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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 1 New Delhi December 26, 2015

Democratic Decentralisation in J&K: Gender and Political Change

Saturday 26 December 2015

by Gull Wani and Effat Yasmin


The democratic renewal globally has created opportunities for more decentralisation of economic and political power. Panchayati Raj Institutions or democratic decentralisation is the development of the reciprocal relationship between the Central Government and local governments and between local governments and the citizens. Decentra-lisation has been helpful in the process of democratisation of polities and societies. In India, since 2005-06 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been operating what it calls the Panchayat and Accountability Incentive schemes, under which the constituent units of the Indian Union are assessed for their performance in empowering the Panchayati Raj Institutions and accountability of the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the discharge of their functions.

The introduction of local self-government in Jammu and Kashmir commenced with the promulgation of the Panchayat Regulations, No.1 of 1935 by Maharaja Hari Singh of the Jammu Kashmir state. In 1936 a special Depart-ment of Panchayat and Rural Development was established to administer the 1935 regulations. The main attribute of the Act of 1935 was the provision regarding the right of franchise by the people in the villages and the right to be elected as a Panch on the Panchayat.

In 1951 the Panchayat Raj Institutions were sought to be re-established by an Act defining their features, functions and allied objectives. The majority of its members were to be elected on the basis of adult franchise and by a show of hands. Encouraged by the concern shown by the Union Government to further institutiona-lise the Panchayats, the Jammu and Kashmir Government passed the J&K Panchayat Act 1958 to ‘’make better provisions for the administration of village Panchayats in the Jammu Kashmir State”. The Act provided for a two-tier Panchayat Raj—Halqa Panchayat at the village level and Block Boards at the block level. The Act also provided for the establishment of Panchayat Adalats (courts) to decentralise the administration of justice. The Act further laid stress on revenue resources through taxes without any commitment on the part of the government in this behalf.

The Jammu Kashmir Panchayat Act 1989 is the latest on the democratic laundry-list of the State. The Preamble to the Act states that “whereas it is expedient to promote and develop Panchayat Raj in the State as an instrument of the vigorous local self-government to secure effective participation of the people in the decision-making process and for overseeing implementation of developmental programmes.” The Act of 1989 is the harbinger of the second democratic upsurge in the Jammu and Kashmir State, the first being of course the radical land reforms.

The main lacuna of all the above Acts has been the lack of provisions for women’s participation in the Panchayati Raj Institutions. However, the State framed the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Rules-1996 based on its own 1989 Act to overcome the deficiencies so as to put it at par with the Central Act though the women’s dimension of democratic decentra-lisation finds better reflection in the progressive Naya Kashmir Manifesto prepared in 1944.

New Kashmir Manifesto 1944: Article-52 of the charter provides that in order to help women in the attainment of their just, equal and rightful place in the society and to enable them to make their full contribution to the task of nation-building, complete equality shall be ensured to them in all fields of life including political, economic and social. While ensuring equal rights to women in administration and political bodies, provision shall be made for their minimum representation of seats. Women shall be given equal pay for equal work done by them. Further, women shall be given all help and protection in discharging their duties. For this purpose the following measures shall in particular be under-taken:

i) Ante-natal and maternity facilities; ii) adequate arrangements for nursing during maternity period; iii) maternity leave to all working mothers; iv) nurseries and kinder-gartens shall be set up for the children of working women, leave to feed the sulking children after every four hours during the working period; v) the status of women shall be protected by law; economic and socio-economic causes of immoral traffic in women shall be identified for their complete eradication; vi) every woman shall have the right to consent for her marriage; dowry system shall be abolished through social awakening and direct legal provisions; vii) special provision shall be made for the cultural development of women in the villages and remote areas. (New Kashmir Manifesto 1944)1

The New Kashmir Manifesto is perhaps the first document of its kind in the subcontinent in which the issue of women’s empowerment has been addressed in such a forceful manner. Today it is common to talk of providing 33 per cent reservation to women at political/ adminis-trative levels. The New Kashmir Manifesto had already envisaged it and the State ensured it through reservation to women. The J&K Government has also provided 50 per cent seats in medicine (MBBS) course in favour of girl students and this move is the first of its kind in India. Keeping pace with contemporary times the J&K Government amended the Panchayati Raj Act of 1989 in the light of the 73rd Constitution Amendment Act-1992 of India to provide reservation to women. This became essential in order to bring the Kashmir Act at par with the Union law and also to silence detractors of State autonomy for Kashmir who were finding fault with the State Act. Elections were held in the years 2001 and 2011. But the seats were not reserved for women in the first amendment. In 2003, however, the Act was further amended and not less than one-third seats were reserved for women. In the next section we will discuss some of the important features of this amendment as an essential catalyst for women’s empowerment. The shortcomings in the amended Act also need to be underlined.

