• Creates 177 posts of Panchayat Inspectors
• Revises delegation of powers for issuance of PACs, power sanctions
• Introduces mediation, conciliation procedures
Srinagar, Sep :
The State Administrative Council (SAC), which met here Wednesday under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved relief for West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs), strengthening of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), creation of posts of Panchayat inspectors, revision of delegation of powers for issuance of Power Availability Certificate (PAC) and power sanctions and introduction of mediation and conciliation procedures.
The SAC gave its nod to the adoption and notification of the scheme for WPRs, which includes mode of its execution and disbursement of financial assistance.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) in June, 2018 conveyed its approval to the proposal for providing one-time financial assistance amounting to Rs 5.50 lakh per family to 5764 families of West Pakistan Refugees settled in J&K State.
The expenditure incurred on this scheme would be borne by GoI.
The amount of Rs 5.50 lakh per family would be disbursed directly into their bank accounts based on the authentication by the State government.
The Divisional Commissioner Jammu has been designated as Nodal Officer for the smooth implementation of the scheme after proper verification of families of WPRs.
The scheme would be executed through Deputy Commissioners (DCs), who for this purpose shall be declared as ‘Designated Authority’ in the district.
There would be a Designated Committee comprising DC as chairman and Assistant Commissioner Revenue, SDM, Tehsildar concerned and any other member(s) to be co-opted by the committee.
The WPRs would be asked to produce requisite documents to establish their claim as West Pakistani Displaced Persons of 1947 or soon thereafter.
The SAC also gave approval to the draft ‘Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018’.
The bill is aimed at making Development Councils of Leh and Kargil highly empowered to exercise administrative and financial powers without any obstacles and to address the concerns, requirements and aspirations of the people living in the remote areas of the cold desert region of Ladakh.
The amendments in the existing provisions of the act gives more powers to the LAHDC to levy and collect local taxes and fee within the jurisdiction of the council on the analogy of local bodies and deposit the same in the council fund to be operated by the council.
The amendment gives more control to the council over the functioning of various departments in the districts and more administrative control over the staff.
Besides, all such properties like public buildings, public roads constructed out of the council fund would belong to the Council.
The State government would allocate to the council all funds of the districts under any budget head of the State, revenue or Capex and of such GoI-sponsored schemes which do not involve direct and designated flow of funds to the executing agencies or beneficiaries to be deposited into the council fund.
Moreover, allocations which remain unspent at the close of the financial year shall be carried forward as an additional resource available for the budget of the following year.
The amendments also provide for Panchayats to follow the directions of the council and the Chief Executive Councilor to be the Chairman of all Tourism Development Authorities.
The councils will also have a Deputy Chairman for better functioning. All government employees working in the area of the council, in subjects transferred to the council will be under the administrative control of the council including for disciplinary action.
With this amendment, LAHDC will be among the most autonomous councils in the country.
To provide impetus to the implementation of development schemes, programmes across the newly created 177 CD blocks in the State, the SAC also accorded sanction to the creation of 100 posts of Panchayat Inspector, G-I and 77 posts of Panchayat Inspectors, G-II.
The initiative would make these 177 CD blocks fully functional. Presently, in the newly created blocks, only Village Level Workers (VLWs), Multi-Purpose Workers (MPWs) and Gram Savikas are available for assistance of the Block Development Officer (BDO) and in the absence of adequate number of posts of Panchayat Inspectors, the hierarchical structure of the Rural Development Department (RDD) remained highly skewed.
With the creation of these 177 posts, all CD blocks in the State would have a Panchayat Inspector. This also increases the promotional avenues for lower staff.
As Panchayat elections in the State are going on and with the State government intending to empower Panchayats both financially as well as administratively, availability of Panchayat Inspectors, who are the custodians of the Panchayat properties and records, attains additional significance.
In addition to this a large number of State and GoI-sponsored schemes are being implemented in the blocks including MGNREGA, Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY) and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBM), which further necessitates strengthening of the Rural Development institutions in terms of adequate manpower.
To simplify and streamline the process involved in the sanction of power connections, SAC also approved revision and enhancement in the delegation of powers for issuance of Power Availability Certificate (PAC) and power sanctions at various level.
Accordingly, Assistant Executive Engineer (E) would have the power to sanction power load connections upto 25 KW under domestic and commercial category and 25 KVA and HP under Industrial category, Executive Engineer (E) upto 50 KW under domestic and commercial category and 50 KVA and HP under industrial category, Superintendent Engineer (E) upto 100 KW under domestic and commercial category and 100 KVA and HP under Industrial category.
Chief Engineer (E) would have the power to sanction power load connection for all loads under domestic category and upto 500 KW under commercial and upto 500 KVA and HP under industrial category.
The Designated Committee headed by Development Commissioner (P) would have the power to sanction power load connection upto 1000 KW under commercial category and 1000 KVA and HP under industrial category.
Also, all the cases with load above 1000 KW in commercial categories and 1000 HP in Industrial categories would be referred by the Designated Committee to the Government.
In cases of extension of loads, the above limits would apply for the total load that is sanctioned existing load and additional load.
The above delegation would also apply to consumers like State government, GoI departments and other State and GoI PSUs. However, no sanction would be processed for industrial loads without valid PAC.
There had been no upward revision in the delegation of powers to sanction loads even though the financial powers of the field officers have been revised by the government from time to time.
It had become imperative due to expansion in the consumption of power.
Also, there had been a persistent demand from the association of industries to enhance the delegation of powers for sanctioning of power load connections at various levels for easing the process.
The SAC also approved the draft ‘Jammu and Kashmir Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018’.
The bill seeks to provide for speedy disposal of the arbitration matters and for providing mediation and conciliation in pending arbitration matters before the court.
There is no provision in the Jammu Kashmir Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1997 for mediation or conciliation during pendency of petitions under section 9 or section 11 of the act or during the proceedings for setting aside of award or pendency of appeal.
New sections are being inserted to refer the pending matters to mediation or conciliation with the consent of both the parties and prescribing time-limits in arbitration proceedings.
This would be an alternate way of dispute resolution and will speed up the conciliation and arbitration proceedings.
Advisors to Governor Bharat Bushan Vyas, K Vijay Kumar and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to Governor Umang Narula were present at the meeting.