The basic provisions of the Act are divisible into compulsory provisions and voluntary arrangements.
The provisions which the state statutes will have to provide for are:
- Creation of a State Elections Commission to conduct elections to PRIs.
- In order to review the financial position of the PRIs, each State to set up a State Finance Commission for five years.
- Tenure of PRIs fixed at five years and, if dissolved earlier, fresh elections to be held within six months.
- Creation of a three-tier Panchayati Raj structure at the zila, block and village levels.
- The minimum age for contesting elections to PRIs to be 18 years.
- Reservation for women in panchayats (chairman and members) up to one-third seats.
- Reservation of seats for SC/ST in panchayats (chairman and members) in proportion to their population.
- Indirect elections to the post of chairman at the intermediate and apex tiers.
- All posts at all levels (with two exceptions) to be filled by direct elections.
- Organisation of gram sabhas.
As local self-government is an item in the State List, the state governments have been given a reasonable discretion to take decisions in the following areas:
These voluntary provisions vary from state to state:
- Voting rights to MPs and MLAs in these bodies,
- Reservation for backward classes,
- Financial powers,
- Autonomy of the Panchayats.
- Devolution of powers to perform functions of the Eleventh Schedule and planning.