To get desirable results from the various welfare and developmental schemes, the Jammu and Kashmir Government decided to involve Panchayat members while formulating policies for the rural areas across the Union Territory.

Dr. Piyush Singhla, Secretary General Administration Department (GAD) of the J&K Government on Thursday issued an order to ensure the participation of Panchayat members in formulating policies and programmes.

"It is enjoined upon all the Administrative Secretaries to sensitize their respective heads of the departments about the importance of participatory planning process for the overall development of the village, and ensure the presence of the concerned officers/officials in the Gram Sabha meetings along with the detail of the resources available with them so that the Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs) are all-encompassing", the order reads.

Jammu and Kashmir BDC
Image: IANS

The Secretary GAD pointed out that during a recent meeting, the Chief Secretary, J&K, has observed with concern that there has been a minuscule presence of major sectors e.g. Agriculture, Women & Child Development, Health & Nutrition, Education, Animal Husbandry, Skill Development etc. in the GPDPs that are being implemented in the Panchayats.

Constitution empowers Gram Panchayats to implementation of policies, programmes

The Constitution has empowered the Gram Panchayats (GPs) for planning implementation of various schemes for economic development and social justice. Several initiatives have been taken by the Government of India, as well as State Governments to realize the Constitutional mandate by enabling the GPs to prepare decentralized participatory plans and GPDPs) are not to be seen as a mere micro-plan but as comprehensive need-based development plans for accelerated, multi-pronged growth in the respective Gram Panchayat areas.

J&K Govt

Since there are many programmes and schemes of the Central and the State/UT Governments, aimed at achieving economic development and social justice are being implemented in Panchayats, there is a strong need for convergence and collective action.

"The association of the frontline workers of the different Line departments, implementing different schemes specific to their respective departments, is of prime importance to understand people's perceptions on problems and getting an idea of the possible solutions", the order reads.

Panchayats have to act as a platform to address developmental issues

The order further reads, "In the scheme of things, the Panchayats have to act as a platform to integrate and converge all these activities for addressing developmental issues effectively. The focus of the GPDPs has to be on analyzing the developmental gaps in the socio-economic sectors, public service delivery, and capturing the needs and aspirations of all, especially the vulnerable and marginalized groups".

While analyzing the GPDPs prepared during the preceding years, it has been observed that only those works which fall within the scope of various schemes run by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj are reflected in the GPDP plans which do not align with the Constitutional mandate and the guidelines for the preparation of GPDPs issued by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India, in terms of which this Plan has to be all-encompassing i.e. cover all the 29 subject/functions listed in the 11th Schedule of the Constitution of India, which stand devolved to the Panchayats.