Today, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Atal Bihari Vajpayee would have been elated to see the development in the valley, which was once flooded with the blood of Kashmiri Pandits and our security forces. It’s been 1 year, 6 months, and 4 days since the abrogation of the draconian laws – Article 370 and 35-A. A PIL filed in SC – Ankur Sharma V/s Union of India which exposed that Muslims being in majority in the valley, enjoyed the status of the minority while those actually in minority (Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists) didn’t get the benefit. Most of the scholarships and schemes were given to Muslims in the name of minorities. 

After August 5, 2019, there has been a 262% increase in the minority scholarships which is given to the OBCs, SCs, and STs irrespective of religion. Earlier, we used to hear about the stone-pelting incidents, soldiers dying and terrorist attacks in the valley but today there is a 36% reduction in terrorist activities since the abrogation.  51 grenade attacks took place in Kashmir from January 1 till July 15, 2019, while in 2020 the number has reduced to just 21.  In 2019, 75 security personnel and 23 civilians were killed from January 1 till July 15 in Kashmir valley, while 35 jawans and 22 civilians were killed in the same time period in 2020.  

The number of IED attacks has also reduced significantly as only one IED attack took place in Kashmir from January 1 till July 15, 2020. The number of IED attacks during the same period in 2019 was six. A total of 110 local terrorists have been killed in Kashmir in 2020 so far, including over 50 from Hizbul Mujahideen and around 20 each from Laskhar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. At least 14 terrorists from ISJK and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind were also eliminated by security forces during the same period. 

Overall, 148 terrorists have been killed since January 2020 in the Valley as of July 30. Of these, 48 terrorists were killed in the month of June alone.  Some wanted terrorists like Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo, Lashkar commander Haider, Jaish commander Kari Yasir and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind Burhan Koka have been killed by security forces in 2020. The security forces have also busted 22 terror hideouts till July 15 besides recovering 190 weapons, including several AK 47 rifle. 

Less youth joining militancy: There has been a 40% decrease of involvement of local youth in terrorist organizations as only 67 youths of Kashmir valley were brainwashed and made to pick up guns against India. 

Domicile certificate issued: Over 4 lakh people in Jammu and Kashmir have been issued domicile certificates–official documents to prove that a person is a resident of a particular state/Union Territory. 

A total of 3,68,500 domicile certificates were issued in Jammu and 79,300 in Kashmir Valley. Interestingly, nearly 3.7 lakh persons granted domicile certificates are already permanent residents of the Union Territory. A significant proportion has been given out to those who despite living or serving in the state for years were not considered the residents of the state due to the provisions of Artice 35A, which now stands repealed. 

Job vacancies: Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said that over 10,000 vacancies at all the levels have been identified for recruitment in various departments in the first phase. Notably, the administrative council has approved a simple and efficient procedure for filling up of class IV vacancies. 

Reservation: The Union Territory administration has decided to provide reservation to Pahari-speaking people (four percent) and economically weaker sections (10 percent). So far, reservation was available only to people living in villages on the Line of Control, but it has been extended to those living on the international border, benefiting nearly 70,000 families. 

7th pay commission salary: More than three lakh Jammu and Kashmir government employees are now getting benefits under the 7th Central Pay Commission. 

Big projects: The world’s highest railway bridge over river Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir will be ready by next year, and is expected to connect the Valley with the rest of India by train for the first time by 2022. The bridge, which has a central span of 467 metres, is being built at a height of 359 metres from the bed level. 

July 2020: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated six bridges in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir, and asserted that the development of remote areas in the region will continue to be a “key priority” for the NDA government. 

Work on Shahpur-Kandi, electricity, and irrigation project hanging for five decades, has started. The Ujh project has been fast-tracked. And the metro rail is on its way to Srinagar and Jammu. 

Jammu and Kashmir has recouped Rs 100 crore from stamp duty and registration fee after reform in the land registration process. Urban local bodies are also changing. Municipal committees can now approve projects of up to Rs five crore. Transparent e-tendering has also been made mandatory.

Other schemes: The government introduced an array of insurances schemes including the Atal Pension Yojana has also been introduced in the newly carved Union Territory. The Centre launched 85 people-oriented development schemes, like PM-KISAN, PM-KISAN-Pension, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and Stand-Up India in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Power projects: Union Power Minister RK Singh and Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik jointly inaugurated 15 power projects and laid the foundation stone for 20 others worth Rs 10,000 crore in September 2019.

Kashmiri Pandits: 3,000 government jobs created for the Kashmiri migrants at an outlay of Rs 1,080 crores. As per the information provided by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir, the selection process has been concluded in respect of 1781 posts and 604 candidates have joined in different departments as of 22nd February 2020. These jobs are in addition to the 3000 state government jobs approved under the Prime Minister’s package-2008, against which 2,905 jobs have been filled, according to MoS for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy. 

