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news details
J&K Sarpanches, panches meet Vice President; raise concern over economy, employment
9/10/2019 10:27:15 PM

Agencies

New Delhi, Sept 10: In a meeting with Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday in the national capital, the recently elected village heads (sarpanches) and panchayat members raised concerns over the economy and employment, particularly fruit exports, in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370. The local representatives pointed out that the restrictions imposed on the state had thrown life and business out of gear.
Reassuring the sarpanches and panches that complete normalcy will be restored soon, Naidu told them that with the abrogation of Article 370, the Panchayats would now become more dynamic as "funds, functions and functionaries would be devolved to them". Naidu maintained that holding elections to local bodies every five years should be made mandatory and there should be no discretion or scope for the states to either postpone or advance them.
It must be noted that the assembly polls in the state are yet to be held even after six months of Governor's rule followed by six months of President's rule which has been extended by six months.
Only after a Delimitation Commission completes the exercise of demarcating new constituencies for the three union terrorities of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, can elections be called.
"I am happy to inform that the Panchayat elections held under Governor's rule in J&K after a long gap, saw 74 per cent of the electorate vote and around 3,500 of the 4,483 Panchayats have been elected.
Following the dilution of Article 370, the Panchayats will now become more dynamic as the 3Fs - Funds, Functions and Functionaries would be devolved to them. The financial power of Panchayats has also been increased by 10 times enhancing their financial powers up to Rs 1 lakh," Naidu said. "The Panchayats have been vested with powers to raise their own resources by increasing taxes.
They are also now empowered to conduct audit of schemes like Integrated Child Development Services and Pradhan Manti Awas Yojana to improve the quality of delivery."
Naidu pointed out that J&K was losing around Rs 4,000 crores for not conducting Panchayat elections as per the norms set by the 14th Finance Commission. "Now that elections have been conducted, the funds recommended by the Finance Commission will start flowing. I am happy to know that Rs 500 crores have already been released and another Rs 3,000 crores will be released shortly. This will be a big game-changer for Panchayat system," he added.
The Vice President said that talks with Pakistan will be held only on PoK.
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