J&K to have elected district development councils

In a major move, the Government of India has amended Jammu & Kashmir’s Panchayati Raj law -1989 for establishment of district development councils for which every district will be divided into 14 territorial constituencies to elect members of the body.

According to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Fourth Order, 2020, a copy of which is in possession of news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) for each district there shall be a District Development Council, having jurisdiction, over the entire district excluding, such portions of the district as are included in a Municipality or Municipal Corporation constituted under any law.

 “All members of District Development Council, whether or not elected by direct election from territorial constituencies in the district shall have the right to vote in the meeting of the District Development Council,” reads the amendments carried out by the Ministry of Home Affairs in J&K’s Panchayat law.

But the MLAs will have no voting rights in the case of election or removal of the Chairman and vice-chairman only the directly elected members shall have the right to vote.

According to the amendments, every district Development Council shall comprise a Standing Committee for Finance; Standing Committee for Development; Standing Committee for Public Works; Standing Committee for Health and Education; Standing Committee for Welfare.

The amendments further state that every district, there shall be a District Planning Committee comprising of the members of Parliament representing the area, members of the State Legislature representing the areas within the District, chairperson of the District development council of the district, chairpersons of the town Area committees/municipal committees of the District, president of the Municipal Council/Municipal Corporation, if any, District Development Commissioner, Additional District Development Commissioner, District Statistics and Evaluation Officer, Chief Planning Officer, All District Level officers shall be ex-officio members of the Committee.