Construction of 6,000 transit accommodations at an outlay of Rs 920 crores for accommodating 3000 Kashmiri migrants employed under PMRP- 2008 and for 3000 additional migrants under PMDP-2015. 849 flats have already been constructed. 

The Centre also reimburses monthly cash relief to the eligible Kashmiri migrants settled in Jammu. Since the year 2014, the monthly cash relief has been enhanced twice i.e. from Rs 6600/- per family to Rs 10,000/- per family in 2015 and to Rs 13,000/- per family in 2018. In addition, the dry ration is also provided to these Kashmiri migrants. 

Farmers: The central government has approved a nearly Rs 6,000 crore multi-purpose project in Feb 2020 to provide uninterrupted water for irrigation to farmers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district and to produce power, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said. 

Package: In January 2020, the Modi government granted a package of Rs 80,000 crore for development works in Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory. It will include the revival of the schemes pending for decades. The package would help establish educational institutions like IIT, IIM and AIIMS. New release of funds will also help in the development of road transport, energy and irrigation schemes. 

Future of Jammu and Kashmir – Upcoming Projects

The District Development Council elections were held peacefully in the valley. Earlier in 2018, Panchayati Raj elections were held where the voter turnout was 74% but during the Block Development Council Elections, the voter turnout was 98%. For the first time to strengthen the panchayati Raj system, approximately Rs. 1500 Crore have been devolved to the Panchayats. 

The responsibility of Mid-Day Meal has been given to the Panchayats. One of the first times in this country, every panchayat has been installed with a grievance box. It has been made compulsory for the officers to visit the villages under ‘Back to Village’ where they have to halt there for one night and access the situation. Under the Prime Minister Development Package that was announced by the Prime Minister, 54% of the work has been completed. Twenty projects, including seven Central Government and 13 UT projects have been executed. Rest eight projects will be completed by the end of this year. Now Kashmir will be connected by train by the end of December 2022. 

Chenab Bridge with a height of 359 meters will be the highest railway bridge in the entire world, which will get completed by next year. Apart from this, an elevated light rail system is being planned in Srinagar and Jammu cities to provide a world-class public transport system to be completed in four years. In Jammu and Kashmir, an additional capacity of nearly 3,498 MW will be installed by the end of 2025. Historic MoU was signed by NHPC on 3rd January 2021 for four projects on Kirthai, Sawalkot, etc., and a 3,000 MW project worth rs. 34,882 Crore has been started already. 

The establishment of 2 AIIMS, Super Speciality Hospitals, and Medical College has also been initiated. One each is in Vijaypur, Samba district, along with AIIMS in Avantipora and Pulwama. Approximately Rs. 2,000 Crores will be spent on each AIIMS, which is quite a big achievement. After the state has been turned into a UT, the Central Government has sanctioned 7 Medical Colleges and 15 B.Sc (Nursing) Colleges, and 2 Cancer Institutes. 

Need of the Bill

For taking care of all the above projects, the UT needs a lot of officers. Therefore, the cadre policy has been changed so that more talented administrative officers can increase the efficiency of the above projects. This is not the first time that such a bifurcation has taken place. We have seen this earlier when States have been divided into smaller States. The AGMUT cadre, which is a combined cadre, basically, looks after the Union Territories of Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Goa

The arrangement, which has been made for this cadre, is necessary in order to meet the temporary shortages of these officers at different places and in which case, the whole pool of people who would be available, can actually meet the contingencies arising in a different place from time to time. The move by this Bill to include the two Union Territories, newly created Union Territories, by virtue of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, seeks to establish this particular cadre in these two Union Territories and merge them into the AGMUT cadre so that the management of personnel to meet the exigencies arising from time to time in these territories can be met much quickly and in a better manner. The pool of people, who would be available to man positions in these two areas in an objective manner, would also increase because of these Amendments.

Section 88, of the principal Act, which has been amended, says that the members of the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and the Forest Service for the existing cadre of Jammu and Kashmir shall be borne and become part of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories Cadre and all future allocations to these cadres shall also take place similarly. The objectivity that comes into this arrangement because of the reorganization is immense in the sense that people who are now going to opt for these two Union Territories would also be from a larger pool of people who would be selected in the Civil Services examination.

The objective that has been set out in the Statement says that for the purpose of bringing clarity to Section 13, it is proposed to amend the said section so as to include therein any other Article containing reference to elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir. For many years local business groups in J&K have kept many officers as their lackey on a retainer ship basis. It will now become difficult for these groups to cultivate officials from across India. And top bureaucrats and officials will not easily fall into the trap of local business groups.

The only change that this bill required is that earlier the KAS officers, the state service officers who used to get promoted to IAS rank through 50% promotion, after this bill it has been reduced to 33%. The initial rule should have been continued so that SC/STs could get more chances of becoming IAS through the reservation. In the coming years, Jammu and Kashmir will surely see the highest growth rate as compared to other states. 

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