3-tier Panchayati Raj System


For the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, the State is now all set to have three-tier Panchayati Raj System after conduct of Panchayat elections in the State in October-December this year with plans afoot to hold polls to Block Development Councils followed by District Planning and Development Boards (DPDBs) to strengthen democracy at grass root level. While majority of States in the country have switched over to three-tier system, which has proved very effective in giving powers at the grass root level, Jammu and Kashmir, never in the past, had held elections beyond Panchayats. Even elections to Panchayats were held in 2011 after nearly about four decades. The process for holding elections to the BDCs and constitution of DPDBs was likely to be set in motion after completion of Panchayat elections and constitution of the Panchayats as the Government now seems determined to have 3-tier Panchayat system in the State, to bring it at par with other States of the country, where such system was prevalent and functioning very successfully.
The three tier system in other States includes Gram Panch-ayats at village level, Panchayat Samitis at block level and Zila Parishads at the district level. In Jammu and Kashmir, the Panchayat Samitis will be named as the Block Development Councils and Zila Parishads as DPDBs. The functions will almost remain the same. Few days back, the State Government had amended the Act to set up Halqa Majlis, known as Gram Sabhas, in the State, which will comprise voters of that Panchayats with powers to take decision on developmental works of the area, giving powers to the people in deciding the works to be carried out by the Panchayats. In his Independence Day Address from the ramparts of Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated that Panchayat and Municipal elections will be held shortly in Jammu and Kashmir and Central funding will be released directly to the Panchs to give powers at the grass root level for developmental works. Both Central and State Governments are now serious in giving powers to the people at grass root level, this will be for the first time that Jammu and Kashmir would have the Block Development Councils followed by the District Planning and Development Boards.

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