In last year of their term; Panchayats, ULBs set to get hefty grants to boost development

Spending to be a major concern before elections

Centre nod to 59,000 houses under PMAY in J&K

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Mar 23: As Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) including Municipal Corporations, Councils and Committees enter last year of their five-year term, they are likely to get Rs 1550 crore during next financial year beginning April 1 from the Central Government.
This will be in addition to what these institutions will get from the Jammu and Kashmir Government but the spending will be a concern as five-year term of both Panchayats and Municipalities will end in January next year and elections will have to be held for them in November-December this year.
Official sources told the Excelsior that nearly Rs 1470 crore worth grants are likely to come for Panchayats and ULBs from the Central Government which will give major boost to development in urban as well as rural areas.
However, expenditure will be a concern as elections to Municipalities as well as Panchayats are due in November-December.
As per the sources, the Municipalities and Panchayats are likely to give nod to the works to be undertaken during next financial year in April-May itself to ensure their early start. Once the works are approved, the Model Code of Conduct imposed with announcement of elections will not be a hindrance, they said.
“The Central Government has also approved 40,000 new houses for houseless families under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana-Grameen (PMAY-G) in J&K,” sources said.
Similarly, they added, the Government has also given nod for completion of 18934 dwelling units under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U).
Sources described this as a major pro-poor measure by the Central Government.
Elections to Panchayats were held in November-December 2018 after nearly four decades while polls to Municipalities were conducted in October-November 2018 after over 13 years. These bodies will complete their term in January 2024 and elections to them have to be held in November-December 2023.
However, the District Development Councils (DDCs) and Block Development Councils (BDCs) still have their tenure left as elections to them were held later.
Elections to the Block Development Councils were held in October 2019 and their five year term will end in November 2024 while first-ever polls to the District Development Councils were conducted in December 2020 and their term is till January 2026.
This was for the first time that three-tier Panchayati Raj System was established in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of special status of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh in August 2019.
On its part, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has also been providing sufficient funds to the Panchayati Raj Institutions for carrying out development works.
Regular meetings are being held by the Union Territory administration for funding of these institutions.
Sources said the grants for Rural Local Bodies including Panchayats, BDCs and DDCs and Urban Local Bodies including Municipal Corporations, Councils and Committees will boost developmental works in both urban and rural areas.
“Even since elections were held to Panchayats, BDCs, DDCs and Municipalities (Panchayat and Municipal elections were held prior to abrogation of Article 370 while that of BDCs and DDCs were conducted after that), the Central Government has been releasing timely grants to all the bodies,” sources pointed out.
Few days back, the Rural Development Department had announced release of pending amount to Rural Bodies under the 14th Finance Commission for specific works which had earlier been freezed.