NC-Cong evolve consensus on 73rd amendment

SRINAGAR: After showing ‘serious’ reservations over its extension to the state, the National Conference today succumbed to Congress pressure by agreeing on incorporation of major and important provisions of 73rd Amendment of the Constitution of India into the J&K Panchayat Act.

The coordination committee of Congress-NC coalition government headed by Prof Saif-u-Din Soz, the PCC chief, that met here agreed on institution of a separate Finance Commission and a separate Election Commission for the Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir.

There will be principle of election throughout the Panchayat system and no nominations at any level, in future, the coordination committee of the two coalition partners agreed.

Consensus was also arrived at the reservation for SC, STs and women. It was also agreed upon that there will be a procedure for removing an erring Sarpanch, provision for auditing of Panchayats, marketing societies  will not to be members of Block Development Councils (BDCs) and the Chairman of District Development and Planning Board will be Elected. The chairman will be also associated with the meetings of the Board in future.

The committee has also evolved consensus on reducing the voting age from 25 to 21 years. “There was consensus also on enlarging  the  power of Panchyats have . It was  observed that the J&K Government  order indicating that Panchayats in State would be associated for  implementation of 14 Centrally Sponsored Scheme,” the Committee handout issued  today said.

There was consensus that the Land Acquisition Act and Food Security Act would also be  adopted in the state, in due course  of time; ‘but  the acts would be minutely  studied and anomalies,  if any, removed in the interest of the people of J&K State. This exercise would be made at the earliest.’

It may be recalled that on September 22, Ambika Soni the Congress General Secretary and in-charge Jammu and Kashmir affairs, at a function here had set a two-month deadline to National Conference for implementation of a report prepared by Pradesh Congress Committee on incorporation of some clauses of 73rd amendment of Indian Constitution into state Panchayat Raj Act.

Reacting to the development, Naeem Akhter, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MLC and chief spokesman said: “We have been witness to many such pronouncements in past as well. It is a trademark of this government that it is high on announcements and low on performance. Let us see, how and when it happens. People are interested only in implementation and not rhetoric.”

When reminded of his strong opposition to incorporation of 73rd amendment to Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Act, Ali Mohammad Sagar, minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj said: “We have agreed on the good provisions only. This will further strengthen the democratization process at the grass root level. Previously there was some confusion only on reservation issue which has been sorted out amicably.”  With inputs from KNS

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