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Change in structure delays panchayat polls in Arunachal Pradesh

A change in structure from the three-tier Panchayati Raj system to a two-tier one has delayed the panchayat elections in Arunachal Pradesh.

The five-year term of the last elected panchayat in the frontier State expired on April 13.

Arunachal Pradesh’s chief election commissioner Hage Kojeen said on Friday that the State Election Commission (SEC) was awaiting the approval of the Pema Khandu government to the draft panchayat notification sent in February. The SEC needs the go-ahead for financial and manpower support to conduct the rural polls.

The State Election Commission had proposed May 14 as the date for holding the panchayat polls. But on April 13, the State government said it would not be proper to conduct the polls since the Assembly had passed the Arunachal Pradesh panchayat Raj Amendment Bill, 2018 in March to change the structure of the grassroots governance.

Three-tier system goes

The change in structure meant doing away with the Anchal Samiti, the intermediate level of the three-tier Panchayati Raj system, to set up a two-tier system, involving Gram Panchayats and Zilla Parishads.

The government referred to sub-clause 2 of Article 243 B of the Constitution and its 73rd Amendment that allows a State with a population of less than 2 million not to have the intermediate level. The population of Arunachal Pradesh is 1.38 million.

Defending the structural switch, panchayat Minister Alo Libang said, “₹5 crore is spent annually on honorarium for 1,779 Anchal Samiti members. This money will now be available for development work,” he said.

Mr. Kojeen said the SEC was not consulted before the Bill was passed. “The government should now come out with a date for the panchayat polls,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2022 5:59:15 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/change-in-structure-delays-panchayat-polls-in-arunachal-pradesh/article23629501.ece