J&K News Today Commentary
By Binoo Joshi
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the Governor’s administration under Satya Pal Malik have changed the whole context about the Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir, they have animated these grassroots democratic institutions . It is the beginning of a new and vibrant democracy in the State , the only way out to rid the people of the State of their frustrations that have caused huge loss .
The transfer of 29 subjects to Panchayats of Jammu and Kashmir that were implemented in the rest of the country because of the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution of India has changed the whole idea of Panchayats and their functioning in the State, where there was a stern resistance by the ruling parties to empower the Panchayats for they were afraid of annoying the MLAs on whom they relied for support in the legislative Assembly. The fact of the matter is that the MLAs were repulsive to the idea of having powerful Panchayats .
With this the whole idea of democracy in the State has changed . It should waken the State and its people to the greatness of democracy that is being brought to them through the ongoing Urban Local Bodies and Panchayat Polls .This project of empowering the Panchayats will validate the claims of the Government of India and that of the Governor’s administration that these polls were a necessity for reviving the grassroots democratic institutions . In fact, these are being revived with the real powers .
What Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in his tweets makes it clear that the new Panchayats would have powers to govern and deliver at the doorsteps of the rural folk who until now were making a beeline to the houses of the legislators to get their minor works done.
Each of the 19 tweets of Home Minister on September 28 reads like a charter of new brand of democracy that was absent in Jammu and Kashmir until now.
Following powers that are being conferred on Panchayats will give a new meaning to the Panchayati Raj institutions in the State .
1.On an average every Panchayat will now get around Rs. 50-80 Lakhs per year at its disposal for implementation of such schemes. To further strengthen the Panchayats, additional posts are being sanctioned for Accountant, Data Entry operator, Block Panchayat Inspector
2.In addition to selection of eligible beneficiaries for various schemes, Panchayats will also be involved in the implementations of Key National Schemes such as National Health Mission, Samagraha Siksha, Mission for development of Horticulture, ATMA, PMKSY etc
3.Central and State Government funds will further supplement “Own funds” of the Panchayats under various schemes such as MGNERGA, PMAY, ICDS, Mid-Day meal etc.
- Powers for “Own fund generation” are being given to Panchayats. These will include Building Permission Fee, Taxes on entertainment, advertisement, hoardings, various kinds of businesses & profession etc.
- The functions and functionaries of all the 29 subjects transferred to Panchayats under the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution of India will also be transferred to the Panchayats of J&K including institutions like PHCs, Primary Schools, Aganwadi Centers to name a few.