Amending Panchayat Act not desirable at present: Official Panel

‘73rd Amendment Could Be Considered In Future, Establish Institution First’


Srinagar, Nov 30: While the state government has decided to amend state Panchayat Raj Act to incorporate provision of the 73rd amendment, an official panel which was tasked to suggest for empowerment of Panchayats had earlier cautioned against any such move, saying it was undesirable as the grassroots governance institutions were still in infancy.
 The panel had rather recommended that priority should be given to making Panchayats operational and any change in the Act could be considered in future.
 In its 74-page report, accessed by Greater Kashmir, the Committee on “Devolution of Powers to the Panchayats” headed by the Chief Secretary has observed that since the Panchayat elections were only recently conducted and the institutions were just beginning to get established, it would not be at all desirable at this stage to consider any amendment that may lend uncertainty to the constitution of the bodies at Halqa Panchayat, Block and District level.
 “All efforts should, therefore, be focused, for the present, to strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institutions for their term as envisaged in the Act, i.e. 5 years,” the 6-member committee has recommended in its report.
 The Panchayat elections were held in JK in April 2011 after more than three decades.
 However, the state government had to defer the already announced Block Development Council (BDC) polls last month after pressure from the state Congress that Panchayat Act should be amended to incorporate major features of the 73rd amendment. Accordingly, the cabinet approved the ordinance seeking amendment to the existing Panchayati Act.
 The official panel has however recommended that government may consider amendments to the Panchayat Act in light of the 73rd amendment when Panchayats are next constituted.
 The recommendations include amendment to reduce the eligibility for election as Panch/Sarpanch from present 25 years to 21 years, provision for election (not nomination) of the Chairman District Planning and Development Board (DPDB) by electoral College and extension of reservation for women and SC/ST in the Panchayats.
 The election for the Chairman DPDB and the reservation for women and SC/ST are the main demands of the Congress.
 As per the state act the Chairman DPDB has to be nominated from amongst the members of the board and there is no reservation for women and ST/SC.
 The Chief Secretary led committee submitted its report to the government last July. The report contains a slew of recommendations on devolution of functions and quantum of funds to the Panchayats, issues related with strengthening the rural development department.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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