Other States

DDC chairpersons protest against govt. fixed honorarium, protocol

District Development Council (DDC) chairpersons were up in arms on Tuesday against the government approved salary slab and the protocol order of precedence.

The administration, in an amended warrant of precedence on Monday, placed the DDC chairpersons equal to administrative secretaries at serial No. 26. The deputy chairpersons have been placed at number 27, with protocol equivalent to vice-chancellors of universities within the Union Territory (UT). The DDC members have been granted protocol equivalent to the block development council chairpersons or presidents of municipal councils and they figure at serial number 28.

“The government earlier was for granting the Minister of State (MoS) or MLA status to DDC chairpersons in J&K. Now, it seems our status has been downgraded at the behest of people in bureaucracy,” Habibullah Rather, a DDC member from Kulgam, said.

Scores of DDC members assembled in Jammu and sought the intervention of the Lieutenant Governor (L-G). The DDC members from all the political parties, including the BJP, participated in the protest held outside the Jammu Convention Centre.a

Many members threatened to resign if the demands were not fulfilled. “We have been elected by an entire district and represent a constituency. The honorarium approved for us is an insult,” said a DDC chairperson.

Sajad Lone, head of the Peoples Conference (PC), termed the DDC protocols a “disappointment and humiliation”. “The problem is the new stakeholder created by the Union government post August 5, which is the bureaucrats, ever powerful. He or she will never facilitate democracy and will see anybody elected by people as a threat,” Mr. Lone said.

Safeena Baigh, a chairperson from Baramulla, said there was a need to empower the DDC as an institution.

“The democratic system will only get strengthened if these institution are strengthened. The development agenda will be implemented through these public representatives and the need is to empower them administratively. Otherwise, it will be a failure of the people’s mandate,” Ms. Baigh said.

J&K saw the first ever DDC polls in December last year and was underlined as one of the major achievements by the Centre after the special constitutional status of J&K ended on August 5, 2019.


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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 7:41:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ddc-chairpersons-protest-against-govt-fixed-honorarium-protocol/article34031797.ece

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