Centre amends Panchayati Raj Act in J&K to form directly elected district-level councils

New Delhi, Oct 18 (UNI) The Centre has made required changes in the Panchayati Raj Act to form directly elected district level councils in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, before the formation of the Assembly. This district level councils, known as District Development Councils (DDC), will take up various development works at local level.

As per the Gazette notification issued on October 16 by the Union Home Ministry, each of the DDC, which is seen as a new power block at the grass roots, will have 14 territorial constituencies from where members would be elected directly by the residents of the electoral area. Some of the seats will be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notification said.

All members of the DDC, shall have the right to vote in the Council’s meetings. However, in case of election or removal of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman only the directly elected members shall have the right to vote, the order said. The Additional District Development Commissioner shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the DDC, it added.

The DDC, which will have five-year term, will have jurisdiction over the entire district, excluding Municipality or Municipal Corporation areas, it said.

The latest executive order for Jammu and Kashmir, which has been under direct rule of the Centre since November 2018, every DDC shall consist of the directly elected members from territorial constituencies in the district, chairpersons of all Block Development Councils of the district.

Once Assembly elections are held, members of the Legislative Assembly whose constituencies lie within the district, will also be DDC members.

The DDC will replace the District Development Boards, which earlier, when Jammu and Kashmir was a state, were chaired by a Cabinet Minister or a Minister of State and included MLAs and MPs

On August 5, 2019, the Centre divided the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, making Ladakh an independent UT and Jammu and Kashmir with legislature.

The Centre had also announced the delimitation process to be carried out in the newly-carved out UT of J&K for reworking the constituencies. The delimitation commission, set up in March, is headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice Ranjana Desai.


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