SRINAGAR: Governor S P Malik while greeting people of Jammu and Kashmir on the occasion of 70th Republic Day said “since Independence in 1947, we have made rapid strides towards meeting the principles enshrined in our constitution”.
“Deepening of democracy, success of parliamentary form of government, rule of law and people’s faith in democratic process and institutions are the biggest achievements of independent India which have not only proved the sceptics wrong but surprised many,” Governor said. “The uniqueness of this achievement lies in the fact that every successive change of government since independence has been only through the ballot.”
He said the “huge turnout” in the recently concluded panchayat and municipal elections in the State “is an indicator of people’s yearning for peace and development”.
“Despite stiff challenges, these elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, thanks to the overwhelming participation of the people. I congratulate the entire civil and police administration for having worked overtime to ensure successful and peaceful panchayat and municipal elections across the state.”
He remembered and paid tributes to the “founding fathers of the nation who fought for our freedom and handed over to us a constitution that guarantees liberty, equality and justice”.
Governor also accused the “neighbouring country” of supporting militants to disrupt peace and harmony in the State. “Repeated ceasefire violations have brought untold hardships to the people living in the villages along the borders. Government is taking required measures to alleviate the sufferings of the border population,” he said and hailed the armed forces for maintaining strict vigil and alertness on frontiers.
Corruption is a threat that we all need to counter in the most concerted, cohesive and determined manner, Malik said adding that this menace can be best fought when there is an appropriate institutional framework in place to act as deterrent.
“The first ever Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been established in the State… it is one of the important elements of the mission good governance and development. The Jammu and Kashmir Vigilance Commission Act has been amended to make it more vibrant and effective. We have also amended Prevention of Corruption Act to give it more teeth.”
He said redressal of citizens’ grievances has been given priority and the State Grievances Cell has been constituted apart from the establishment of District Grievance Cells. “My advisors and chief secretary are regularly interacting with public for redressal of their problems. A Service Grievance Cell to address service related grievances of employees has also been set up.”
The state government has taken a series of measures for the welfare of police personnel; he said adding that the other service related matters of the government employees are being prioritised.
He said amendments have been made in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act-1989 to devolve more powers to panchayats. “Over Rs 2300 crore development funds per annum will be transferred to panchayats and Rs 1200 crore to the Urban Local Bodies for undertaking various development activities in the respective areas of their jurisdiction.”
Governor said with the objective of addressing the State’s backlog in development, Rs 80,000 crore Prime Minister’s Development Package for the State is under implementation which includes the Government of India’s support to various critical sectors and will ensure peace, prosperity and development in the State.
Through its strenuous efforts, the government has been able to provide last mile connectivity to un-electrified households and achieve 100 per cent household electrification in the month of October last year under the Prime Minister Sehaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna (SAUBAGHYA) much before the target date, he said.
To address the grievances of Kashmiri students studying outside the State in major cities, the Liaison Officers have been designated, Governor said.
He said to address the issues of teaching community including existence of multiple teaching cadres; government has decided to merge these cadres into a single cadre. This measure, he said, will help to promote quality education in the State.
“We have drawn an Action Plan to provide each school in the State with toilet, drinking water, boundary wall, ramps for specially-abled children and furniture facilities,” Governor said.
Government is committed to providing access to affordable health care in J&K, he said, adding that more than 6 lakh families with 30 lakh individuals in the State are being covered under Ayushman Bharat Scheme.
S P Malik said he is “glad to share that Jammu and Kashmir has been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) during September 2018. More than a million toilets have been constructed across the State.”
He said emphasis is being laid on creating an environment of entrepreneurship in identified sectors. “To facilitate and nurture the growth of start-ups in the State, Jammu and Kashmir Start-up Policy has been rolled out which will inspire young entrepreneurs to create vibrant and innovative start-ups.”
Concrete steps are being taken to make J&K investment friendly and the government has rolled out first ever trade and export policy aimed at enhancing domestic trade volume by five times in next 10 years, he said.
Governor said tourism is an important part of overall development and employment strategy and the government is committed to unlock the vast potential in the sector. “We have launched a sustained campaign to address the challenges posed to the sector by the negative perception regarding the obtaining situation in the Valley.”