ARMED WITH the Supreme Court order upholding the Haryana government’s decision to fix minimum educational criteria for elections to panchayati raj institutions, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday announced that similar norms will apply for municipal body polls as well.
Interacting with the media here after the SC verdict, Khattar said the government will now bring in an ordinance to ensure minimum educational criteria for those looking to contest in elections to municipal bodies in the state.
He added that the state would back a move for similar criteria to be applicable for MPs and MLAs but said that the issue lay in the jurisdiction of the central government.
Khattar also announced a hike in the salaries of sarpanches and panches in view of the new conditions. As per the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015, general candidates are required to have passed Class X, while women and dalit candidates should have passed classes VIII and V, respectively.
The chief minister said the Supreme Court had commended the state’s amendment and that it had remarked that such norms should be implemented in other states as well.
Khattar further said that due to the conditions laid down in the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015, the state government has been able to recover pending electricity bills of Rs 24 crore and bank loans worth Rs 90 crore.
Queried on whether the new ruled would benefit the BJP government in the coming panchayat elections, Khattar said the amendment in the
Act was not driven by political motives.