Flourishing Panchayati Raj


Like many other laws, till the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, there was no Panchayati Raj System prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir which means only MLAs were entitled to both urban and rural development on their own, no representation of villagers meaning grass root level problems repeatedly getting ignored, year after year, decade after decade, with the result people denied their dues consistently, practically no one for them. Despite 73rd and 74th amendment being undertaken to strengthen rural and urban bodies and while in rest of India true fruits of democratic setup were reaped but Jammu and Kashmir public was devoid of these privileges for no fault of theirs. With Article 370 abrogation UT of Jammu and Kashmir got fresh breeze of democracy as both BDC and DDC elections were held along with Panchayat elections there by establishing 3 Tier Panchayati Raj System of democracy, the village level Gram Sabha, cluster of villages Block Panchayat and the District Level District Panchayat. Interestingly in the absence of assembly and recognising the importance of Panchayati Raj, even some ministers fought DDC elections. All three tiers have their own role to play but with one mission to do socio economic development at grass root level. ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ is reality now with collective efforts and inclusive growth with Sustainable Development Goals. Numerous social inclusion schemes and programmes are there for benefit of each and everyone. Purpose of all these schemes is to end poverty, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, ensure healthy lives, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. For all these schemes Digital India – e-Governance portal is there but definitely one requires Adhaar, Ayushman cards and online registration in many cases which at village level is quite difficult. Keeping in view of all these requirements at ground level computers, data operators and internet services have been provided as every effort is being put to prepare the database so that future planning for even villages is being done scientifically. Another important aspect is whether the benefits are reaching to villagers, what’s the impact of schemes on life, is there any improvement and to evaluate these on the pattern of District Level District Good Governance Index, now Panchayat Development Index is being prepared within one month to ascertain impact of Centrally Sponsored Schemes at the grass-root level. A Visiting Officer designated as Prabhari Officer shall be deployed for the concerned Panchayat who will pay quarterly visit to assess on ground situation, sort out minor issues and inter departmental bottlenecks. More focus on employment as such skill development of that particular area, rural electrification, sanitation, water and latest agriculture methods can be achieved. Further these index results will infuse competitiveness between different panchayats, now administration can focus more on panchayats performing below average. All plans have been put in place to take this Panchayati Raj to next level, future schemes/programmes will be drafted keeping in view past performances, a complete watch over what has been actually achieved as against what was proposed to be achieved. Schemes can be modified or specific focus on certain schemes in certain areas can be done now. It’s overall a dynamic step forward for betterment of every Indian, way forward towards true democracy.

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