Panchayati Raj: A good beginning

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It is widely accepted that panchayati raj is shaping up much better in Leh as compared to other districts of J&K. The first real panchayat elections in the state were held only in May 2001. Even then, modalities of decentralisation of power to elected village representatives were not issued. After coming to power in 2002, the new government under the People's Democratic Party and the Congress has got serious about panchayats. In June 2003, it issued orders transferring 15 subjects related to developmental activities to the panchayats. On a recent visit to Leh, the chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed promised to transfer funds and functionaries to the panchayats within one year. But local self-governance in Leh has some peculiarities.

The sarpanch and the headman
Buddhist or Muslim, Ladakhi society is essentially tribal. The goba