Panchayats & Rural Development Department of the Government of West Bengal is entrusted with the responsibility of constitution and framing policy related to functioning of the rural local self-government, ie, the Panchayats, providing administrative support to the three tier panchayat system as well as implementation of various rural development programmes including the major poverty alleviation programmes in the rural areas of the State. The Department also organizes community action for participatory planning and development through the elected Panchayat bodies at different levels. As per 2001 census, the population of rural West Bengal is 577.34 lakhs out of a total state population of 802.21 lakhs with density of population 904 per Sq Km, which is more than three times the national average of 273 per Sq Km. The State has 18 districts, which are further divided in to 341 Development Blocks. Administration of the Block Development Offices is also one of the responsibilities of the department.


The Department of Panchayats & Rural Development aims at facilitating economic and social development in the rural areas of the State and organize community action in all development initiatives in the rural sector by utilising Central/State Sector programmes. The thrust areas of the Department include the following :

 Deepening and widening decentralisation through the Panchayat bodies

 Training and capacity building of the Panchayat bodies for better governance

 Promotion of wage employment for people living Below Poverty Line (BPL)

 Organizing the rural poor in Self Help Groups for their socio-economic development

 Augmenting livelihood opportunities for the rural population

 Sustainable development of natural resources

 Providing social security and safety nets to the disadvantaged and socially excluded

 Improving the social and physical infrastructure in the rural areas

 Improving service delivery in the field of elementary education and preventive health care in collaboration with the respective departments of the state government