Five years on, ex-panchayat members await pending honorarium

Govt has the money, seeks ‘authorisation’ to disburse | Centre to direct State Govt to release amount

The ex-panchayat members, who completed their term in June 2016, are yet to receive their unpaid honorarium for July 2011-March 2013, which adds up to Rs 79 crores. The irony of it all - The State Government has the money, but seeks an official notice to disburse.

As per sources, the Union Government is considering to direct the J&K Government to release the pending honorarium, in a bid to boost participation in the upcoming Panchayat elections. As of now, it has been offered to release Rs 595 Lakhs to the ex-panchayat members.

In the state, the Panchs are entitled to get Rs 1000, while the Sarpanchs get Rs 2000 as a monthly honorarium.

Number of Sarpanch * Honorarium * Unpaid months of service

 

4130 * Rs 2000 * 21

 

Rs 173,460,000

 

Number of Panch * Honorarium * Unpaid months of service

 

29719 * Rs 1000 * 21

 

Rs 624,099,000

Total unpaid amount

 

Rs 797,559,000


"The ex-Panchs and Sarpanchs of the state are demanding their rightful honorarium for their 21 months of service. Some of the funds, nearly Rs 6 crores, are available with the Directorate of Rural Development, which it is willing to reimburse. Rest of the amount is to be given by the Finance Department, but the only glitch is, some authorization to release the amount," says Bashir Malik, General Secretary, JK Awami Raj Movement.

Panchayat members in a meeting held on 29th August, 2018.

Directorate of Rural Development has notified that out of the total unpaid amount, it has Rs 6 crores, meant for reimbursement to ex-panchayat members. Before it lapses like in the past, the department is willing to disperse the amount and has written to State Finance Department for the same. 

The Panchayat elections for 4130 Sarpanch and 29719 Panch constituencies were last held in 2011. But the government failed to provide them with their honorarium for first two years of service that is from July 2011 to March 2013. However, an ordinance was passed during Omar Abdullah's regime in April 2013, which paved way for panchayat members to receive their honorarium for further years of service. The panchayats are lying defunct since July 2016, because re-elections could not be held.

JK Awami Raj Movement has, time and again, taken up the matter with Political biggies, and got nothing but assurance. The government should clear its backlog and fulfill the genuine demand of ex-panchayat members.

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Author

Harry Walia