The Bold Voice of J&K

Jammu & Kashmir Panchayats, beginning of new era

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Sunaina Malik

There can never be two opinions in the fact that panchayats are the epitome of development, prosperity, modernisation, advancement and growth of villages of any country. As we all know that nearly 70 per cent of Indians live in villages, so importance of establishment of panchayat Raj institutions in India get doubled manyfolds. It is because of this, Mahatma Gandhi advocated that if, we really want to see India as a developed nation then we have to have establish Panchayats in India.
Panchayats pave the way for decentralisation of powers and shift the powers the hands of people so that they can made their development possible by their own hands. It is only Panchayats which can clear all the possible loop- holes from the ways where benefits can reach to the doors of poor public of India under any Government sponsored scheme.
It is only because of this, Mahatma Gandhi called this institution as Gram Swaraj, means this system of governance impart an independent status to a village. A village becomes independent of its social, agricultural, educational, judicial and economic development. Unlike present political set-up, panchayats facilitate the developmental opportunities at the door-steps of every poor villager.
It ensures development at grass root level. Unlike an MLA, MLC or any Minister, a Sarpanch is well aware about the problems, needs and desires of people of his village and also remains accountable to them because he lives among them.
Today we can see rich are becoming more rich and poor are reducing to starvation because development schemes fail to reach to poor homes, the funds so sanctioned disappear somewhere in between poor public and Government. In this gloomy atmosphere only Panchayats can bridge a link between an injured and a healer.
Jammu and Kashmir is a terrorism-hit state. It has been struggling with poverty and unemployment at one hand and terrorism at other hand. Our youth, because of lack of employment opportunities are easily lured towards wrong path.
If they would be provided with ample opportunities of employment and adjustment, they would definitely become a part of development. Sensing the gravity of situation, former Governor of erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir Satya Pal Malik, in an appreciable move, announced panchayat elections.
Inspite of threats from different terrorist groups, he stood firm and paved the way for development prosperity, peace and employment for people of J&K. 70 per cent turnover of voters in the first phase of panchayat polls confirmed the mandate of common people of J&K that they want to be a part of development, not unrest. Story of development at door-steps of every domicile of JK does not stop here, our state administration in governance of central govt. succeeded in establishing the three-tier system of Panchayat Raj act means Block Developmental Council and District Developmental Council in terrorism ridden state of Jammu and Kashmir. In addition to it.
Establishment of panchayats in 4,490 villages will give start to a new era of development, prosperity, peace and harmony in Jammu and Kashmir. To your revelation these panchayats will bring Rs 4,335 crore grant from centre under 14 finance commission.
On an average individual panchayat will get Rs 20 lakh per annum for development purposes. Not even this, Satya Pal Malik armed these grass roots institutions with more powers by amending Panchayati Raj Act 1989. Satya Pal Malik has made devolution, a part of Act. SAC has not only given adequate teeth to Panchayats but also make it a binding for Government departments to follow it.
As per a report given by an official spokesman, Panchayats have given powers over 20 departments. In addition to this, to make Panchayat Raj Institution (PRIs), a true harbingers of socio- economic development, this amendment will ensure well-defined taxation powers to Panchayat for generation of adequate resources for themselves.
This also define the role of Gram Sabha to supervise the implementation of important schemes like MGNERGA, Pardhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Mid day Meal and ICDS. Monitoring of primary schools, Primary Health Centres and Aganwardi Centers has been passed to PRIs to make them accountable to society. To strengthen the Panchayats further, additional posts of accountant, data entry operator and block Panchayat inspector are being to every Panchayat as announced by Home Minister Raj Nath Singh.
In the conclusion, I want to say only one thing that only Panchayat Raj institutions can accomplish long pending dreams of self-governance of people of Jammu & Kashmir.

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