Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday said the state suffered a loss of at least Rs 1200 crore as central assistance during the 12th Finance Commission due to non-existence of panchayats.
"The state suffered a loss of about Rs 1200 to Rs 1500 crores due to non-existence of panchayat system during the 12th Finance Commission period," Omar said while addressing newly-elected panchs and sarpanchs of Bandipora area in north Kashmir.
The Chief Minister said with the conduct of panchayat elections, the state government can expect central assistance of around Rs 2000 crore under various schemes for rural development during the 13th Finance Commission period.
"Now, we are expecting Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore annual grant from the central government under the 13th Finance Commission Award which shall be spent by the panchayats throughout the state," he said.
The Chief Minister said the completion of peaceful, free and fair elections is an historic achievement of the government.
"Holding of panchayat elections in the State after a long period of 33 years was a key decision to be taken. We took the decision with strong determination to implement it firmly and sincerely. Thank God we succeeded in our efforts and completed the process smoothly," he said.
Omar said completion of panchayat elections at Halqa level in the State will be followed by election of block and district committees.