Political Evaluation of the 1989 Act

The Jammu and Kashmir State is one of the very few States to experiment with decentralisation in spite of the fact that it remained politically turbulent in the post-1947 period.2 Jammu and Kashmir got “The Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act” enacted as early as July 11, 1989 vide Act No. IX of 1989. The Preamble to the Act reads and defines the Act as “An act to provide for the constitution of Halqa Panchayats, Block Development Councils and the District Planning and Development Boards and matters connected therewith”. The Act is an affirmation of faith of the Jammu and Kashmir State to power-sharing at different levels. The State leadership had always to face tough questions on less power to the Panchayats and simultaneously more forceful demand for restoration of the special constitutional position of the State under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. There were questions related to power-sharing with and within regions and sub-regions of the State. There were doubts always about greater autonomy to Kashmir leading to political despotism. Hence the State leadership had always to prove its commitment to decentralisation of both economic and political power. This despite the fact that the State’s record of power-sharing remained fairly appreciable.

The J&K has been operating successfully the “single line administration’’ system. Through this instrumentality district is the unit of planning and development. This system helped the State in decentralisation of power and further augmenting of the bottom units of the political system. This innovation in development administration was brought in at a time (1977) when there was a wave of centralisation swee-ping the Indian polity. There was a unitarian thrust both in political and economic decision-making and J&K had bitterly tasted the erosion of its own autonomy granted under Article 370 of the Constitution of India. Be that as it may, the 73rd Constitutional Amendment in the Indian Constitution created the new template and the Act of 1989 of J&K had to undergo necessary change. As far as reservation and women’s participation in these institutions are concerned, the Act in amendment of Section 4, sub-section (3) of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 (therein referred to as ‘‘the principal Act’’) reads, among other provisos, the following: ‘‘Provided that the Panch seats shall be reserved for: (a) The Scheduled Castes; and (b) The Scheduled Tribes. As provided by section 4 subsection 3 of the Actnot less than one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat shall be reserved for women and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat by such authority and in such manner as may be prescribed.” The J&K State, as already stated, enjoys autonomy and many laws made by the Parliament of India do not apply directly to the State. However, the State can formulate laws modelled along the lines of the Central legislation. The 73rd Amendment dealing with Panchayati Raj is a case in point. The 1989 Panchayati Act in the State has not prevented it in accepting new changes and the Panchayat institution is undergoing change and transformation as per requirements of the new governance agenda. There is nothing inherently wrong with the J&K Act and it is only the issue of implementation which comes as an irritant. There are, however, weaknesses within the system in Jammu and Kashmir. The next section pinpoints some of these constraints.

Institutional Operation of Panchayati Raj in J&K: Major Irritants

The institution of panchayat in J&K suffers from both structural as well as operational weaknesses.

Structural Problems:

Structurally, the Panchayati Raj Act 1989, despite the recent amendments, remains flawed and does not serve the purpose of making the Panchayats as units of self-governance. The main flaws of the Act from a gender perspective are as under:

1. The Panchayats, as per the State Act, are not democratically structured at all the three levels. The principle of direct election of the Panchayat, for instance, is applied only at the village level, neither the Block level Panchayat nor the District level Panchayat is comprised of the directly elected represen-tatives of the people and hence women as margins are at the receiving end.

2. It is only the Chairman of the Block Development Council who can be elected but the process of election is not direct but indirect—the Electoral College comprises of the Panches and Sarpanches within that block. The election for the same is yet to take place in the State. Similarly there is no provision for direct election in the District Planning and Development Board. It is only the Vice-Chairperson of the Board who is elected, the Electoral College being comprised of the members of the Board itself.

