In Orissa, the grass-root level institution of Panchayat Raj is known as Grama Sasan.
For each Grama (A village or a group of villages with a minimum population of 2000 and a maximum of 10,000) and as notified by the Government Gazette, there is a system of Gram Sasan.
Grama Sabha consist of all the persons of the concerned Grama who stand registered as voters on the basis of the Peoples Representation Act 1950.
It is the corporate body of the Grama. The Grama Sasan holds at least two meetings in a year which are known by the name Grama Sabhas. These are held in the months of February and June every year. The quorum for the meetings is 1/10 of the members of Grama Sasan.
Further for every village within the Grama, there is constituted a Palli Sabha. It consists of all the registered voters of the concerned village. Each Palli Sabha holds atleast one meeting per year in the month of February.
The meetings of the Palli Sabha are presided over turn by such members of the Grama Panchayat who represent the village in the Palli Sabha. There is no formal quorum for its meetings. The Palli Sabha in its annual February meeting makes recommendations to the Grama Panchayat in respect of the development works and programmes for the area as well as for the annual budget of the Grama Panchayat.
Functions of Grama Sasan:
The Grama Sasan has the power to:
(a) Approve the plans programmes and projects for socio-economic development before these are taken up by the Grama Panchayat for implementation;
(b) Identify and select persons for getting benefits under poverty eradication and other such programmes;
(c) Consider and approve the budget of the Grama Panchayat;
(d) Consider proposed taxes, levies, rents and fees;
(e) Organise community service and drawing up and implementation of agricultural production plans;
(f) Considers all matters submitted to it by the Grama Panchayat ; and
(g) Seek any information from Grama Panchayat;
The business of the Grama Sasan and the Grama Sabhas are properly conducted and all records of proceedings are faithfully kept.
Further, in respect of Scheduled Areas, which fall within the Grama area, the Grama Sasan has the power to safeguard and preserve the tradition and customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and customary mode of dispute resolution in conformity with the laws and the constitution.
The Gram Sabha elects the members of the Panchayat and the Chairperson of Panchayat. It is a real grass root level institution. Orissa has now tried to ensure continuance of operation of all the Grama Sasans in their respective areas.