After successful election, 35,000 Kashmiri panchayat members to be trainedNovember 23rd, 2011 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) The central government has drawn up plans to train over 35,000 elected panchayat representatives from Jammu and Kashmir to enhance their capacity in carrying out local development works, after successful grassroots elections this year marked a great step forward for the state.
Panchayati Raj Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo said his ministry will provide “foundation training” to the representatives.
The 16-phase panchayat polls in the state were held during April-June this year. The elections were marked by a high voter turnout despite a boycott call by sections of separatists. Over 75 percent of the more than five million eligible voters participated in the polls.
The last panchayat elections in the state were held in 2000-2001.
Deo said the first batch of representatives were likely to be provided training by the end of this month at the National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad, and some state-level institutions.
“We intend to build their capacities by imparting training. Such training and interaction with their counterparts in other states will give them insight and provide them basic inputs with regard to local governance,” Deo told IANS.
He said over 35,000 panchayat representatives will be given a five-day training over the next three-four months.
Deo also wrote a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah last month, complimenting him on the “successful and smooth” panchayat elections.
He said the polls were “certainly a concrete step for restoring normalcy in the state” and his ministry would facilitate capacity building of the newly formed panchayati raj institutions (PRIs).
The panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir were held under the state Panchayati Raj Act.
However, the state Congress has been demanding incorporation of the 73rd Constitution Amendment Act, 1992, in the state’s Panchayati Raj Act to empower the rural local bodies.
The 73rd amendment provides for devolution of power and responsibilities to different tiers of PRIs.
State Congress chief Saifuddin Soz said real empowerment of panchayat bodies will not take place in the state till the amendment is adopted.
“It will lead to empowerment of the panchayati raj institutions,” Soz told IANS.
He said if the amendment act is adopted, it will not be possible for the state government to nominate zila parishad chiefs.
In his letter to Abdullah, Deo also referred to the issue.
“As I understand, the legislative intent behind the 73rd Amendment based on the vision and dreams of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was to provide a potent mechanism for people’s involvement in development and governance process. This also generates among the people at large a feeling of actual participation in the governance and a sense of inclusiveness among them,” Deo said in the letter.
The minister also emphasised the role of gram sabhas and said they not only provide a forum but also give an opportunity for every citizen, including those who are not elected representatives, to participate in development and governance at the grassroots.
(Prashant Sood can be contacted at email@example.com)
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Tags: amendment act, central government, concrete step, constitution amendment, deo, eligible voters, foundation training, jammu and kashmir, kashmir, kashmir chief minister, kishore, level institutions, local development, local governance, normalcy, panchayat elections, panchayat members, panchayati raj, separatists, state congress