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A sarpanch (IAST: Sarpañch) or Gram Pradhan or Mukhiya is a decision-maker, elected by the village-level constitutional body of local self-government called the Gram Sabha (village government) in India.[1] The Sarpanch, together with other elected panchayat members (referred to as ward panch), constitute gram panchayats and zilla panchayats. The sarpanch is the focal point of contact between government officers and the village community and retains power for five years.

Meaning of sarpanch

Sar, meaning head, and panch meaning five, gives the meaning head of the five decision makers of the gram panchyat of the village.

In the state of West Bengal, a 'Sarpanch' is called as Panchayat Pradhan (Pradhan means Chief) and his deputy as Panchyat Upa-Pradhan.

Roles and Responsibilities

Sarpanch is bestowed with following roles and responsibilities:[2][3]

  • He is bound to conduct meetings of Gram Sabha excluding Social Audit of Gram Sabha.
  • He is bound to maintain record of minutes of meetings in Gram Sabha and signing the same after every meeting.
  • He should organize meetings of the committee formed to improve village called "Gram Sabha".
  • He should participate proactively by replying to the queries raised by members during Gram Sabha meetings.
  • He should organise a minimum of two "Gram Sabha" meetings in a year as per guidelines of Government of India.
  • He is obliged to perform the activities ensuring greater participation of people staying in the geographical boundary of his village in the meetings of Gram Sabha of place governed by him.
  • He should be proactive in ensuring that resolutions passed in Gram Sabha meetings are followed.
  • He should invite suggestions,advice on the subjects proposed to be discussed in Gram Sabha meetings from all sections of the society including Scheduled Tribe, Village Women,Scheduled Castes apart from motivating them to attend these meetings.
  • He should invite interaction from other members on the suggestions proposed in Gram Sabha meetings from other members attending the meeting.


Following is the eligibility to become Sarpanch:[4]

  • Should have minimum age of 21 years.
  • Should be Indian Citizen.
  • Should be stable mentally.
  • Should not have been convicted in any legal case.
  • Some states of India made it mandatory for a person to contest as Sarpanch should have functional toilets.
  • Some states of India made it mandatory for a person to contest as Sarpanch in case of a male candidate from General Category to have been qualified in matriculation exam and in case of women from General or person from Schedule caste they should have qualified in middle standard or 8th class.[5]


The tenure of Sarpanch in India is five years.[6][2]

Panchayati raj

Although panchayats have been in existence in India since antiquity.We find Panchayati system from Chola dynasty in Sangam period. In post-Independence India, most of the rural development and community development projects have been sought to be executed through panchayats. India's federal structure of governance means that different states have different laws governing the powers of the gram panchayats and sarpanches.

Panchayat elections

In many states, elections were not held for decades and instead of elected sarpanches, the gram panchayats were run by bureaucratically appointed administrators. With the passage of 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in 1992, a number of safeguards have been built in, including those pertaining to regular elections.

Reservation for women

Article 243D(3) of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment requires one-third of seats in panchayats and one-third of panchayat chairperson positions be reserved for women, across all three levels of the panchayati raj system.[7][8]: 24  This amendment followed various state-level legislative reforms in which reservations were set for panchayat positions to be held by women.[8]: 32 

See also


  1. ^ Misra, Suresh; Dhaka, Rajvir S. (2004). Grassroots Democracy in Action: A Study of Working of PRIs in Haryana. Concept Publishing Company. p. 116. ISBN 9788180691072. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b Jaggi, Harleen Kaur (24 April 2021). "Panchayati Raj: Powers, Functions, Duties Role and Responsibilities of Sarpanch or Panchayati Raj Head". Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  3. ^ "sarpanches to get district collectors powers to fight against covid 19 in odisha-". 19 April 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Uttar Pradesh Gram Panchayat Election 2021: Minimum Qualifications For Holding Office Of Pradhan". 7 March 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  5. ^ "Minimum qualification set as Haryana passes Panchayati Raj Bill". 16 November 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  6. ^ Bhandare, Namita (10 February 2016). "What has education got to do with panchayat politics?". Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  7. ^ Constitution of India. Government of India.
  8. ^ a b Sharma, Kumud (1998). "Transformative Politics: Dimensions of Women's Participation in Panchayati Raj". Indian Journal of Gender Studies. 5 (1): 23–47. doi:10.1177/097152159800500103. PMID 12321579. S2CID 36735582.
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