In Orissa, the Orissa Panchayat Samiti and Zilla Parishad Act was passed in 1959 and it came into operation w.e.f 26 January 1961.
However, in 1968 the Orissa Government amended this Act and replaced Zilla Parishads with District Advisory Councils.
Each District Advisory Council consisted of the Collector of the District, members of Orissa Vidhan Sabha and MPs of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha whose constituencies fell within the District; all chairmen of Panchayat Samities of the district, all chairmen of Municipal Councils of the district; Presidents of District Land Mortage Banks, Presidents of the Central Cooperation Banks, and any other officer nominated by the Government.
The District Advisory Councils were virtually Zilla Parishads at work. In 1991 the Government of Orissa, once again decided to transform these into Zilla Parishads. For this purpose the Zilla Parishad Act 1991 was passed by the Orissa Legislature and Zilla Parishads started operating at the district level as the third tier of the Panchayati Raj system.
The Orissa Zilla Parishad Act 1991 was amended in 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2003 incoporating necessary changes, particularly in tune with the 73rd Constitution Amendment Act. There are 30 districts in Orissa and as such these are 30 Zilla Parishads at work in Orissa.
Each Zilla Parishad in Orissa consists of both directly elected as well as ex-office members. One member is directly elected on the basis of adult suffrage from each constituency within the areas of the Zilla Parishad. Ex-officio members include chairmen of all Panchayat Samitis and MLA’s MLCs and MPs who represent the Zilla Parishad area in the state legislature and the Union Parliament. Some seats are reserved for persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. 1/3rd of the seats are reserved for women.
The elected members of a Zilla Parishad elect from amongst themselves one of the members as the President and another as the Vice President of the Zilla Parishad. Here again the provision for reservation for SCs and STs is followed. Further 1/3rd of the Chairmanships of all Zilla Parishads stand reserved for women.
The President of the Zilla Parishad constitutes the executive authority and in the absence of the President, the Vice-President performs his functions. The President and Vice-President of each Zilla Parishad are paid an honorarium which is fixed by the Orissa Government.
The President convenes and presides over the meetings of Zilla Parishad and it is essential that at least 4 meetings must be held within one year and there cannot be a gap of more than 3 months between any two meetings of the Zilla Parishad. Zilla Parishad has a tenure of five years and it is a fixed tenure. The Collector of the District is the Chief Executive Officer of the Zilla Parishad.
Committees of the Zila Parishad:
The Parishad functions through a number of standing committees, each in charge of specified subjects. The members of these committees are elected from among the members of the Zila Parishad. The Chairman of the Zila Parishad is an ex-officio member of all the Standing Committees.
The five main standing committees of a Zila Parishad are: General Committee, Finance Audit and Planning Committee, Social Welfare Committee, Education and Health Committee, and Agriculture and Industry Committee.
Each committee consists of 5 members. Chairman of a standing committee is elected by the members of the Zila Parishad. The Chairman of a Zila Parishad is however, ex officio chairman of the first three standing committees as listed above. No member of the Zila Parishad can be a member of more than two committees.