Some of the most important duties and functions of Panchayat Samiti are as follows:
Orissa Panchayat Samiti Act lays down the powers and functions of Panchayat Samiti.
These include : planning, execution and supervision of development programmes in the Samiti Area ; execution of community development projects; management of primary education, management of such trusts and institutions as stand entrusted to it by the Orissa Government.
Supervision of laws relating to vaccination and registration of births and deaths; borrowing of funds and granting of loans ; supervision of Gram Panchayats of the Samiti area, and such other functions as may be assigned to a Panchayat Samiti by the Government of Orissa.
The Panchayat Samiti performs all its functions under the supervision of the Chairman and with the active help of the BDO. The Chairman convenes and conducts the meetings of Panchayat Samiti and has the power to supervise and inspect all works undertaken by the Panchayat Samiti. Further, the Chairman can assign any function to the Vice-Chairman. In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman acts as the chairman of the Panchayat Samiti.
Panchayat Samities falling within a district can jointly undertake any work which is deemed essential for the common good of two or more Panchayat Samities. However, this can be done only with the prior permission of the Orissa government.
The Duties and Functions of Panchayat Samitis:
Doing everything necessary to step up agricultural production and in particular:
(i) Multiplication and distribution of improved seeds;
(ii) Distribution of fertilizers;
(iii) Popularisation of improved techniques, methods and practices and improved implements;
(iv) Achieving self-sufficiency in green manure and composting of farm-yard manure;
(v) Encouraging fruit and vegetable cultivation;
(vi) Reclamation of land and swamps and conservation of soil;
(vii) Providing credit for agriculture purposes;
(viii) Propagating and assisting in plant protection methods;
(ix) Laying out demonstration plots and working out better methods of farm management;
(i) Bringing more area under irrigation by renovating and sinking wells, repairing and digging private tanks and maintaining government minor irrigation sources and supply channels;
(ii) Utilising more power for agricultural purposes;
(iii) Exploiting underground water sources by sinking wells, filter points and tube-wells;
(iv) Tree planting; and
(xiv) Growing of village forests.
2. Animal Husbandry and Fisheries:
(i) Upgrading local stock by introducing pedigree breeding bulls and castrating scrub bulls;
(ii) Introducing improved breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry;
(iii) Controlling contagious diseases by systematic protection;
(iv) Introducing improved fodders and feeds;
(v) Establishing and maintaining of artificial insemination centres; first aid centres and minor veterinary dispensaries;
(vi) Dairying and milk supply;
(vii) Developing inland fisheries;
(viii) Educating the people about the importance of cattle for both milk and draught.
3. Health and Rural Sanitation:
(i) Maintenance and expansion of health services including vaccination and control of epidemics;
(ii) Provision of protected drinking water facilities;
(iii) Dissemination of knowledge regarding family planning;
(iv) Inspection of aushdhalayas, dispensaries, maternity centres and primary health centres;
(v) Carrying out environmental sanitation and health campaigns and educating the public in:
(b) Maternity and child health and
(c) Communicable diseases;
(vi) Popularising smokeless Chullahs;
(vii) Anti-malarial measures and destruction of locusts, rats and other pests.
Construction, repairs and maintenance of inter-village roads and culverts on such roads and other means of communication.
5. Social Education:
The creation of a new outlook among the people and making them self-reliant, hard-working and responsive to community action and in particular.
(i) Establishment of information, community and recreation centres;
(ii) Establishment of Youth Organisation, Mahila Mandals, Farmer Clubs, Villagers Club and the like;
(iii) Establishment and popularisation of libraries;
(iv) Organisation of watch and ward;
(v) Encouragement of physical and cultural activities;
(vi) Organization of voluntary sanitary squads;
(vii) Training and utilisation of the services of Gram Sahayaks.
(viii) Promotion of physical culture by encouragement of games and sports.
6. Promotion of Co-operation:
(i) Promotion of co-operation by helping in the establishment and strengthening of service co-operatives, industrial, irrigation, farming and other societies; and
(ii) increasing participation in and giving assistance to service co-operatives.
7. Miscellaneous Functions,:
(i) Development of cottage and small scale industries in order to provide employment opportunities and to promote village self-sufficiency;
(ii) Management of all property vested in the Panchayats Samiti;
(iii) Inspection and maintenance of serais, rest-houses, markets, public parks and gardens and other public institutions;
(iv) Securing or removing dangerous buildings or places;
(v) Regulation and control of vehicular traffic on roads other than motor traffic;
(vi) Construction, repair and maintenance of relief works, relief houses and other measures of relief on account of famines, floods, earthquakes, and calamities of like nature;
(vii) Management of such public ferries as may be entrusted to the charge of the Panchayat Samiti;
(viii) Establishment and management of ponds;
(ix) Organization and management of Panchayats Samiti fairs, agricultural shows and industrial exhibitions;
(x) Encouragement of thrift through small savings and insurance;
(xi) Disposal of unclaimed dead bodies;
(xii) Management of any property vested in the government which the government may entrust to the Panchayats Samiti;
(xiii) Registration of births, deaths and marriages;
(xiv) Regulation of offensive and dangerous traders and practices,
(xv) Any other local works or measures likely to promote the health, comfort, convenience and interest of the public;
(xvi) Any other matter which the government may generally or in respect of a particular Panchayats Samiti declare to be fit and appropriate matter to be brought under the control and administration of the Panchayats Samiti.