Home >News >India >Cabinet gives nod to adoption of J&K Panchayati Raj Act

The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the adoption of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Act and said the process for local body elections will start soon in the Union territory.

The move will help establish all the three tiers of grassroots-level democracy for the first time since independence in Jammu and Kashmir, like in other parts of the country, Union information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar told the media after the cabinet meeting.

People across India enjoy the right to elect local representatives, but this does not happen in Jammu and Kashmir, said the minister. The move will empower people in the Union territory and “they will elect their own representatives who will plan the development of the district and implement welfare measures", he said.

“The three-tier system was not there in Kashmir before. They did not have the opportunity to elect their local representatives. This step redeems the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kashmir and home minister Amit Shah in Parliament," Javadekar said. The move will empower people in the region, he said.

“Now, there will be early elections and the power to manage local bodies will go to the people," the minister added.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration is working on the adaptation of other laws following the abrogation of Article 370 that gave special powers to the erstwhile state and its division into two Union territories by making Ladakh a separate Union territory.

“There is a lot of homework to be done, but the principle has been established," Javadekar said.

“As normalcy returns to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir following the scrapping of Article 370, the Modi government is taking all steps to root out corruption and help establish grassroots-level democracy in Kashmir, like in other parts of India," said petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

“For the first time in 73 years after independence, paving the way for true grassroots democracy in Jammu and Kashmir, Union cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approves adaptation of J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989," tweeted Jitendra Singh, minister of state, Prime Minister’s Office.

The Union cabinet also approved the extension of the market intervention scheme for apple procurement in the Union territory for the current season. The procurement of apples will be done by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) through the state designated agency directly from apple farmers of Jammu and Kashmir, under this scheme. Payment to the farmers will be made through direct benefit transfer into their bank accounts.

As much as 1.2 million metric tonnes of apples can be procured under this scheme. “The government has also allowed Nafed to utilize government guarantee of 2,500 crore for this operation. The loss, if any, incurred in this operation will be shared between the central government and the administration of Jammu and Kashmir on a 50:50 basis," the cabinet said.

“This announcement of the government of India will provide an effective marketing platform to apples growers and will facilitate employment generation for the local people. It will ensure remunerative prices for apples resulting in the overall income enhancement of farmers in Jammu and Kashmir," said the cabinet.

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