Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said that after the abrogation of Article 370, the panchayats of Jammu and Kashmir have been given autonomy which has uplifted the morale of grass root level leaders.
Singh's remarks came during his interaction with Sarpanches of Gandoh tehsil of Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Asserting that the Centre is committed to the development of people of the newly created union territory, he said, "After the abrogation of Article 370, the panchayats have been given autonomy and thus been empowered. It has uplifted the morale of grass root level leaders in the state. Now the grant issued by Centre will directly go the Panchayats, which in turn will lead to their development.
He said that the Sarpanches are the leaders elected from the far-flung areas of Jammu and Kashmir and their opinion about the decision matters a lot for the development of the areas in the region.
Singh said that some people with "vested interests" have tried to spread misinformation about Article 370 but the Sarpanches are helpful for the government to understand the ground situation.
The Sarpanches told Singh that they stand with the decision of the central government.
Speaking to ANI, a sarpanch named Javed Iqbal Jarkar voiced hope that the central government will focus more on the development of Jammu and Kashmir.
Asserting that people of Jammu and Kashmir were happy with the Centre's decision, he said, "Now panchayat members will get funds directly from the government. They have more powers now and can decide on how and what to do for the development of their areas."
Munir Ahmed Sheikh, sarpanch in Doda, said, "People were earlier very confused after the abrogation of Article 370. Later it became clear from the debates and the Prime Minister's August 15 address that the decision was hard but in the favour of the nation and the people."
He also said that the decision to scrap Article 370 has given autonomy to panchayats.
"They conveyed that now they feel more empowered with autonomy and financial powers. They said direct financial powers will empower them to make the decision for the benefit of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. They said that it will help in the areas of health and education sector, among others," an official statement claimed.
Singh said that the central government was holding discussions with different groups belonging to Jammu and Kashmir on a regular basis.
A few days back, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had an interaction with Sarpanches to understand the ground situation.
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