J&K panchayat body seeks complete implementation of 73rd amendment

The All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC)—a frontline organisation of elected panchayat members—has reiterated its demand for complete empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the Union Territory by implementing the 73rd Amendment of the Indian Constitution in entirety.

AJKPC president Anil Sharma, during his visits to Reasi and Udhampur districts, welcomed the government’s initiative of taking the bureaucratic set up to the doorsteps of the people through the ‘back to village’ (B2V) programmes and said Panchayat members in J&K yearned for the complete empowerment of PRIs through the 73rd Amendment of Indian Constitution in letter and spirit.

“Different line departments of the government were asked to consult the elected members of the PRIs while implementing welfare schemes. It is unfortunate that these departments are not adhering to government guidelines. All such issues can be addressed suitably if PRIs are fully empowered,” Sharma said, while addressing a large gatherings of PRI members, comprising panches, sarpanches and block development council (BDC) chairpersons.

He also demanded financial empowerment of the panchayats saying, “PRIs have not been able to bring a desired change on the ground due to non-availability of financial resources. We request the UT government to create Panchayat Development Fund on the pattern of MLAs’ Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to improve the living standards of people at the panchayat level.”

He demanded that the government should fix ₹25 lakh per panchayat as panchayat development fund, which will help elected panchayat members to bring a positive change on ground.

He also demanded immediate enhancement of monthly honorarium being paid to sarpanches and panches.

“It is very difficult for sarpanches and panches to work under the existing meagre honorariums of ₹3,000 and ₹1,000 respectively. The government should immediately hike the sarpanches’ honorarium to ₹10,000 per month while panches should receive ₹5,000 per month. The monthly honorarium of BDC chairpersons should be hiked to ₹25,000 per month,” Sharma said.

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