Devolution of powers


By way of amendments, the MHA has substituted the District Planning and Development Board with District Development Council and also made provision for establishment of District Planning Committee. For constitution of District Development Council, each district of the Union Territory will be divided into 14 territorial constituencies and accordingly elections will be held for the same. To ensure further devolution of powers to the grass root democratic institutions in this Union Territory, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has carried out several amendments in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 for establishment of District Development Councils and District Planning Committees. Moreover, Panchayats and Block Development Councils will exercise several specific functions of more than 15 Government departments in their respective areas.
As highlighted by JOURNEY LINE, each District Development Council will have jurisdiction over the entire district excluding such portions as are included in a Municipality or Municipal Corporation. Each District Development Council will consist of the directly elected members from territorial constituencies in the district, the Members of the Legislative Assembly representing a part or whole of the district whose constituencies lie within the district and the Chairpersons of all Block Development Councils of the district. In the un-amended Act, the Member of Parliament representing the areas within the district was kept as member of the District Planning and Development Board and there was a provision was nomination of Chairman of the Board by the Government from amongst the members. However, with the amendments, the Member of Parliament won't be member of the District Development Council and Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of each Council will be chosen by the members elected from 14 territorial constituencies. Moreover, in case of election or removal of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman only the directly elected members will have the right to vote which means MLAs despite being member of the District Development Council will not have right to vote on this aspect.
Moreover, one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the SCs and STs) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every District Development Council shall be reserved for women.
"The reserved seats shall be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the district", the amended Act States. The term of the District Development Council shall be five years except for holding common elections to all the tiers of the Panchayats simultaneously so that all the tiers have co-extensive terms in the district and one third of the total number of seats for the office of Chairperson of District Development Council in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be reserved for women.

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