Non-action costs JK Rs220 crore

REFORMS IN RURAL LOCAL BODIES

Govt Fails To Secure Release Of Funds Under 12th FC

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, Dec 9: Delaying of reforms in rural local bodies by the State Government has cost Jammu and Kashmir over Rs 220 crore development funds under 12th Finance Commission (FC).
 Sources told Greater Kashmir that under the 12th Finance Commission (FC) Rs 281 crore was earmarked for the Panchayat Raj Institutions in Jammu and Kashmir. However, due to non-fulfillment of laid down conditions JK could not secure release of Rs 228 crore- almost 81 percent of the amount, they said.
 Under the 13th FC award, Rs 918 crore have been now earmarked for state rural local bodies, the sources added.
 Of this amount, Rs 600 crore fall under General Basic Grant (GBG) and Rs 318 crore fall under General Performance Grant (GPG).
 For accessing the GBG, the elected local bodies (Panchayats) have to be in position and the utilization of funds has to be made as per the guidelines laid down by the 13th FC, including submission of utilization certificates.
 The withdrawal of GPG is subject to governance reforms measures including the adoption of an accounting framework put in place, inclusion of PRI’s budget statement in the State Budget document, adoption of eight data base formats, audit of Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs), appointment of independent local body ombudsman, electronic transfer of funds to PRIs and enabling provisions for empowering local bodies to levy property tax.
 The sources stressed it was important that the reform measures mandated by the FC were implemented to access over Rs 918 crores meant for PRIs and transferred to the three tiers- Panchayats, Block Development Councils (BDC) and District Planning and Development Boards (DPDB).
 The state government is yet to hold BDC and DPDB polls. The FC has stressed for early constitution of the State Finance Commission (SFC) under the Panchayat Raj system to ensure flow of funds to the PRIs.
 A Committee on Devolution of Powers to Panchayat which was headed by the Chief Secretary has also recommended that the SFC be formed as early as possible under the Act, and mandated to give its recommendation within one year of its constitution.
 “Until then, the Government may consider making an ad-hoc untied grant available to the Halqa Panchayats for meeting their urgent and pressing requirements. Grants/allocations from the State Plan,” the committee had recommended.
 Commissioner/Secretary RDD, Farooq Ahmad Peer said the Government has fulfilled “most of the conditions”.
 However, he said levying property tax was an “issue” and government was trying to figure it out.
He said there was no problem in securing funds under GBG.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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