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J&K: In absence of legislators, Centre to form directly elected district-level councils

J&K: In absence of legislators, Centre to form directly elected district-level councils
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New Delhi: In the absence of legislative assembly representatives, the Centre has amended the Panchayati Raj Act in Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen local bodies under which a new power structure will be created in every district which will be directly elected by the voters to carry out various development works.

The District Development Council (DDC) will have 14 territorial constituencies, each of which will have a directly elected member. Some of the seats will be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women.

The order of Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla for amendment of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 was issued over a year after the Centre's decision to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate it into two Union Territories.

After the August 5, 2019 development, Ladakh became a union territory. Jammu and Kashmir too was reduced from a state to a union territory but with a legislature.

The Centre also announced the delimitation process to be carried out in the newly carved out union territory for reworking the constituencies. The delimitation commission, set up in March, is headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Desai.

The latest decision, according to the officials, has been taken to ensure that development is carried out in every area with more participation of the people -- what was earlier done by the elected representatives of the assembly.

This can be helpful till the delimitation commission submits its report and the Election Commission conducts polls in the newly carved out union territory of Jammu and

Kashmir.

As per the fresh executive order for Jammu and Kashmir, which has been under direct rule of the Centre since November 2018, every DDC shall consist of the directly elected members from territorial constituencies in the district, chairpersons of all Block Development Councils of the district. Once assembly elections are held, members of the Legislative Assembly whose constituencies lie within the district will also be DDC members.

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