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Posted at: Sep 11, 2019, 6:57 AM; last updated: Sep 11, 2019, 6:57 AM (IST)

Panchayats to get more funds, VP Naidu tells J&K sarpanches

Interacting with a delegation of sarpanches and panches from Jammu and Kashmir here, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu pointed out that Article 370 was only a temporary and transitory provision in the Constitution
Panchayats to get more funds, VP Naidu tells J&K sarpanches
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu meets a delegation of sarpanchs from J&K in New Delhi. PTI

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 10

Asserting that the scrapping of Article 370 would accelerate the process of development in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Vice President (VP) M Venkaiah Naidu today said that this would be done by extending various schemes, including the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments, to strengthen funds and functions of local bodies.

Interacting with a delegation of sarpanches and panches from Jammu and Kashmir here, the VP pointed out that Article 370 was only a temporary and transitory provision in the Constitution. Referring to the holding of the panchayat elections under the Governor’s rule in J&K after a long gap Naidu expressed his happiness that 74 per cent of the electorate voted and that around 3,500 of the 4,483 panchayats had been elected.

With the scrapping of Article 370, panchayats would now become more dynamic as the 3Fs - Funds, Functions and Functionaries - would be devolved to them. “The financial power of panchayats had also been increased 10 times, enhancing their financial powers up to Rs 1 lakh,” he said. In addition, the VP pointed out that the panchayats were vested with powers to raise their own resources by increasing taxes. “The panchayats are also now empowered to conduct audit of schemes like the Integrated Child Development Scheme and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna to improve the quality of delivery,” he added. Observing that greater devolution of funds, functions and functionaries would enable the three-tier administrative system to function more effectively, he said J&K was losing around Rs 4,000 crore for not conducting panchayat elections as per the norms set by the 14th Finance Commission.

“Now that elections have been conducted, the funds recommended by the Finance Commission will start flowing. I am happy to know that Rs 500 crore have already been released and another Rs 3,000 crores will be released shortly. This will be a big game-changer for the panchayat system,” he added.

He also suggested that holding elections to local bodies every five years should be made mandatory. “There should be no discretion or scope for the states to either postpone or advance these,” he added.

Stating that effective local governance was the key to better implementation of development and welfare initiatives and for better service delivery, he said the funds allocated to the local bodies should go into the accounts of panchayats, municipalities and corporations and spent in accordance with the resolutions of the respective bodies. Talks with Pakistan, he said, would be held only on the PoK .

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