Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu on Tuesday announced honorarium for the Chairpersons of Block Development Councils (BDC) across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Lt Governor said that the honorarium to be given to the BDC Chairpersons would be among the highest in the country. Further, they shall be given their due protocol as per warrant of precedence. Requisite security arrangements shall be put in place for the Chairpersons on the basis of threat perceptions, he added.
The Lt Governor made these announcements after inaugurating two-day Training Programme for the Chairpersons of BDCs at Convention Centre here today. The training programme was organized to make the participants understand their responsibilities while discharging their duties effectively.
During his address, the Lt Governor observed that the people of J&K have been truly empowered with the coming-up of elected Panchayats and Block Development Councils. He said that the elected representatives have a great opportunity to serve the people and make them aware about their rights and responsibilities. He advised the participants to consider this training programme as a session of experience sharing and learning.
The Lt Governor announced that the District Planning and Development Boards shall be constituted for decentralized planning and development. Besides, Zila Parishads elections shall also be conducted in due course of time. With this, the 3-tier structure of Panchayati Raj system will be completed, he added.
The Lt Governor observed that the promotion and development of Panchayati Raj system is an instrument of vigorous local self government, to secure the effective participation of people in the decision making process and for overseeing the implementation of developmental programmes under various schemes.
“Panchayats in J&K have had a glorious history and the very first initiative on strengthening the grass root institution was taken in 1935 with the promulgation of the Jammu and Kashmir Village Panchayat Regulation. J&K took a step forward by passing J&K Village Panchayat Act, 1958, before the Panchayat Raj system could be introduced in the whole country, which was replaced by J&K Panchayati Raj Act 1989 which aimed to have sound institutional framework in the matter of self governance”, the Lt Governor said.
Emphasizing on strengthening the Panchayati Raj system, the Lt Governor observed that the Government of J&K has made sweeping amendments for the J&K Panchayati Raj Act 1989 in October 2018, which shall have a far reaching effect on the empowerment of Panchayats. These amendments make the Act comprehensive policy document which provides the vision, direction and powers to the Panchayati Raj system in the Union Territory, he added.
The Lt Governor also reiterated the Government’s commitment for effectively implementing 73rd amendment for empowering Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) that will further strengthen the democratic set up at the grass-root level.
He said that the officers and officials at all levels are also being sensitized about the new setup of the Panchayati Raj system for developing an effective public delivery mechanism.
Underlining the importance of Block Development Councils on developmental front, the Lt. Governor observed that the BDCs have a greater role to play as they are now shouldered with the responsibilities to take the developmental programmes in rural areas to new heights. He said that an appropriate structure is being set up to clearly chalk-out the roles of BDCs and BDOs, so that there is a better coordination among the officers and elected representatives.
He informed that the remuneration and protocol of the Chairpersons of BDCs has been fixed at what is best in the country. This will encourage the BDC Chairpersons to be proactive and make the BDCs vibrant institutions, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Kewal Kumar Sharma, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor said that the Back to Village programme has got a great response and feedback from elected Panchayats and the powers have been devolved to the PRIs for meeting the public expectations.
Farooq Khan, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor, said that the LG was instrumental in steering the rural development programmes in Gujarat, a model being followed throughout the country, and therefore, the Union Territory of J&K will immensely benefit from the expertise and vision of the Lt Governor.
BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary, informed that the funds, functions and functionaries of maximum departments shall remain under the supervision of PRIs. He further informed that around 2000 accountants shall be recruited soon for the elected Panchayats across J&K.
Sheetal Nanda, Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj delivered the welcome address before the inauguration of the training programme.
Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner, Finance; Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education; Administrative Secretaries; resource persons from various regions and senior functionaries of several departments were present on the occasion.