3. Presence of the government officials at all three levels hampers the democratic structuring of the Panchayat. The Secretary, Panchayat at all the three levels is a government official: the Gram Sevak at the level of the Halqa Panchayat, the Block Development Officer at the Block Development Council level and the Deputy Commissioner at the level of District Planning and Development Board. Besides the Secretary, the Chairperson of the District Planning and Development Board is also a nominee of the government. As per the practice, the govern-ment generally nominates a senior Minister to be the chairperson of the Board. The meeting of the Board is attended by many senior Ministers, including the Chief Minister and senior bureaucrats. The presence of such high powered government officials and Ministers cannot in any case allow the Panchayat at this level to be a democratic body autonomous of governmental control and influence. (Staffin etal 2011)3 True, most Gram Sevaks are women but they are government servants and not elected representatives.

4. The structure of the District Planning and Development Board is more in line with the Single Line Administration system (where the district is the unit of administration) that was introduced in the State in the mid-seventies of the last century rather than in line with the Panchayati Raj Institutions. Under the scheme of the Panchayati Raj Institutions, the idea of decentralised planning remains incomplete without its democratic structuring and content.

5. The Halqa Majlis, which is the foundation of local self-governance, has not been recognised as an institution in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Act. A good thing about the Act is that it makes it mandatory for the Halqa Panchayats to ‘lay for sanction’ its plans and budget to a ‘meeting of voters’. (Rekha 2012)5 However, this ‘meeting of voters’ and its mode of functioning have not been clearly defined. Also the Act does not state whether the recommendations given by the Halqa Majlis are binding legally and cannot be tampered with.

6. Women’s reservation in the Act was limited to the level of Panches and was not extended to the level of Sarpanches. It was further specified only at the level of Village Panchayat and not at the other two levels.

7. The Gram Sabha (Village Assembly), which should have been the most powerful body demanding accountability from the Panches and Sarpanches, remains subordinate to the Panchayat. Gram Sabah is conducted once in a blue moon and that too by some Panchayats only. The meetings of the Village Assembly could have helped in cultivating the debating skills of women and creating role models.

Operational Problems:

1. At the operational level, the biggest issue remains the powerlessness of the Panchayat. There are pronouncements regarding devolution of powers and empowerment of the Panchayat, and yet, the Panchayats remain without power. Many women Panches, including a prominent Kashmir Pandit woman, Asha Rani, who got elected through the support of Muslim majority from the North Kashmir region of Barmulla, voiced the concern in the conference held at Kashmir University under the auspices of the Institute of Social Sciences in September 2013. However, this is an all-India problem as pointed out by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (GOI 2007). The Commission has noted the reluctance of State governments and the bureaucracy to let the PRIs become independent self-governing entities in accordance with the principle of subsidiary, which states that any activity that can be done at a lower level should not be delegated to a higher level. The ARC report blames the skewed concentration of political power at the higher levels for the prevailing sorry state of affairs.5

2. The absence of funding should not have been a problem in view of the provisions in 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992. The J&K Government can be asked to take a cue from the above stipulation. But there is a more intricate problem which needs to be hammered out. The fact is that State governments are starved of funds due to the imbalances in the Indian fiscal federal system tilted towards the Union Government. So State governments are reluctant to give away their meagre resources to the Panchayats. In Jammu and Kashmir, as in the case of other States, the only funding that is available to the Panchayats is tied with some Centrally sponsored schemes. Other than that, neither are the Panchayats provided basic funding by the State nor are these directhy empowered to raise their resources through taxation even though the power of taxation is detailed in the Act.

3. The mere devolution of funds by itself will not result in improvements in the functioning of the Halqa Panchayats. Equally important is the need to build the capacities of elected representatives to handle these funds, plan and implement programmes in Halqa Panchayats. In most States the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MOPR) has taken up the initiative to train the elected representatives and instituted reward schemes to promote devolution. The MOPR reports do indicate the significance of capacity-building of elected Panches. The first statement of panchayat report (2006-2007) thus notes: a big bang approach was recommended for overcoming the sluggishness in the devolution of functions, functionaries and funds (3Fs) to the PRIs. (Rahul 2013)6 The logic was that if substantial functions, functionaries and funds were devolved at one go with accompanying investment in capacity building and training of staff and elected representatives to handle the greatly increased responsibilities, then this big-bang would blow away much of the inertia and inexperience that were proving to be the major hurdle. The success of PRIs in Kerala where this approach was first followed was held up as an example.7

