Back to Village 2.0: Govt sanctions Rs 50 cr for dev works in Panchayats

Srinagar, Dec 17: Picking up threads from where it had left last month, Jammu and Kashmir government has sanctioned Rs 50 crore for developmental works that were identified during ‘Back to Village’ programme 2.0.

During five-day ‘Back to Village’ 2.0, at least 5000 government officials stayed in each Gram Panchayat and listened to demands and grievances of the people.

Carrying forward its good governance mission, Jammu and government has sanctioned Rs 50 crore for 15 districts of Jammu and Kashmir. As per the government order, each district will get Rs 3 crore for undertaking works identified during ‘Back to Village’ 2.0.

“The list of identified works shall be furnished by the divisional commissioner Kashmir and Jammu and the district development commissioners to the Finance Department within a period of 15 days. Only such works shall be undertaken which can be completed during the current financial year. Funds shall be utilized after following due tendering procedure and observing all the required codal formalities,” the government order reads.

An official of Finance Department said district development commissioners have been told to identify “high priority works” with high impact.

“Officials have been asked to focus on power, sanitation and roads. Government will assign Panchayat members to undertake the works,” the official said.

Government has directed officers to maintain records of works and ensure transparency in utilization of funds. Officials have also been told to review the progress of works initiated after ‘Back to Village’ programme 1.0 held in June this year.

The official said that objective of ‘Back to Village’ was to strengthen the grassroots democracy in Jammu and Kashmir.  Earlier government had released Rs 5 crore for works which were identified during ‘Back to Village’ programme 1.0.

To ensure funds reach grossroots, authorities have directed officials to maintain transparency in funds meant for Panchayats in Kashmir.

“It is mandatory to ensure that the funds in the account of the Halqa Panchayat are properly used and that the balance available prior to the notification of constituted Panchayats or appointment of administers are in order. Every transaction in the said Halqa Panchayat account is as per the financial rules,” reads a government order issued earlier.

Centre, as part of its initiative to empower around 40,000 elected local representatives in JK, had earlier enhanced the financial powers of Panchayats tenfold from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh, and that of block councils from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh.

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