Govt to introduce Ombudsman for Panchayats Bill in assembly

Jammu: Government is all set to introduce J&K Ombudsman for Panchayats Bill in the state legislature to incorporate provisions of the 73rd Amendment of Indian Constitution after it received a green signal from the state cabinet.
“The Jammu and Kashmir Ombudsman for Panchayats Bill, 2014 (to incorporate provisions of 73rd Amendment of Indian Constitution), will be introduced in the state legislature during the ensuing session,” an official said.
The state assembly session is slated to begin tomorrow.
The Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, yesterday approved extending provisions of the 73rd constitutional amendment to the state for empowering panchayati raj institutions.
Congress and opposition BJP had been demanding inclusion of 73rd Amendment which would give decision-making and financial powers to panchayats. It gives panchayats autonomy in planning and execution of development work and utilisation of funds.
The demand was fuelled after panchayat elections were successfully conducted in the state in 2011 after three decades. Meanwhile, the All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) has welcomed the state Cabinet’s approval to extend provisions of the 73rd constitutional amendment to the state for empowering panchayati raj institutions.
“We welcome the decision. This is a historic decision and we, 33,000 panchayat members, appreciate the gesture of the central and state governments,” AJKPC president Anil Sharma told reporters here today.
The AJKPC, an organisation of panches and sarpanches which has been spearheading the struggle for empowerment of panchayats, said the decision would certainly strengthen the grassroots level democracy in the state and further empower the people through democratic process.
“The credit for this goes to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi who personally showed keen interest in empowerment of panchayati raj institutions in the state,” Sharma said, adding that senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saif-uddin Soz also helped in their struggle.