4. Overlapping of functions and powers between the administrative and field agencies under the control of the State Government and the Panchayats is also an issue to be sorted out. The PRIs in the State are not structured on the basis of federal principles. The principle of devolution of powers between the State and Panchayat is not reflected in the Act in any manner. The Act provides the powers of the three tiers of the Panchayat, but it does not in any case guarantee that there is no overlapping of functions and powers between the adminis-trative and field agencies under the control of the State Government and the Panchayats. The PRIs should be planning and implementing their own work at their level, but this comes into conflict with the centralised top-down administrative and planning process.

5. The issue of honorarium to Panches and Sar-panches is still not resolved. The government announcement made any number of times—that the Sarpanch will get an honorarium of Rs 2000 and Panch Rs 1000 per month respectively—has not been implemented till date. In the above mentioned Panchayat Conference, held at Kashmir University, we heard many women Panches voice their demand for it not as an employment package but as a cushion to face odds in an otherwise extraordinary political situation in Kashmir. This is also thought to be necessary to curb lower level corruption in development schemes executed at the Panchayat level where a nexus has emerged between Panches, contractors and lower functionaries of the Rural Development Departments. However, in our ancestral village of Panzath Qazigund in District Anantnag, we found women generally not involved in corruption practices regarding execution of development schemes. In an informal interaction with some women Panches we noticed how some of these innocent women consider bribe-taking as a sin against God.

Gendering the Panchayati Raj System in J&K

The matter of women’s representation in politics has dominated the Indian political discourse in recent years resulting in phenomenal democrati-sation of the polity and deepening of democracy. The women’s exclusion is attributed to the rigid social structure which has perpetuated discrimination against women. This is true in the case of women in Jammu and Kashmir as well. However, it needs to be reiterated that the J&K State, due to early land reforms as state policy and free education, marked itself as being more egalitarian compared to the other States in the Union of India. The pre-1947 political movement was progressive/secular and resultantly led to the enactment of the 1944 New Kashmir Manifesto which laid the foundations for an egalitarian social order. According to the Manifesto, all institutions of democracy—from Panchayat to the National Assembly—were to be constituted through the due process of election.

The gender dimension was brought into the local governance system and women were elected to the grassroots level democracy in J&K in 2011. It is too short a period to evaluate their performance, especially in the context of the huge violence the J&K State has gone through over the decades. However, from the field observations certain generalisations can safely be made. First, these elections assumed huge local and national importance and women’s participation added a critical dimension to it. Panchayat elections were held in a State which saw violence and the decline of both social and political institutions and consequent elimination of social capital. The women are still at the receiving end as many reports documented the impact of violence on women and their placement in the society. Second, the elections were held at a time when the political discourse was dominated by issues of devolution, autonomy and self-rule in the State as means of conflict resolution and conceding it at the lower level only disappointed many important stakeholders. Further, the elections were held in an atmosphere of fear as violence saw many political workers being killed in elections to the State Legislature in 1996, 2002 and 2008. Though the elections to the Panchayat were held on non-party basis, yet political parties cleverly fielded proxy candidates to control the Panchayati Raj Institutions. The fact that many Panchayat members were killed may partly be the reason that their political affiliations became noticeable. There is an additional reason for low women visibility in the Panchayat institutions and their diminishing role in policy-making and that is due to the entry of lumphen elements in the Panchayat institutions. Their entry is partly due to the non-involvement of educated and socially conscious people in the system. The major side-effect of this lumphenisation has resulted in the nexus of those lumpen elements with the government field officers, and contractors on the one hand and the emergence of a muscular political environment in the State on the other. This only discouraged women of ability and civility from contesting the elections. This has given rise to corruption at the bottom-level and the benefits of many government schemes have not reached the poor people. However, in spite of the above discussed stifled political environment, the women’s entry in the Panchayati Raj system in J&K is a sort of mini-revolution.

