The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday initiated the process of holding elections for the newly floated administrative bodies – District Development Councils – by constituting apex and divisional level committees in the Union Territory.
In an order, the government said that the committees will draw up a detailed schedule for the council elections and submit its report on October 27.
On Saturday, the Centre amended the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, for the formation of the District Development Councils. Each district in the Union Territory will be divided into 14 territorial constituencies and the members of the council will be directly elected by voters. The representatives will, in turn, elect a chairperson and a vice-chairperson from amongst themselves. The councils will replace District Development Boards, which when Jammu and Kashmir was a state, were chaired by a Cabinet minister or a minister of state and included MLAs, MLCs and MPs.
According to Tuesday’s order, the apex level committee will be headed by the principal secretary of home department. The director general of police, additional director general of police and divisional commissioners of the Union Territory will be among the members.
Two divisional level committees have also been set up, which will be headed by the divisional commissioners of Jammu and Srinagar.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under central rule since June 2018. The special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 was revoked in August 2019 by the Parliament and it was bifurcated into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, enables the home ministry to amend the laws in the Union Territory by issuing an order.