Govt gives go ahead to Annual Plan of distts in absence of DDBs

Virtually no hike from previous year
Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, May 19: The Government has decided to release Annual Plan for all districts for current financial year of 2019-20 in the absence of District Development Boards to ensure that developmental works didn’t suffer till the elected Government is in place or District Planning and Development Boards (DPDBs), which will form third tier of Panchayats, are elected.
Official sources told the Excelsior that finalization of the district Annual Plan for 20 districts of the State-10 each in Jammu and Kashmir divisions-has been taken up as there were no chances of immediate installation of the democratically elected Government in the State and the present Government doesn’t want to keep the Annual Plan pending for long as it would keep the developmental works suffering.
Though Jammu and Kashmir has 22 districts, two districts of Ladakh division i.e. Leh and Kargil don’t have the DDBs as both the districts have elected Autonomous Hill Development Councils.
“The Government wants developmental works to go on even in the absence of the District Development Boards, which haven’t been constituted as neither there was an elected Government in place nor the District Planning and Development Boards have been constituted. Therefore, the Government has decided to release Annual Plans for all districts to facilitate the District Development Commissioners to initiate developmental works,” sources said.
They added that Annual Plans of all districts for ongoing financial year of 2019-20 will almost be similar to the previous year of 2018-19. However, the Plan could be increased during review meetings either by Governor Satya Pal Malik or his Advisors if the elected Government is not in place till the time of review meetings.
However, they said, the additional funds would depend upon the expenditure incurred on the developmental works and schemes and necessity of more funds to give pace to the works. Some of the districts have also been given ‘authorization’ for expenditure from the Annual Plan while others would be getting it shortly.
“In the absence of an elected Government wherein the DDBs are constituted in the State with Ministers as their Chairpersons and Members of Parliament (MPs), MLAs/MLCs of the concerned districts etc as the Members, the Government has been left with no option but to release the Annual Plan of the districts and keep them at the disposal of the District Development Commissioners for expediting developmental schemes and take up new works,” sources said.
In majority of the States, there are District Planning and Development Boards, which decides developmental works for the districts. These Boards are constituted as third tier of the Panchayats-the first being Sarpanchs and Panchs and second the Block Development Councils.
The District Development Boards in Jammu and Kashmir had ceased to exist in June 2018 after fall of the PDP-BJP coalition Government in the State following withdrawal of support to Mehbooba Mufti-led Government by the BJP. However, by then, the District Development Boards had finalized Annual Plans for the financial year of 2018-19 for majority of the districts and developments works had started.
But half yearly review of the District Development Board meetings wasn’t possible as there was no elected Government in the State. The Governor’s Administration had, however, released the additional amount for majority of the districts depending upon the works taken up/executed.
Generally, two meetings used to be conducted by the Chairpersons of the District Development Boards every year-first for finalization of plan, identification of new developmental works and discuss other issues and second after about six to seven months to review pace of the works and approve additional funds if required, sources pointed out.
If the Assembly elections are held in October-November, the District Development Board chairpersons can hold the review meetings, sources said.