Govt set to release Annual Plan to all 20 distts without DDBs

Step will boost development well in time

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Dec 17: In a significant decision aimed at giving fillip to developmental works, the State Government has decided to release Annual Plan of all 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir regions directly to the District Development Commissioners (DDCs) without waiting for constitution of District Development Boards (DDBs), which didn’t exist in the State in the absence of democratically elected Government.
“The State Government has decided not to wait for constitution of the DDBs as it would lead to inordinate delay in finalization of Annual Plans of 20 districts-10 each in Jammu and Kashmir regions for next financial year of 2019-20. It would go ahead with release of Annual Plan for all 20 districts shortly and released their budget well ahead of start of the financial year to carry forward the developmental works,” official sources told the Excelsior.
The Government anticipated that there could be a long wait for constitution of the DDBs as the democratically elected Government was unlikely to be in place before May. As far as the District Development and Planning Boards (DDPBs) are concerned, which were part of third tier of Panchayati Raj System, they too would take time as the Government first had to set up the second tier i.e. the Block Development Councils and the entire exercise is time consuming.
According to sources, the Annual Plan of all 20 districts could be released in one go very soon and all these districts could see substantial hike in their Plans for the year 2019-20 as compared to 2018-19 to fulfill aim of the State Government to boost infrastructural development, which was also the theme of the budget for 2019-20 that was approved by Governor Satya Pal Malik a day before.
“Additional amount to the districts for current financial year was also expected to be released shortly depending upon the utilization of amount for the current year and requirements projected by the District Development Commissioners,” sources said, adding that the DDCs would be empowered to utilize the Annual Plan including the additional amount being released in their favour.
According to sources, the Government would release part of the Annual Plan for the financial year 2019-20 to the District Development Commissioners well before start of the next financial year on 2019-20 to facilitate them to take up developmental works.
“Pending constitutions of the DDBs, the District Development Commissioners were likely to be empowered to prioritize developmental works in their districts and start them. The DCCs could, however, consult the public representations like the Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Council in the absence of Members of Legislative Assembly, sources said, adding the Government was of the view that the developmental works shouldn’t suffer pending constitution of the DDBs.
However, the Governor, his Advisors and the Administrative Secretaries would continue to monitor the developmental works in the districts on regular intervals.
Apart from the Annual Plans, the Government was also likely to go ahead with release of 50 percent budget for all Departments in the month of February to help them start their development-related and other activities immediately after the beginning of next financial year on April 1, 2019.
The District Development Boards (DDBs) were headed by the Cabinet Ministers in Jammu and Kashmir in the absence of elected District Development and Planning Boards. The DDBs were constituted for 20 districts of the State including 10 each for Jammu and Kashmir regions. However, Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh region don’t have the DDBs as both the districts have been allotted Autonomous Hill Development Councils with separate budgetary provisions.
However, since the present dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir proposed to go for three-tier system of Panchayats for the first time in the State, there would be elected District Development and Planning Boards instead of nominated District Development Boards, which was the case earlier.
However, before holding the elections to District Development and Planning Boards, the Government had to conduct polls to the Block Development Councils, which was second tier of the Panchayati Raj System.