JAMMU, JANUARY 30: Minister for Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Abdul Haq Khan today informed the Legislative Assembly that Government is committed to hold Panchayat elections by March this year.
"Process has been initiated for holding fresh Panchayat elections. As soon as Halqa Panchayat elections are held, the process for 2nd and 3rd tier shall be initiated accordingly, as both these tiers of Panchayati Raj system are co-terminus with the Halqa Panchayat elections," he informed the house.
Responding to the points raised in a question by Rajiv Jasrotia, the Minister said that the 73rd amendment is not applicable to the J&K in view of the Special Constitutional Position enjoyed by the state under constitution of India.
However, he said that Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act 2014 has been enacted to bring in the broader features of the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution of India.
The Minister also said that process for appointments under MGNREGA has been initiated by the department.
Regarding transparency in working of the Rural Development Department, the Minister said all the developmental works taken up by the Department pertaining to MGNREGA, IAY, SBM are being uploaded in MIS and respective websites of the Rural Development Department.
"Government has also introduced concept of geo-tagging of the assets created by the department which are all in public domain and all payments are being made directly to the beneficiaries," he said.
Replying to a question by Ghulam Nabi Monga in the Legislative Council, the Minister said the state government is fully committed to hold Panchayat elections by March 2017 and preparations in this regard are already on. He said elections to the Municipal Corporations and Urban Local Bodies will be held afterwards.
Abdul Haq said after the expiry of term of Panchayats, Block Development Officers and Panchayat Secretaries have been entrusted with the responsibility of holding Gram Sabhas, which after holding deliberations pass joint resolution after identifying the works under various schemes for execution/implementation. He said in the process public representatives are also taken into confidence.
Replying to various points raised in the house in this regard, the Minister said so far four cases of embezzlement have been detected under MGNRGEA scheme. He said recoveries have been made from the erring officials. He said one increment of two erring officers has been forfeited and FIR has been lodged in one case.