Panchayat chiefs likely to get five-year term soon

Panchayat chiefs likely to get five-year term soon

Panchayat chiefs likely to  get five-year term soon

The State Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod for incorporating several changes in the panchayat raj legislation, including a five-year tenure to panchayat presidents.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said amendments would be brought to the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act by incorporating the recommendations made by a committee headed by former speaker K R Ramesh Kumar. The bill will be tabled in the winter session of the legislature commencing on November 16, the minister said.

As many as 110 amendments will be incorporated. The legislation will be renamed Gram Swaraj Panchayat Raj Act, 2015.

The present 20-month tenure of gram/taluk/zilla panchayat presidents will be extended to five years. Apart from gram sabhas and ward sabhas, habitat sabhas will have to be held in isolated habitations at least once in six months.

However, Kumar’s recommendation that direct elections be held for the posts of panchayat presidents has not been accepted. All zilla panchayat presidents will be given minister-of-state rank. Holding panchayat adalats and making it mandatory for calling tenders for works above Rs 20 lakh are some of the changes which that will be effected.

The Cabinet gave its approval to provide the State’s share of funds for the Centre’s Smart Cities project. Six cities from the State - Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Belagavi, Hubballi-Dharwad, Tumakuru and Davangere - are among the 100 cities selected.

Under the five-year project, each Smart City will be given a Rs 500-crore grant from the Centre, besides Rs 500 crore from the State government. 

The Smart Cities will have well-maintained roads, smart traffic lights, advanced CCTV cameras installed at various points, quality water and sewerage system and e-governance systems for major public services. The Cabinet gave its approval for the government holiday list for 2016. Besides Sundays and second Saturdays, there will be 22 government holidays in 2016, Jayachandra said.

The minister said his suggestion to the Cabinet that Gowri festival be declared a holiday.

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