Guv chairs meet, amendment to Panchayati Raj Act approved; RD, PR deptts asked to initiate poll process
The fourth meeting of the State Administrative Council (SAC) chaired by Governor Narinder Nath Vohra Thursday approved the proposal to amend the Jammu Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, for conducting elections of Sarpanches of Halqa Panchayats directly by the electorate of Halqa Panchayats and not by indirect method of electing Sarpanches from among the Panches themselves.
This will restore the original position in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, which provided for direct elections of Sarpanches, a position altered by an amendment passed in 2016.
Advisors to the Governor, Bharat Bushan Vyas, K Vijay Kumar and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai besides Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam attended the meeting.
The need for making this amendment was to restore the primacy and importance of the Sarpanches in the Panchayati Raj System and giving them the necessary legitimacy to be able to discharge their functions, an official spokesman said.
The spokesman said this provides stability in the Panchayati Raj system and ensures accelerated development which meets local needs.
He said direct elections also make the Sarpanchs accountable directly to the people rather than to an intermediate group.
Further, this amendment brings the spirit of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment to the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, the official spokesman said.
The SAC also directed the department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj to initiate the process of holding elections to Panchayats in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K.
The official spokesman said with the holding of elections to the Panchayats, the institution of local self-governance at the village level would be revived in the State, thereby furthering inclusion and percolation of benefits of decentralized planning at the grass-root level.
He said it would also ensure greater participation of people in planning and formulation of area specific policies and programmes and hence their involvement in decision making process.