Srinagar: New Delhi is seeking to extend the ambit of yet another Act to J&K, which could raise more questions on the continuing erosion of the ‘special status’ of the state. This time, the idea is to amend a seven-year old Act to enable the Centre to collect statistical data in J&K.
At present, the existing Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, does not apply to J&K since the state has its own Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010. But now, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has invited public comments by August 31 on the Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to amend the Act.
According to notes explaining the draft law, the J&K state legislature has powers to enact laws on ‘statistics’ which falls under the concurrent and residuary powers reserved for the state under the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954.
Since the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, and the Jammu and Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, are not applicable to the statistical subjects falling in the Union List (as applicable to J&K under the aforementioned 1954 Order), the note says that “this has created a legislative vacuum”.
Under the bill, there is scope for appointment of a nodal officer by the centre and each state to ‘coordinate and supervise’ all statistical activities. This, it is explained, is in order to ensure ‘unnecessary duplication of programmes of collection of statistics’.