Srinagar, July 25: The Rural Development Department (RDD) J&K Tuesday issued guidelines for incurring expenditure from Own Source Revenue by Halqa Panchayats, Block Development Councils (BDCs), and District Development Councils (DDCs) across Jammu and Kashmir.
The government issued the guidelines in exercise of powers conferred by the Section 14 of J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989.
“The Halqa Panchayat may levy such a fee as may be determined by it on the items given in Section 15 of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act. Section 14 of the act provides that Halqa Panchayat should have a fund to be called Halqa Panchayat Fund,” reads the government order issued by the Director Panchayat Raj J&K, Khalid Majeed who is also the ex-officio Special Secretary to the J&K government.
“Section 13 of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 gives the details of the assets constituting the property of a Halqa Panchayat and from which the Halqa Panchayat can earn revenue,” it reads.
The order reads that the Halqa Panchayat Fund, including the Own Source Revenue, is to be operated by the Secretary Panchayat and Sarpanch as per the procedure to be notified by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
As per the procedure notified by the government for operating upon the Own Source Revenue (OSR) of the Halqa Panchayat Fund by Halqa Panchayats, BDCs, and DDCs, every Panchayat has to maintain a separate account for each scheme under which funds are transferred to it and also maintain separate books of accounts, including cash book, for each scheme under double entry system of accounts.
“There should be a separate account of OSR fund and its books of accounts should be maintained separately. Transfer from J&K government or the Centre should not be deposited in this account under any circumstances,” the order reads.
As per the guidelines, the OSR fund should be utilised as per a separate budget, to be prepared in accordance with provisions of Section 21 of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 and Chapter VI of the J&K Panchayati Raj Rules, 1996 and after approval in the Gram Sabha.
“The option of GIS planning, available under c-Gram Swaraj Portal, should be utilised for planning activities. The annual budget for OSR should also form a part of the Gram Panchayat development plan,” the order reads.
The order reads that the Gram Sabha or Halqa Panchayat should accord priority to the Scheduled Class or Scheduled Tribes, women or minority welfare programmes and income enhancing and livelihood support activities like agriculture, horticulture, and animal and sheep husbandry.
As per the order, the government has stressed to address the critical gaps identified during Mission Antyodaya Survey besides taking up repairs of government and community assets.
“In case of any exigency, any other activity, which does not form a part of the annual budget, can be taken up for which the Halqa Panchayat should call a special meeting of the Gram Sabha and get the activity approved,” the order reads.
It reads that the government might notify priority areas from time to time for incurring expenditure out of the OSR fund and the Halqa Panchayats might incur expenditure on any of the subjects transferred to them under Schedule-1 (A) of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 after approval of the Gram Sabha.
“The Panchayats should exercise all financial prudence and follow GFR while spending the OSR fund. Under no circumstances should the private assets be repaired or constructed out of the OSR funds,” the order reads.