Panchayati Raj System: Leading JK to the highest echelons of rural emancipation – India Education | Latest Education News | World Education News
JAMMU: The Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), through which village self-reliance is achieved, have been entrusted with the task of “economic development, strengthening social justice and implementing the programs of central government and States at the local level.
The modern Panchayati raj system was formalized and introduced in India in April 1999 as the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution.
Under this system, an institution of “empowered local government” is established with decentralization of functions, funds and officials (3Fs) to give people not only voice but also the power to choose. The essence of Panchayati Raj is participatory local governance with bottom-up inputs into the development process. It is part of a broader strategy of new ways of thinking about and implementing participatory development in light of a new parameter of ‘inclusion’ in governance.
Panchayati Raj assumed the importance for democracy to ensure the participation of peoples for equitable development and social empowerment in a transparent and accountable manner.
While throughout India people enjoyed the right to elect local representatives, the same freedom was not exercised in Jammu and Kashmir. It was only after the abolition of Section 370 that the Union Cabinet on October 21, 2020 approved the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act 1989, paving the way for the elections of local bodies in the territory of the Union. He ensured the establishment of the three levels of democracy at the local level in J&K UT for the first time since independence.
In a further push towards strengthening grassroots democracy, free, fair and peaceful panchayat elections were held in UT, leading to the building of vibrant Panchayati Raj institutions here. In a significant achievement, these panchayat elections recorded a substantial turnout of 74.1 percent. A total of 3650 sarpanchs and 23660 panchs were elected to lay the foundation for the 3 tier Panchayati Raj system for the first time through J&K.
After the successful Panchayat elections, elections for Block Development Councils (BDCs) were held for the very first time in J&K history. The BDC elections saw an overwhelming turnout of 98.3% in which 276 presidents were elected in a completely transparent manner.
Finally, the District Development Council elections were held in 8 phases and had a whopping 51.7% turnout. The process elected 20 DDC Presidents and 20 Vice Presidents in addition to a total of 278 DDC members were also elected, thus completing the implementation of the 3-tier Panchayati Raj system in its full form.
After the amendment of the Panchayati Raj Act 1989, 27 subjects were transferred under the 73rd amendment of the constitution.
Following the establishment of a three-tiered Panchayati Raj scheme at J&K, Rs. 1727.50 crores were transferred under the MGNREGA, midday meal scheme and ICDS. In addition, 1,889 Panchayat accounting assistants and 317 Panchayat secretaries were recruited, in addition panchayats were empowered to carry out social audits and redress grievances.
In an effort to further improve the skills and effectiveness of PRI representatives, a host of capacity building and training programs are underway for Sarpanchs and Panchs at reputable training institutions like IMPARD and outside institutions. also. In addition, induction courses, digital literacy trainings, gram panchayat development plan trainings and training workshops were conducted for newly elected BDC chairpersons. Around 750 elected officials benefited from training and exhibition visits outside of UT.
For the first time since independence, elected grassroots representatives were given an official protocol to fly the national flag on Independence Day and Republic Day. Elected representatives receive an honorarium and an official position in the precedence term and the regular system of interaction of district officers with panchayat representatives has been institutionalized.
The administration organized a landmark meeting on the “district-level planning process” under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, which was attended by all DDC chairpersons and members.
Also, in an encouraging move, the plan allocation for Panchayats has been doubled from Rs.5136 crore in 2020-21 to Rs.12600 crore in 2021-22. The planning process was accomplished in accordance with the constitutional mandate. In addition, insurance coverage of Rs.25 lakh has also been provisioned for elected representatives of all panchayats.
Under Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA), around 195 panchayat ghars have been resumed with the completion of 36, so far. Similarly, about 160 panchayat ghars have been taken over for renovation, of which 105 have been completed. In addition, 1131 panchayats were taken for the establishment of a solar system there, in addition to 3973 panchayats received funds for the purchase of computers with accessories.
The implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act seeks to empower the people of the Union Territory by allowing them to elect their own representatives who will plan the development of the district and implement social welfare measures. This multi-level institutional governance model will also respond to the needs of different regions and sub-regions and protect the public against feelings of deprivation and underdevelopment.