 Overview of Women’s Participation 

in J&K (2011)

Out of 4128 Sarpanches posts in the 22 districts of the State, only 29 women managed to win the elections with a dismal success rate of less than one per cent (0.70 per cent). According to the data compiled by the Chief Electoral Officer of the State, there is no woman Sarpanch in 10 of the 22 districts as male candidates have won the elections for all the posts in these districts. Although there is no scientific evidence, the data also corroborates to some extent the preference for males over females in the Kashmir Valley as shown in the Census 2011. Out of the 10 districts in the Valley, eight districts do not have a single woman Sarpanch. Baramulla in north Kashmir and Anantnag and Shopian in south Kashmir have been the saving-grace but the three districts have elected just four women as Sarpanches out of 453 posts. Surprisingly, Leh district, of the State, where women are considered to be far more assertive than their counterparts in other districts, has also failed to elect woman Sarpanches. The only district in the Jammu division not to elect any woman as Sarpanch is Kishtwar. The remaining nine districts of the Jammu region have representation of women as Sarpanches but again the percentage of winners is negligible.

Women’s participation in the Panchayat elections started shaking up the political culture of the State. Panches and Sarpanches joined the fray and we found rural Kashmir undergoing a sort of renaissance. Women-related issues were agitated at the bottom level. The number of women Panches and Sarpanches gives an idea about the evolving women-friendly and emancipating Panchayat politics in the State and its defined future. It is as yet premature to assess the extent to which power has been bestowed upon women through the PRIs, as not much power has been devolved to the Panchayats and only 0.70 per cent women Sarpanches getting elected is an indicator of the nature of politics at the grossroot level. The empirical evidence also suggests that elected Panches do not have sufficient education and understanding of working and functions of grassroot level institutions. However, one cannot underestimate the impact of women’s participation in the PRIs on politics, governance and delivery mechanisms. (Effat and Javaid 2012)8 Many elected women do have an understanding of the issues related to women and general society and expectedly can play an important role in providing a gender perspective of grossroots planning and empowering initiatives for womenfolk.

In our village interviews it was noticed that the social status of women Panch members has been enhanced. The birth certificate of any child born in the village is to be attested by a Panch member; this gives women Panch members and women in general a sense of prestige. An entirely illiterate woman, Dilshada, from our village has been regularly meeting officers at the Block Development Office of Qazigund (block head-quarter), this is proving beneficial for her to gain knowledge about different government schemes meant for the rural poor. The women Panches also getting involved in resolution of minor village and ward disputes is an indicator of the influence of women as well. The general society and more importantly civil society actors need to help in building up capacities of elected women Panches. It is encouraging that a majority of women Panches are young; this may help in creating women leaders in the foreseeable future at the lower level of the social structure. There is evidence that many women happen to be the proxies of their husbands as in other parts of the country and contested elections and got elected without having much knowledge about the type of job and the role they have to perform. Some of the women have never had access to even primary education. But all this is not unique to the Jammu and Kashmir State. In many other States in India, where Panchayats have established their position as vibrant democratic bodies, women’s role remains a matter of debate for all the above reasons.

Further, formal education is no indicator of being most eligible for jobs which are purely meant for rural development. This was immed-iately understood by government and civil society actors and consequently training and orientation workshops were conducted to train women in Panchayat-related politics. Hopefully, with the passage of time women in our State, who constitute a creative force, will rise to the occasion and stake their claim to the legitimate exercise of power at the ground level. The national debate on women’s empowerment and reservation to the women in Parliament and State legislatures will also shape the discourse in our State. Women will learn through periodic elections the value of their vote and voice leading to democratisation of the polity and society.

Future Road-map

The three-tier Panchayat system in the State is not only a constitutional binding but a democratic necessity as well. Hence there is a need for the three-tier system in the State and the following steps must be taken in right earnest:

1. Workable linkages should be established between the village, block and district level governing bodies to allow smooth transfer of funds and coordination of functions. The idea of decentralised planning through democratic, rather than the administrative, structures is the need of the hour and an assertive civil society must play its due role.

2. The clause ‘not-less-than-one-third-seats’ should be honoured in future elections and elections to all the three-tier Panchayats must be held regularly.

3. The political parties in our State as political agencies should provide the necessary space to women in their party apparatuses that may in turn open the political space for women. Already many women like Mehbooba Mufti, President of the Peoples Democratic Party, and Sakina Yatoo, a Minister in the present dispensation, have emerged on the political landscape of the State and this should lead to genuine women’s political mobilisation.

4. Women’s economic empowerment should be taken up simultaneously so that one feeds into other to empower them finally. The market-oriented economy has a certain gender bias.

