Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act amended; District Development Councils to be set up in each district

Srinagar: The government on Saturday amended the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act to provide for setting up of District Development Councils in each district which will have directly elected members, marking the implementation of the entire 73rd Amendment Act in the union territory, an official spokesman said here.

The District Development Councils (DDCs) of each district shall have 14 constituencies after their delimitation by the respective deputy commissioners, the spokesman said.

"The government today amended J&K Panchayati Raj Rules, 1996, to provide for establishment of elected District Development Councils in Jammu and Kashmir. The move to have elected third tier of Panchayati Raj institution marks the implementation of the entire 73rd Amendment Act in J&K," the spokesman said.

He said the District Development Councils will comprise members directly elected from 14 territorial constituencies of the district as well as the members of the Legislative Assembly and the chairperson of all Block Development Councils of the district.

Seats for SCs, STs and women have also been reserved which will be filled by direct election to the District Development Councils, the spokesman said.

The Additional District Development Commissioner shall be the chief executive officer of the DDC, he added.

Meanwhile, a statutory order issued by the UT government said the Deputy Commissioner of a district shall divide the DDC area into 14 single member territorial constituencies provided that the ratio between population of the territorial area of a constituency and the number of seats in the DDC shall, so far as practicable, be the same throughout.

"While delimiting the constituencies of the District Development Council, Halqa Panchayat shall be a unit. The constituencies shall be delimited from the map of the District Development Council area starting from North towards East and ending towards South to West and every constituency shall be assigned a serial number and a name.

"The name of the constituency may be assigned on the name of a block having the largest population in that constituency. Thereafter, the constituencies shall be arranged alphabetically on the name of such constituencies," the order said.

The statutory order said while delimiting the constituencies, the Deputy Commissioner shall determine the number of constituencies to be reserved for SCs, STs and women in every constituency of DDC in accordance with the provisions of the act and distribute seats reserved for SCs, STs as far as practicable in those areas in a DDC where the proportion of their population to the population in total is comparatively large.

The order further read that the Deputy Commissioner shall also cause to publish a proposal for delimitation of constituencies by dividing a DDC area into single member constituencies and also indicate the territorial limit of each such constituency and shall keep the proposal open for inspection in the office of Halqa Panchayat, BDC and DDC and by affixing a copy of such proposal at two conspicuous places for inviting public objections.

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