Post Abrogation of Article 370: Devolution of powers to Panches and Sarpanches led to effective utilisation of Funds

Post Abrogation of Article 370: Devolution of powers to Panches and Sarpanches led to effective utilisation of Funds

Srinagar: The government has embarked on a plan to strengthen grass root leadership in Kashmir by giving more administrative and political powers to the elected Panchayat members to fill the political vacuum created after detention of mainstream political leaders since August 5. The government strengthened Panchayat in the newly-created union territory of Jammu and Kashmir by giving Panches and Sarpanches enough powers to take decisions regarding development works in their respective jurisdictions. The Union Territory administration has decided to give administrative control of 21 departments to Panches and Sarpanches at the Gram Panchayat level. It was the first time in the political history of Jammu and Kashmir that Panches and Sarpanches will be sitting along with the bureaucrats in the front on Republic Day function. The BDC elections were held over two-and-a-half months after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked by way of abrogation of Article 370, elections were held in the state for the first time keeping in view the developmental works and prosperity in the region. A total of 98.3 per cent of the eligible voters turned out to cast their votes for the 307 of the total 316 blocks.In Kashmir Valley, 128 out of 137 blocks went to polls and Independents won the maximum 109. The BJP bagged 18 blocks while the Congress managed to win just one.
The conduct of BDC election was another success after the revocation of Article 370 as the administration didn’t lose any opportunity to ensure its smooth conduct and functioning of the state. For the first time since 1947, Block Development Council elections were held in Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh. The polls witnessed a historic turnout of 98% as there were over 1080 candidates in the fray in 310 blocks. The main aim of conducting Block Development Council (BDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 was to create a corruption free environment for the betterment of the people of the region who have been looted by the crook politicians in the past. The BDC elections brought a major relief to the people as they elected their representatives in order to get their grievances and concerns addressed as after the abrogation of Article 370 there were a kind of disconnection between the public and its representatives. Till the assembly elections are held in the region, which is not going to be an easy affair, the elected people in the BDC will serve as the real representatives of the people.Before the abrogation of Article 370, the politicians looted and misguided the people of the region through their biased approach and corrupt practices and now after the revocation of Article the same leadership was replaced with a new leadership which focused on all-round development of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
After the abrogation of Article the utilisation of public funds have become more transparent and accountable to the people as every Panches and Sarpanches is authorised to get an approval for their projects and plans from the DDC (District Development Commissioner). The process of approval is multi-tier which was never witnessed before the revocation of Article 370. The file has to go through four offices after consultation between Panches and Sarpanches it is then submitted to the BDO, who forwards it to the District Planning Officer, from where it is forwarded to the District Development Commissioner for the final approval. The government has already released the first instalment of the funds. Under the 14th Finance Commission, Rs 3,000 Crore is earmarked for Panchayat’s of the region. They have already released Rs 1,300 Crore in the past. Soon after the conduct of BDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory, the Centre released Rs 1000 Crore to Panchayat’s in Jammu and Kashmir. Panches have been selected as eligible beneficiaries for various government welfare schemes and got Rs 50 lakh-80 lakh per year for implementation of key national schemes such as the National Health Mission, SamagraShiksha etc. Moreover, it was the Panches and Sarpanches who replaced the political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir on the Republic Day function held at Sher-i- Kashmir Cricket Stadium in Srinagar and now on the upcoming Independence Day they are going to be considered as VIP delegates representing the people of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

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