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Ministry of Home Affairs Amended J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989; DDCs will be Created

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Govt amends J&K Panchayati Raj ActOn October 17, 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 under the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 by removing a provision in Section 10 that requires payment of honorarium to panches and sarpanches (village head) in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).

  • Currently, a sarpanch and panch get Rs 3,000 and Rs 1,000 as honorarium respectively. 
  • This omission will not affect the remuneration and the panches will continue to get paid.
  • It should be noted that this omission provides administrative flexibility. Now there will be no need of amendment when the government wants to increase the honorarium, unlike now.

Important– The J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 enables MHA to amend the Union Territory’s laws by issuing an order.

Creation of District Development Councils (DDCs)

The amendment also provides for the creation of District Development Councils (DDCs) in each district of J&K which will have jurisdiction over the entire district excluding areas designated as municipality or Municipal Corporation. The term of the DDCs will be 5 years.

  • In this regard, every district will be divided into 14 territorial constituencies to elect members for the body which will pave the way for three-tier panchayati Raj System
  • The DDC shall consist of the directly elected members from territorial constituencies in the district, members of the Legislative Assembly representing a part or whole of the district whose constituencies lie within the district and the Chairperson of all Block Development Councils of the district,

Important– This move marked the implementation of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 in the UT of J&K.

Auditing of Halqa Panchayat Accounts:

In accordance with the amendment, the accounts of the Halqa Panchayat will be audited annually by a chartered accountant. Halqa means the area comprising a village or contiguous number of villages determined by the government.

  • Also Halqa Panchayat can employ necessary staff for carrying out duties but should pay remuneration to such staff out of its own resources.

Recent Related News:

i.On 28 August, 2020 MHA notified the ‘Rules of Transaction of Business’ for the Government of J&K. The rules have been issued under the exercise of powers conferred by section 55 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019.

ii.On September 4, 2020, an online portal, Smart Performance Appraisal Report Recording Online Window (SPARROW) for Jammu & Kashmir Administrative Service Officers (JKAS) was launched.

About Jammu & Kashmir (J&K):
Lieutenant Governor– Manoj Sinha
Capitals– Srinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter)