate panchayats shall be filled by direct election. The seats in the district panchayat can be filled in a manner decided by the state legislatures.

Seats shall be reserved for candidates from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in every panchayat. Not less than one-third of the seats shall be reserved for women.

Every panchayat shall continue for five years. If dissolved before its expiry, a new panchayat must be elected within six months.

The governor of a state shall constitute a finance commission to decide how revenue from taxes and duties should be distributed between the states and panchayats.

Panchayati Raj institutions will deal with various subjects, including social forestry, housing, drinking water, fuel and fodder, rural electrification, poverty alleviation programmes and public distribution and community assets.

JPC recommendations

The gram sabha cannot exercise any powers and that it can perform certain functions. The details of such functions can be laid down by the state legislature.

The entire country should have a uniform three-tier system of panchayats -- village, intermediate and district panchayats.

All seats in panchayats at all levels should be filled by direct elections. But only the chairperson of the village panchayat should be chosen by direct election.

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