Youth clubs in Doda skirt guidelines, ‘arbitrarily’ constituted

Kashmir Times. Dated: 8/26/2021 12:07:20 AM


DODA, Aug 25: The recent government order to start youth clubs in Doda district had imbued some hope among the youth. But after the District Administration Doda created 274 such bodies across the district, many are aghast at the way the prescribed procedures and guidelines have not been flouted.
“We received orders verbally from Block Development Officer about the formation of 10-membered youth club in Gadi-A Panchayat but not a single woman has been included,” Sarpanch, Gulair Singh of Gadi-A Panchayat in Bhagwah tehsil of district Doda, said while talking to Kashmir Times.

He said that they forwarded the list of members to the panchayat. Since there was no prior awareness campaign or consultation with stakeholders about the process, and since the orders at the panchayat level were given verbally, we were not aware that inclusion of women was mandatory in every such club.

According to the order number: DDC/P&S/2021-22/2986-92 of District Development Commissioner (DDC) Doda on Dated: 14-07-2021 to ADC Bhaderwah, ACR Doda and SDMs of Assar, Thathri and Gundoh, point number 4 for Composition clearly states, "The group must be preferably have a composition in the ratio of 3:2 of male and female members respectively. However, it would be mandatory to have at least one female member in the group."

Husband of Sarpanch of Panchayat Tantna, Mohinder Singh, said that few weeks ago, he received a call from BDO at about 8 PM and the officer directed him to provide a list of seven members for the club by the next morning. "Immediately I called up PRI/Council members of the Panchayat to provide the names for the formation of Youth club. They provided the names and we made a list of 10 persons including two women for the club and forwarded the same to the official," he added.

Former student leader, Pankaj Sharma of the same Panchayat alleged that the Gram Rozgar Sewak (GRS) himself prepared a list without consulting from the Panchayati Raj Institution (PRIs) and without holding any Gram Sabha. "How can GRS take arbitrary decisions without consulting Gram Sabha?" he questioned.

He further alleged that the list in his panchayat also smacks of religious bias. “There are three members from majority religion but seven from the minority,” he explains. He also questioned the credibility of BDO Gundna who has forwarded the list without verifying from Sarpanch, BDC and DDC.

Pankaj alleged that proper guidelines were not followed while forming the clubs. “It is either a mistake by officials or done with an intention to pick up favourites,” he alleged.

He added that he fulfills the criteria for being a member of Youth Club as he has done Masters in English Literature and B.Ed. He added that while many highly qualified unemployed youth were ignored, the lesser qualified figure in the list.

He has filed a complaint at Deputy Commissioner (DC) Doda grievance cell.

National Conference (NC) leader from Gundoh, Ghulam Rasool said that all these youth clubs are part of the Mission Youth policy. The guidelines says that you can add 5 to 50 members in the Club but the PRIs make lists arbitrarily. People were not aware of how this had been done.

He demanded that since the procedure followed did not include the consent of Gram Sabha, the administration should reconstitute these clubs.

"We deputed SDMs for this purpose. For exact numbers, we formed 234 youth clubs in 234 panchayats and we have 34 wards of municipality. We formed a total of 274 Youth Clubs across the district," said, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Doda, Ravi Kumar Bharti.

While responding to the question about the role of Youth Clubs, ADC Doda said that they just formed the youth clubs as per government order. “When the new orders/guidelines come for it, accordingly the responsibilities/tasks of members will become clearer,” he said.

And for choosing members for the Clubs, they had followed the guidelines given by the government, the official added.



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