LAHORE: The Punjab government is mulling over reducing the tenure of elected local government representatives to three years to facilitate smooth implementation of the new local bodies system in the province at the earliest.
The current tenure of the local government representatives is four years.
Considering the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s experience in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sources say the Punjab government is considering in the new legislation that there should not be a gap between change of hands.
The government also plans to carry out fresh delimitation for elections to the new village and neighbourhood councils. “Delimitation is already mandatory following the recent national census,” a source in the local government said.
Sources say the law minister has scheduled a joint meeting of the law and local government departments early next week to identify issues and finalise a draft law.
The government also plans to use some funds from the Rs148 billion surplus budget for the effective functioning of local bodies institutions after elections. Some 30 per cent of the development budget allocated to the local government department would be transferred directly to the village and neighbourhood councils.
Around 60pc would go to districts.
In the existing system, an official said, each union council in urban and rural areas is receiving around Rs4 million and Rs2 million annually that is mostly used to pay salaries and utility bills. In the new system, the official added, each council would receive up to Rs10 million a year to execute development works.
Sources say other features of the new local government system include dividing the existing 4,016 union councils into around 7,000 village and neighbuorhood councils. Six councillors – three on general seats and one each on youth, women and labour seats – will be elected directly by the people. The candidate securing maximum votes from among three general councillors will automatically become chairman of the village council, who will also be ex-officio member of the district council.
At metropolitan, corporation and municipality levels, lord mayor, mayor and chairmen would contest elections on party basis and get elected directly.
Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018