44 digital villages to be set up
SRINAGAR, July 4: The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik has accorded sanction to the devolution of powers to Panchayati Raj Institutions for undertaking various Social Forestry (SF) activities to improve the forest based resources for people and livestock, converting wasteland into small village wood lots/strips, raising wind breaks/shelterbelts in vulnerable areas etc.
SAC approved the devolution of powers to Panchayats by the Department of Forest, Environment & Ecology in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 2018 by amending SRO-61 of 1992, SRO-17 of 1999 and SRO-143 of 2011.
The village will be taken as base unit and concerned Panchayats will act to meet the requirement of participatory approach of Social Forestry. A village is a micro unit of Panchayat. One Panchayat in J&K covers/supervises about 2-3 villages.
The sites for various afforestration works under all the schemes, wherever feasible/ applicable will be identified and proposed in consultation with concerned Halqa Panchayat and Village Panchayat (Plantation) Committees. The Sarpanch/ Panch (as the case may be) will function as Ex-Officio Chairman of Village Executive Committee of the Village Panchayat (Plantation) Committees instead of selection by Village Committee (General Body).
The plans under different afforestration schemes of Social Forestry will be formulated by the concerned Village Panchayat (Plantation) Committees in consultation with Halqa Panchayats and Social Forestry Department.
The plants shall be provided by the Social Forestry Department. However, digging of pits and planting will be done through the Village Panchayat (Plantation) Committees. It may be emphasized that any need based/watch and ward/seasonal engagement for social forestry works transferred to the Gram Panchayats will be done by the Village Panchayat Committees. These labourers will be hired exclusively by on day to day basis without creating any liability for the Government.
The monitoring, evaluation and audit of all the works will be done as per the prescribed norms and rules. However, the Halqa Panchayats and Village Panchayat (Plantation) Committees shall be involved in inspections and checking of the works. The maintenance and protection of plantation done shall be joint responsibility of the Forest department and concerned Village Panchayat (Plantation) Committees.
The funds for the plantation shall be placed at the disposal of the concerned Village Panchayat (Plantation) Committees by the Social Forestry Department under relevant schemes/sectors.
The SAC also approved constitution of a committee headed by Financial Commissioner, Finance to examine and work out the modalities for kick-starting recreational programmes in Government/hired auditoriums in various districts of the State and also to suggest a road map for the purpose.
The other Committee members include Director General of Police, J&K, Commissioner/ Secretary, Information Department, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Secretary, Higher Education Department, Secretary, Culture Department and Secretary, J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. Besides two to three eminent persons of the State, associated with making/screening of movies, to be nominated by the Department of Culture will also be included as members. Director, Information J&K will be the Member Secretary of the Committee. The Committee shall submit its recommendations and road map for meeting requirements and way forward, within a period of one month.
Pertinent to mention here is that presently recreational and entertainment facilities are available in parts of Jammu division only. Such facilities are rudimentary in Kashmir division; consequent to which people can’t go along with their families and friends for recreational and entertainment purposes.
In order to provide a source of recreation and entertainment to the general masses in uncovered districts, Government has decided to utilize the Government/ hired auditoriums available in these districts for the purpose.
Meanwhile, the SAC approved implementation of the “J&K Digital Village” programme through Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency (JaKeGA), with the motto “Back to Village via Digital Means” after observing the stupendous response of the people to the recently concluded “Back to Village” Programme.
The existing Gram Panchayat building will be designated as Digital Village Centre (DVC). The centres shall be provided with various facilities including Smart LEDs, Computers, Screens, internet and other relevant facilities. The Village Level Workers (VLWs) of the Rural Development Department shall be the custodians of the DVCs; responsible for overall management of the centres so established and shall also ensure security of the centres. These centres would be looked after by concerned village Nambardar/Lambardar(s) and Chowkidar(s) as well.
The DVCs will provide “One Stop Service Solution’ at the village level and provide services like Wi-Fi Hotspots, Telemedicine, Agricultural Support Services, Digital Payments and other G2C/ B2C services etc. The system shall also be used for realizing the objectives of recently concluded “Back to Village” Programme.
The DVCs will enable Government to disseminate its programmes and policies, provide basic development services to rural areas using digital technology and showcase the potential of digital technologies to improve quality of life in rural areas.
The programme is being launched on pilot basis at a cost of Rs 5 crore across 44 villages in the State. In the first phase, to be completed in the next 6 months, two villages will be taken up from each district, feasible in terms of connectivity (Fibre VSAT) to offer digital services. After ascertaining the impact in the pilot phase, remaining Gram Panchayats shall be taken up in the 2nd phase.
The basic aim of the programme is to deliver governance effectively through IT enabled services, generate awareness regarding implementation of Government Schemes and ameliorate the socio-economic status of the rural masses.
44 digital villages to be set up