5. Women’s participation in Panchayats has also the potential to turn them into active peace activists so that they establish themselves as social connectors of a bruised society. The victory of Asha Rani (a Kashmiri Pandit woman) in a predominantly Muslim ward is indicative of how women can be very good connectors between communities. This we were able to ascertain in a sort interview with Asha Rani at the Kashmir University conference. 

6. Both men and women should be trained about the importance of social equilibrium in the society.

7. Educated and socially conscious women need to join the Panchayati Raj movement so that the power-sharing arrangement becomes meaningful.

8. The 33 per cent reservation of women must be extended to the level of Sarpanches.

9. In the absence of Gram Sabhas, local mosque and Awqaf committees need to be mobilised to make the system accountable at the village level. Traditional social institutions in rural India have a lot of potential to act as catalysts of change and transformation.

10. The New Kashmir Manifesto of 1944, a women-friendly document, should be made part of the school curriculum so that women’s politics is further reinvigorated. The role of iconic Kashmiri women figures who played a leading role in political movements in the pre-1947 days should be highlighted in school text-books. Here reference can be made of Begum Akbar Jehan, the wife of the legendary Sheikh Abdullah, and Miss Mehmooda, a great educationist, who have left a rich legacy behind them.

11. The decision-making bodies must be made women-friendly and a space be created for women so that their feeble voices get public attention.

12. The woman should not be just tolerated because of reservation but accepted as an entity, stakeholder and equal participant in decision-making.

13. Training courses/workshops for women should be organised on a regular basis in the local language at the block level in order to empower them to address development and gender-related issues. In this context the Women’s Studies Centre, long established at Kashmir University, needs to be made fully functional. The Institute of Management and Public Administration in Srinagar can also be brought into action.

14. Gender budgeting for local bodies must figure as the topmost priority of the Central and State governments.

15. A model Panchayat women-headed ward with a special package for development from various funding agencies may be established so as to boost the morale of the elected women members.

By way of conclusion one can say the there has to be greater pressure from different quarters to involve women in local governance in letter and spirit and not just for the sake of participation. This, to our knowledge, has worked well in the case of Kerala and West Bengal. In Jammu and Kashmir there is need for dialogue between the regional and national political parties on issues related to powers and extension of the 73rd Amendment to the State. There is a clear clash of political interests between the State Government and Union Government and basic to this clash is the larger question of greater autonomy to the State which has remained an unresolved issue. The reluctance of the Union Government to settle the issue of autonomy has impacted the attitude of the general political class to devolve power to the lower levels. Power-sharing becomes easy if and when powers are devolved at all levels. This has not happened in our State. However, women’s entry in lower level institutions is definitely going to open new spaces which will further expand the peace constituency in the State and help in fighting varied forms of conservatism in the society.


1. New Kashmir Manifesto of National Conference 1944.

2. Government of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 And Panchayati Raj Rules, 1996 (Amended up to April, 2011), Rural Development Department, Jammu and Kashmir.

3. Staffin, L., Vankatesh, B.A., Vidyasagar, R., Goran, D., Rajagopal, A. (2011), “A Silent Revolution of Women Empowerment in Rural Tamil Nadu”, EPW, Vol. XLVI, No. 13, March 26.

4. Chowdary, Rekha (2012) “Panchayat Raj Institutions in J&K: Critical Analysis and Positive Suggestions”, Kashmir Times, October 17.

5. GOI (2007): ‘Local governance—An inspiring journey into the Future’, Second Administrative Reforms Commission Report: Sixth Report, Government of India, Delhi.

6. Rahul, B. (2013), “What Ails Panchayati Raj?”, EPW, Vol. XLVIII, No. 30, July 27, pp- 173-76.

7. The States of West Bengal and Karnataka were also credited with early experimentation of Panchayats.

8. Effat, Y., Javaid, I.K. (2012), ”Women Empowerment Through Panchayat Raj Institution: A Case Study of District Kupwara of J&K State”, The Business Review, Vol. 16, No. 1 & 2, pp. 99-109.

Prof Gull Wani is the Director of the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institute of Kashmir Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar. Dr Effat Yasmin is the Head, Department of Economics, University of Kashmir. Prof Gull Wani can be contacted by e-mail

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