Central government gears up for upcoming panchayat polls in J&K, assures ‘smooth’ conduct

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Ahead of upcoming municipal and panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said that the Central Government is all geared up for the upcoming polls and will provide all possible support to the state to ensure smooth conduct of the same.

Ministry of Home Affairs statement reads, “Central Government is providing all possible support to the State Government for smooth conduct of these elections, including the deployment of Central forces in sufficient numbers.”

“These local body elections will have a historical significance in many aspects as it will re-establish the long overdue grassroots level democracy in Jammu and Kashmir,” MHA statement said.

Statement further said that the financial powers of the panchayats will also be enhanced 10 times from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Similarly, the financial powers of block councils are being enhanced from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh.

Centre has also approved a Rs. 5.5 lakh financial assistance to more than 5,700 West Pakistan refugees settled in the area.

Statement added that on an average, every panchayat will now get around Rs. 50-80 Lakhs per year at its disposal for implementation of schemes such as National Health Mission, Samagraha Siksha, Mission for development of Horticulture, ATMA, PMKSY etc.

These polls will also pave the way for making available nearly Rs. 4,335 Crores of 14th Finance Commission Central grants to the duly constituted local bodies.