(a) The composition of Gram Panchayat is as follows:
1. Sarpanch: He is the head of the Gram Panchayat. In some states, a Sarpanch is elected directly and in others indirectly by members of the Gram Panchayat. A Vice- Sarpanch from amongst its own members is also elected.
2. Members: Number of members of the Panchayat is fixed by the State. The membership of a Village Panchayat is between 5 to 31. In most of the States, a Village Panchayat has 5 to 9 members. One-third of the seats of the Panchayat are reserved for women. Seats are also reserved for Scheduled Castes/Tribes in proportion to their population in the village. The members are elected on the principle of Adult Franchise.
3. Office Bearers: The Sarpanch and Vice-Sarpanch are honorary members. They are not paid a salary. A paid Secretary to the Panchayat and a Treasurer, if the Panchayat is large, are also appointed by the State Government through the district authorities.
(b) Function: The Gram Panchayat performs the following functions:
1. All public works and public welfare functions like construction, repair and maintenance of village roads, cart tracks, bridges, drains,.tanks and wells.
2. Upkeep of cremation and burial grounds.
3. Sanitation, health, setting up of health centers and dispensaries.
4. Providing primary education.
5. Arranging irrigation facilities, seeds, fertilisers.
6. Registration of births and deaths.
7. Maintaining records of common village property, their sale and purchase and land grants.
Social and economic functions:
These functions are not obligatory and can be performed according to the availability of funds. These functions include:
1. Construction of guest houses, libraries, marriage halls, etc.
2. Organising regular village miles, fairs, and exhibitions.
3. Planting of trees, parks, gardens, and playgrounds for recreation.
4. Establishing fair price shops, Cooperative Credit Societies. Judicial functions: These are discussed under Nyaya Panchayats.
(c) Officer bearers: The Sarpanch and Vice-Sarpanch are honorary members. They are not paid a salary. A paid Secretary to the Panchayat and a Treasurer, if the Panchayat is large, are also appointed by the State Government through the district authorities.