Srinagar, Nov 23: Further strengthening grassroots democracy, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to give administrative control of 21 departments to Panches and Sarpanches at the Gram Panchayat level.
Some of the departments which have been zeroed-in on include Rural Development, Social Welfare, Health, Education, Power, Horticulture, Fisheries and Agriculture.
Director, Rural Development Department Kashmir, Sarwar Qazi said Panchayat members will now be in charge of 21 departments at the Gram Panchayat level.
“If Gram Panchayat comprises of seven Panches and Sarpanches then multiple departments will be allotted to one member. If there are more than 21 Panches in a Gram Panchayat, then more than one member will share powers for looking after each department,” he said.
Qazi however hastened to add that Panches and Sarpanches will hold these responsibilities only at the Gram Panchayat level.
“Panchayat members will look after all works of 21 departments like health, sanitation, electricity or construction of roads. The main thrust is to strengthen grassroots,” he said.
Under this policy, Panchayats could also generate their own funds by charging fees for building permission, advertisement and hoardings.
Panchayats, in addition to being involved in the selection of eligible beneficiaries for various government welfare schemes, can get Rs 50 lakh-80 lakh per year for implementation of key national schemes such as the National Health Mission, Samagra Shiksha etc.
Centre has released Rs 1000 crore to panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir. “Further Rs 700 crore will be released in next few months. Government wants funds on development works to be spent through Panchayat members,” sources said.
Qazi said ‘Back to Village 2.0’ will empower and energize Panchayats. “During five day programme, authorities will be reviewing works in each Gram Panchayat. They will try to find out whether there has been proper utilization of funds. They will also try to figure out how people can avail benefits of beneficiary schemes,” he said.