Village Panchayat (also called Gram Panchayat) is the grass root institution of Panchayati Raj System.
At village level, there is a Gram Sabha or Village Assembly and a Gram Panchayat having a Chairperson known as Gram Pradhan or Sarpanch (Mukhia), a Vice Chairperson and some Panches.
A Gram Sabha consists of all the adults i.e. voters (persons above the age of 18 years) living in the area of a Gram Panchayat (village or a group of small villages). The Gram Sabha has now been recognized as a legal body. It acts like the legislative body. In one year, at least two meetings of the Gram Sabha are held. In its first meeting the Gram Sabha considers the budget of the Gram Panchayat. In its second meeting it considers the reports of the Gram Panchayat.
The members of Gram Sabha elect the members and also the Chairperson of Gram Panchayat. The States have to ensure that all the Gram Sabhas in their respective areas are functional.
The Village Panchayat or Gram Panchayat is the executive committee of Gram Sabha. It is the most important unit of rural local self-government. In most of the States, a Village Panchayat has 5 to 9 members who are called Panches. In every Panchayat, one-third of the seats are reserved for women. Seats are also reserved for persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Sarpanch (Mukhia) of the Panchayat is directly elected by all the voters of the village. The tenure of the Village Panchayat is of 5 years.