History and Powers of the Grama Panchayat
|It was on July 17, 1953, that the first democratically elected Panchayat assumed office in Kumarakom. The following 10 years, the village council took over the administration. After elections in 1963, the second Panchayat assumed office. The third Panchayat came into power in 1980.
With the enactment of Kerala Panchayat Raj Act and the Kerala Municipality Act in 1994, the Grama Panchayats in Kerala, including Kumarakom became more powerful democratic bodies. In the following Panchayat elections, the villagers of Kumarakom, like all voters of Kerala, had to elect three representatives – one for Grama Panchayat, one for Block Panchayat, an intermediate level of governing body constituting members from neighbouring Panchayats, and a third representative for the District Panchayat, the governing body at the district level.
The Grama Panchayats have the power for taxation, a major source of income. The various taxes levied by Kumarakom Panchayat are property tax, professional tax, and entertainment tax.
The Kumarakom Panchayat president is selected from among 15 elected ward members. At the ward level, five seats are reserved for women and one for Scheduled Castes.
To facilitate the administration of the Grama Panchayat, three standing committees have been set up. They are the Finance Standing Committee, the Welfare Standing Committee and the Development Standing Committee. These committees are constituted by electing members from both the ruling and the opposition fronts. Each committee will have a chairman.
The selection, based on a principle of proportional representation, ensures the participation of people from different political backgrounds and lets even the Opposition have a say in the administrative matters.
The Panchayat also oversees the administration of various government institutions on the premises such as primary schools, the Krishi Bhavan (Village Agriculture Office), health centres and the Ayurvedic, homeo and veterinary dispensaries.