The delegation, led by Shafiq Mir, President of the All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference, conveyed its appreciation to the Prime Minister for empowering the institutions of local self-governance through the successful and peaceful conduct of panchayat elections in the state, an official release said.
"He assured the delegation that he and his government are committed to the empowerment of the people, and will stand shoulder to shoulder with the local government representatives for the welfare of the state, to fulfil the aspirations. He urged the members of the delegation to prioritize people's interests, as the people have reposed enormous faith and hope in them," it said.
"The Prime Minister congratulated the local representatives for the courage displayed by them in the face of heavy odds; and for successfully participating in the democratic process, despite threats and intimidation," it added.
He also appreciated the participation of women in the recent Panchayat elections.
The Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Act was passed in 1989, but only three of the allotted 25 functions under the Act were actually provided budgetary support. The government has now amended the Act and transferred Rs 2,000 crore per annum to the panchayats.
The panchayats will directly monitor activities pertaining to 19 departments/subjects and carry out audits of government schemes and projects.
The sarpanches will be provided a monthly honorarium of Rs 2,500, while each panch will get Rs 1,000 per month.
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