The three-tier Panchayati Raj System


The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all. Setting an example, the State Government has written to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Jammu and Kashmir to set in motion the exercise for elections to the Block Development Councils and the process for constituting second tier of Panchayats, This decision is a major step in the direction of setting up three-tier Panchayati Raj System in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time with adequate financial, administrative and other powers as applicable in other parts of the country. The second tier of Panchayats would be set up only in the Panchayats which have been fully constituted. In the areas where Panchayats couldn’t be established due to lack of quorum, the BDC elections can’t be held. About 1057 Panchayats haven’t been constituted in Kashmir region due to lack of quorum. Out of a total of 4483 Panchayats in the State, there were 2135 in Kashmir. As many as 1057 Panchayats couldn’t be constituted in the Valley due to lack of quorum.
As per the Panchayati Raj Act of Jammu and Kashmir, there should be at least one Sarpanch and one Panch to form quorum for constitution of the Panchayats but in 1057 Panchayats, there was either Sarpanch or Panch and they couldn’t be constituted. There will be no elections for second tier of Panchayats, which haven’t been constituted. The BDC elections in these Panchayats will be held only after election for vacant posts of Sarpanchs and Panchs are conducted, they added. The Central and State Governments had recently announced that three-tier Panchayati Raj system will be established in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time and the Panchayats would be given administrative and financial powers for development of the rural areas. Moreover, the State Government has delegated several powers to the Panchayats which would be a welcome step and will the democratic systeem in state.

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