Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said that the abrogation of Article 370 would accelerate the process of development in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The Vice President also said that any talks with Pakistan now would be held only on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). "Abrogation of Article 370 paved the way for the extension of various schemes and legislations, including 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments to strengthen the funds and functions of local bodies," he said.
The Vice President was with a delegation of Village heads from Jammu and Kashmir and he told them that Article 370 was only a temporary and transitory provision in the Constitution. The Vice President also said that with the abrogation of Article 370, the Panchayats would now become more dynamic as the 3Fs - Funds, Functions, and Functionaries would be devolved to them. He also said that the financial power of Panchayats has also been increased by 10 times enhancing their financial powers up to Rs 1 lakh.
He pointed out that the Panchayats were vested with powers to raise their own resources by increasing taxes. "The Panchayats are also now empowered to conduct an audit of schemes like ICDS and PMAY to improve the quality of delivery," he said.
The Vice President said that by observing greater devolution of funds, functions, and functionaries would enable the 3-tier administrative system to function more effectively. He also said that Jammu and Kashmir were losing around Rs 4,000 crores for not conducting Panchayat elections as per the norms set by the 14th Finance Commission. "Now that elections have been conducted, the funds recommended by the Finance Commission will start flowing. I am happy to know that Rs 500 crore has already been released and another Rs 3,000 crore will be released shortly. This will be a big game-changer for the Panchayat system," he said.
The Vice President also suggested that holding elections to local bodies every five years should be made mandatory. He also asserted that effective local governance was the key for better development and welfare initiatives and for better service delivery and that the funds allocated to the local bodies should go into the accounts of Panchayats, municipalities, and corporations and spent in accordance with the resolutions of the respective bodies.
(Inputs from ANI)