Jammu: With an objective to speed up the development and streamline the funds allotted from centre, the three-tiers of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) including the newly elected District Development Councils (DDC), Block Development Councils (BDCs) and Panchayats will shortly have their own Finance Commission for their funding which will give boost to developmental works especially in the rural areas to be executed by the three bodies.
“Government shortly proposed to set up separate Finance Commission for the three tiers of Panchayati Raj System which will help in immediate funding of works identified for execution by the DDCs, BDCs and Panchayats,” Daily Excelsior reported qouting sources.
Prior to the elections of the DDCs and by-polls to vacancies of Panchayats including Sarpanchs and Panchs, the Government had set up the State Election Commission (SEC) headed by KK Sharma, former Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor which conducted these elections.
“There will be massive flow of grants to the newly elected District Development Councils, Block Development Councils and the Panchayats as 73rd Amendment of the Constitution of India has been fully implemented in Jammu and Kashmir by present dispensation at the help of affairs which wasn’t applicable to the Union Territory for past several years though being implemented in rest of the country,’’ sources said.
Modalities of the Finance Commission for the Panchayati Raj Institutions are being worked out, sources said, adding the Commission would come into force once the District Development Councils are in place.
The separate Finance Commission for the DDCs, BDCs and Panchayats will help the elected rural bodies to speed up the developmental works.
The Finance Commission, according to sources, will be a full-fledged independent body.
In the absence of Finance Commission, the grants to Panchayati Raj Institutions are routed through the Rural Development Department.
“Once the Finance Commission is set up, all grants to the DDCs, BDCs and Panchayats—whether from the Centre or the Union Territory Government—will be routed through the Commission,” sources said, and added that biggest advantage of the Commission is that the grants can’t be diverted for any other Scheme as the Commission exclusively deals with the Panchayati Raj Institutions.
According to sources, setting up of separate Finance Commission for the Panchayati Raj Institutions has also become mandatory for the Union Territory Government after full implementation of the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution of India. The 73rd Amendment was implemented with elections to third tier of the Panchayati Raj System i.e. the District Development Councils which had never been held in past 70 years.
Prior to abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019 and bifurcation of erstwhile State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, the previous Governments including PDP-BJP and National Conference-Congress had refused to implement 73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution of India in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Finance Commission could be set up after elections are held for the posts of Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons of the District Development Councils, sources said, adding that the elections would be notified only after the Rural Development Department comes out with notification of reservation roster for the posts of Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons.
Out of 20 District Development Councils in Jammu and Kashmir, 33 percent are being reserved for women while reservation could also be extended to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as per the formula being worked out by the Department.
The reservation roster is expected to be released by the Rural Development Department soon, according to sources.
This will be followed by elections to the Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons after which the District Development Councils will come into existence for a tenure of five years. Jammu and Kashmir divisions have 10 District Development Councils each while each Council has 14 elected members.
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