In a major decision, the state Cabinet which met here under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah approved amendments to various sections of the Panchayati Raj Act of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Act 1989.
Pertinently the ruling National Conference and the opposition parties were against the implementation of 73rd amendment in the state Panchayat Act. Even NC had more than twice called the implementation of these amendments as “anti-state”.
The amendments provide for the Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman of a District Planning and Development Board by the members of the Board from among themselves. The amendments also provide for the Chairman of a Block Development Council to be elected by the Sarpanchs and Panchs of the concerned block from among themselves.
It also provides for reservation in respect of the SC and ST categories to the extent of their population in specific constituency and to the extent of 33% for women.
The amendment also provides for reduction in the age of candidates for contesting elections for the positions of Panchs and Sarpanchs from 25 to 21 years.
The Cabinet also approved the Jammu and Kashmir Ombudsman for Panchayats Bill, 2014 for introduction in the State Legislature during the ensuing session. It also approved the Jammu and Kashmir Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2014 for its introduction and enactment in the State Legislature during the ensuing session.
The state cabinet also agreed on the 73rd Amendment provisions by virtue of which separate Finance Commission and Election Commission are to be constituted besides ensuring reservation in second and third tier of Panchayats.