Local Government is a government of the local people. Being located nearest to the local people, local government institutions are under constant observation of the society. The Government of India has empowered the institutions by 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts 1992, so that they may work for the welfare of the local people in a more effective manner.
1. Rural and Urban Local Government
The system of rural Local Government is known as ‘Panchayati Raj System’ and includes Village Panchayat (Gram Panchayat), Panchayat or Block Samiti and Zila Parishad. The urban local government also has three kinds of institutional arrangement in different cities and towns known as Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats.
2. Gram Panchayat
Village panchayat also called gram panchayat is the grass root institution of the Panchayati Raj System. At the village level there is a Gram Panchayat having a chairperson known as Gram Pradhan or Sarpanch (Mukhia), a Vice-Chairman and some panches. All members of each Gram Sabha are voters who elect the members of the Gram Panchayat by a secret ballot.
3. Panchyat Samiti
Panchyat or Block Samiti is the middle tier of Panchayati Raj System. It is constituted by all the Surpanches (Mukhias) of Gram Panchayats lying in that block area; MPs, MLAs and MLCs of that Block; directly elected members, elected members of Zila Parishad of that Block and some officers of that Block (Ex–officio members).
4. Zila Parishad
Zila Parishad is the apex body being the third tier of Panchayati Raj System. It is situated at the District level. It also has a term of 5 years. Some of its members are directly elected and chairpersons of Panchayat Samities are ex-officio members of Zila Parishad. Chairperson of Zila Parishad is elected from the directly elected members.
5. Municipal Corporations
Municipal Corporations are established in big cities. The councillors or municipal corporators are elected for a fixed period of 5 years. The elected councillors elect one of them as Mayor annually. The Mayor is known as the first citizen of the city. There is an official post of Municipal Commissioner, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Municipal Corporation and is appointed by State Government.
6. Municipal Councils
Small cities have Municipal Councils. Every Municipal Council has councillors who are elected by the voters of the concerned city for 5 years. Chairperson or President of the Municipal Council is elected by the councillors. Every Municipal Councils has one Executive officer appointed by the State Government.
7. Nagar Panchayats
Every urban centre with more than 30,000 and less than 100,000 inhabitants has a Nagar Panchayat. It is composed of a chairperson and ward members. It may have a body of ten elected ward members and three nominated members.
8. District Administration
District Administration is headed by District Collector or Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate. The main function of District Magistrate is to maintain law and order and ensure peace.