JK Govt orders ‘performance evaluation’ of Panchayats

Delhi-Based Institute To Undertake Study On Streamlining PRIs

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, Dec 18: Facing criticism for ‘restricting’ the powers of Panchayat Raj Institutes (PRIs) in Jammu and Kashmir, the state government has tasked a New Delhi-based institute for conducting performance evaluation of the grassroots institutions of governance.
 Sources told Greater Kashmir that the government has hired the services of Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) New Delhi to conduct the performance assessment of Panchayats for which the elections were held in April 2011.
 A senior official in the Planning Department said the ISS would recommend to the government on further strengthening of the PRIs, if there was any need for the same.
 “Based on its study, the Institute will recommend to the government on improving the shortcomings, if any, and steps needed to be taken on further strengthening the grassroots governance institutions,” the official said.
 He said the government was also seeing it as an opportunity to silence the “critics” who have been raising questions on government’s retraining the powers of the PRIs.
 “The Institute of Social Science shall furnish detailed account of expenditures made together with progress report before seeking the final payment,” reads an order issued by the Planning Department.
 The latest move follows constitution of a committee headed by the Chief Secretary which had recommended devolution of powers to Panchayats and steps to be taken to strengthen them.
 In its 74-page report, the committee had recommended slew of measures required to be taken by the government on devolution of functions and quantum of funds to the Panchayats, issues related to strengthening the Rural Development Department.
 Pertinently the ISS performs systematic and scholarly study of contemporary social, political and economic issues and makes its research findings and recommendations available to national and State Governments so as to help them to make their decisions based on sound evidence.
 The Panchayat elections were held in JK in April 2011 after more than three decades. However the government is yet to set up the three tier system of governance at grassroots level as it has not so far held elections to Block Development Councils and District Planning and Development Boards under the JK Panchayat Raj Act.
 The opposition as well as associations of Panchs and Sarpanchs has been accusing government of failing to decentralize the governance system in J&K.
 On past Sunday the All Jammu and Kashmir Conference (AJKC) gave an ultimatum to the government to fulfill their promises of empowerment to Panchayats or face agitation.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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