Development happening all around J&K
Development is taking place at a rapid speed in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh since the two Union Territories were carved out. On the 5th of August last year, the Government revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir by modifying Article 370 of the Constitution..The Central Government has taken several steps for the improvement of business and trade sector in Jammu and Kashmir. These steps played an instrumental role in the development of the region.The 15th Finance Commission has allocated grants of more than 30 thousand crore rupees for the development of Jammu and Kashmir. In addition, Global investment summits have been organized to attract the investor to make investment in the region. Reforms have been made in all the departments to make better synergy between them and remove the hindrances.
Jammu and Kashmir has set benchmarks for other states with a realization that if determined, any herculean task can be accomplished. The Union Territory has registered a phenomenal progress under Saubhagya scheme, realizing the dream of 100 per cent household electrification in the country. 3,57,405 households were all provided with electricity before the target date. The achievement came despite tough geographical terrain, snowbound topography, scattered households, close proximity to the international border and limited working season. The Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department teams established close synergy with other Departments, Gram Sewaks, Revenue functionaries, public representatives, and all worked jointly to achieve the goal. Besides, Mobile Apps like Gram Jyoti Doot, UrjaVistaar were also devised by the Department for fast track release of power connections. Despite after achieving 100% electrification, the Department launched special electrification vehicles ‘SaubhagyaRath’ in all 22 districts to rule out the possibility of any household remaining un-electrified.
All laws enacted by the government have been extended to cover the union territory of J&K, and a number of laws that applied to the former state have been amended to reflect modern times and bring them into line with those in the rest of the country. These laws include those designed to protect and promote the social, economic and political rights of women, children and the under-privileged, such as the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, the Protection of Human Rights Act 1994, and the Right to Information Act 2005.
Ahead of a planned Global Investors’ Summit, the government of J&K organized a first-of-its-kind pre-summit investors’ meeting in January in New Delhi. It showcased the policy and regulatory environment in the union territory and the investment opportunities available in 14 sectors, aimed at boosting manufacturing and the creation of jobs. The success of the meeting can be judged by the fact that 168 memorandums of understanding, worth $1.8 billion, were signed.
In agriculture, a unique market intervention scheme was introduced for the famed Kashmiri apples, which led to more than 15,000 tons of the fruit being directly procured from farmers as of January this year, with the money directly transferred to their bank accounts without the need for any intermediaries.
In addition, the world-famous Kashmiri saffron, which is the only saffron in the world that grows at an altitude of 1,600 to 1,800 meters, has been given a geographical indication tag to protect its reputation and guarantee its point of origin.
In keeping with the promise of quick and transparent recruitment of workers for government jobs, the J&K government has advertised 10,000 posts at all levels under an accelerated recruitment process for young people, with 25,000 additional jobs to be filled in subsequent phases.
The selection process for these jobs will give added weight to applicants who are residents of the area, divorced women or orphaned girls, among other criteria. The government has also restored a program under which all government jobs are reserved for residents of J&K. In the field of education, 50 new educational institutions, offering 25,000 places for students, have been established, representing the largest expansion in J&K in 70 years. More than 500,000 students have also taken advantage of a number of government scholarship schemes — a four-fold increase over the number during the previous year.
The J&K government has also approved the establishment of two centers for invention, innovation, incubation and training, which will strengthen the partnerships between industry and academia in technical fields.
Similarly, in the medical field, two All India Institutes of Medical Sciences, seven new medical colleges, five new nursing colleges and a State Cancer Institute are planned. A student health card scheme has also been launched to ensure better healthcare for schoolchildren.
To boost the infrastructure in J&K, more than 500 projects worth in excess of $80 million have been completed, and more than 2,000 projects worth nearly $800 million have been approved. Bottlenecks that had delayed projects in a number of sectors have been removed and many of those projects are now nearing completion.
Jammu and Srinagar are being developed as modern, sustainable smart cities, in which 190 projects worth more than $900 million are planned. Proposals for a light rail transit system in both cities have been approved. A first-ever housing, slum development, rehabilitation and township policy has been approved, under which the construction of 200,000 houses is planned. More than 300,000 households have also been given access to electricity for the first time in 70 years.
(Uday India Bureau )