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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Jan 12, 2018, 1:07 AM; last updated: Jan 12, 2018, 1:07 AM (IST)

A first: Rs1,000 crore allocated for urban local bodies, panchayats

No separate power Budget

  • The ruling coalition dispensed with the previous practice of presenting a separate power Budget (a sector on which the government is proposed to spend about 18.67% of its total Budget in the next financial year) and decided to come up with the panchayat Budget.

Tribune News Service

Jammu, January 11

The ruling government today presented the state’s first-ever panchayat Budget “to make the institutions of local governance fully functional”.

In 2018-19, the government has made a provision of Rs 1,000 crore in the state Budget for the panchayats and urban local bodies. Besides, it has intended to enable the panchayati raj institutions to collect taxes and generate their own sources for the better delivery of services.

The government has also decided toconstitute the finance commission and appoint Ombudsman for local governance to act as a watchdog and a problem resolution platform for the better functioning of panchayats.

In a “landmark” initiative, the government has decided to provide basic banking services in panchayats in such a way that it is profitable for the banks and sustained for the system.

It has also proposed to hold the much-delayed panchayat elections from February 15.

“While all of us acknowledge that conducting the panchayat elections is going to be a challenge, I believe that an even bigger challenge is to make these elected bodies effective,” Drabu said.

He said the state budgetary heads overlapped with the district budget heads. “This creation of duplicate heads of expenditure and failure to assign funds to the panchayats suggests a latent resistance to devolution on the part of the state departments. Accordingly, I propose a new framework for the budgetary and financial empowerment of the panchayats so that they become potent instruments of change and development in the state,” he said, adding, “The basic idea of this framework is the democratisation of public expenditure and not just devolution of funds and provision of grants”.

Drabusaid it would not bring the state closer to its people but the people closer to the state.

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