In current circumstances of the country development, we should be governed, in the course of decentralisation, by a modern procedure for resolving matters pertaining to the administrative and territorial structure rather than the out-dated Decree of the Presidium of the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR of 1981.
It was stated so by First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine Viacheslav Nehoda during the presentation of the draft law "On the Principles of Administrative and Territorial Structure of Ukraine" as developed by the Ministry of Regional Development at the meeting of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine on State Construction, Regional Policy and Local Self-government.
According to Viacheslav Nehoda, the draft law, subject to the applicable Constitution, determines the principles on which should be based the administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine, types of settlements, the system of administrative-territorial entities, powers of the governmental authorities and the bodies of local self-government in terms of the administrative and territorial structure, procedure for the formation, liquidation, establishment and changing the boundaries of administrative-territorial entities and settlements, maintenance of the State Register of Administrative-Territorial Entities and Settlements of Ukraine.
"This draft law has been developed with the engagement of all national Ukrainian associations of local self-government and a wide range of experts. It is the basis for subsequent changes in the administrative and territorial structure, but it itself does not provide for any such changes. The draft law only sets forth the procedure for resolving the matters pertaining to the administrative and territorial structure: division of jurisdiction over these matters, the establishment of procedures for changing the boundaries of Rayons (Districts) and communities, renaming of settlements, their attribution to certain categories, etc. Currently, there is no such procedure, but it is urgently needed to move forward", Viacheslav Nehoda specified.
The draft law specifies, in particular, that the system of administrative-territorial entities shall remain to be a three-level one: In this connection, it is stipulated that the Rayon (District) level should be arranged in a better way so to be in line with the European standards.
"Rayon shall be an administrative-territorial entity of intermediate level comprising communities with a population of not less than 150 thousand inhabitants in total. In the territories where the population concentration is lesser than the average population concentration in the respective Oblast (Region), the Rayon (District) may have a lesser number of inhabitants if the area of such Rayon is larger than the average in the Oblast. The Rayon (District) shall be the territorial basis for the establishment and operation of executive authorities and the local self-government body for the purposes of providing respective services that objectively cannot be provided by the local self-government bodies of territorial communities, which bodies operate within administrative-territorial entities of the basic level within a Rayon (District)", the draft law reads.
In addition, the draft law determines more precisely the notion of the "community" as an administrative-territorial entity of the basic level comprising one or more settlements and lands outside the boundaries thereof. The community "shall be the territorial basis for carrying out the local self-government into practice by residents of the settlements located within the territory of the community, for the establishment, and activities of local self-government bodies."
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