NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved adoption of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Act and said the process for local body polls in the union territory will start soon.
Speaking to media after a cabinet meeting, union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said the move will help establish all the three tiers of grassroots level democracy like in other parts of the country for the first time since Independence.
The minister said while people across India had the right to elect local representatives, the same was missing in Jammu and Kashmir. Javadekar said the move will empower people in the UT and “they will elect their own representatives. And those representatives will plan the development of the district and implement the various welfare measures and programs”.
“The three-tier system was not there in Kashmir before. They did not have the opportunity to elect their local representatives. This step redeems the promise made by PM Modi in Kashmir, and Home Minister in Parliament,” Javadekar said.
“Now, there will be early elections, and the power to manage local bodies will go to the people,” the union minister said adding that J&K administration is working on the adaptation of other laws following abrogation of Article 370 and division of J&K state into two union territories by giving Ladakh a separate UT status.
There is a lot of homework to be done, but the principle has been established, the I&B and environment minister said.