SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday said that wrong decisions taken after India’s Independence led to resentment in Jammu and Kashmir and that a new era of peace, progress, development and social harmony has dawned due abrogation of Article 370 last year.
“We want to transform the narrative once again. We want to make development, peace, progress and social harmony the most integral part of the narrative of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said in his Independence Day message.
According to him after the constitutional changes, the government of India took “historic 50 decisions” to transform the face of the region.
“A new era of normalcy and development has dawned due to the changes effected in the last year. A new journey has been undertaken. To ensure that this journey allows us to reach our destination quickly, the government has earmarked five targets to be achieved,” Sinha said.
Spelling out the agenda, he said the first includes a just and transparent system of governance for empowering the marginalized and weaker sections of society.
“We want to establish a thriving grassroot level democracy. We wish to ensure maximum welfare by ensuring that every person benefits from government schemes. We are committed to accelerate the development of Jammu and Kashmir.
Lastly, Economic development, creation of employment opportunities and livelihood will be our primary priority,” he said while terming them as “guiding principles”.
Sinha said Jammu and Kashmir has offered an invaluable contribution to nurture and ensure a cultural harmony and peaceful co-existence between Hinduism and Sufi Islam. “The traditional cultural harmony of Jammu and Kashmir has ensured the peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims, mutual respect for their places of worship, and offered a new paradigm of the protection of not just cultural mores, but also religious rituals,” he added.
“Jammu and Kashmir has always been an integral part of the existence of India in each and every respect – culturally, politically, socially, and spiritually. Jammu and Kashmir has a time honoured tradition of assimilating and embracing every religion and tradition right from Kalhan’s Rajtarangini to Shankaracharya’s Advaita, Sufi Islam to the Buddhist philosophy of Mahayana. And this peaceful and syncretic co-existence is reflected in the lives of the inhabitants of this land,” he said.
According to Sinha, though the cultural mosaic has suffered many attacks, yet nothing has succeeded in annihilating its existence. “The philosophy of Ahimsa or non-violence propounded by Mahatma Gandhi has been the guiding light of India’s movement for independence. This insistence of non-violence has always been consistent with the ethos of Jammu and Kashmir. Those responsible for the partition of the country did try to divide this land too on communal lines, but the people of this land have always steadfastly rejected this bigoted ideology.
“The rejection is directly a consequence of the fact that the labels ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ have always been only descriptions rather than manifestation of a division in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
“Jammu and Kashmir is the land of Rishi Kashyap, and is also the land of Prophet Mohammad. This land has also hosted Guru Nanak in his quest for enlightenment, while also accommodating the philosophy of Gautam Buddha. We can learn a lot from Jammu and Kashmir’s ancient tradition of religious inclusivity, and we are committed to renew and empower this tradition.
Making an appeal to youth and students, the LG said that the greatest power with youth is the power of transformative imagination. “It is your greatest strength. Change is the only constant – we often hear this saying, and no one can deny the veracity of this truth. But I believe that there is another allied truth to this transformation that we all accept. This truth is that throughout history, youth-power has been the harbinger of all transformations,” Sinha added.
He said that youth and student life are defined through activism. “Activism is not a bad thing, but to choose the correct option is of utmost significance. Your activism should be directed at development of the nation, as this country belongs to none other than you, and you are its future leaders.”
The LG said that equality and justice are being gradually restored in Jammu and Kashmir. “No system of governance can be truly just, if even one person is deprived of equal social, political and economic rights. The rights of women who marry outside Jammu and Kashmir are now protected. Refugees from West Pakistan, displaced migrants, pahari speaking people, Other Backward Classes and Safai Larmis have finally found long delayed justice.
“They now possess democratic, employment and property rights. An unbiased reservation policy is being put in place now in education and employment sectors,” he said.
Sinha said the Commission for Socially and Economically Backward Classes is considering to make the reservation policy more effective and appropriate. “Economically Weaker Sections have been accorded an additional 10% reservation. Public welfare oriented and progressive laws are providing rights and reservation to empower senior citizens, whistle blowers, traditional forest dwellers, disabled people and minorities,” he said.
According to the LG, the government is bound to uproot corruption in all forms.
The full application of 73rd and 74th amendments of the constitution has laid the ground for a strong grassroots democracy. Panchayats and Municipalities lay the base for thriving, significant and accountable grass roots democracy.
As soon as the Covid-19 Pandemic subsides, we will fill the vacant posts of panchayats and create the third tier of governance viz. panchayati raj at the district level. To generate confidence in people, 38 Union Ministers visited and interacted with people in every nook and corner of the region.
“A wave of positive energy is circulating in the system, which is apparent and hard to miss. People want to benefit from development works at the local level and are expressing a strong desire to resolve their issues. A thriving Panchayati Raj and Municipal system will be the cornerstone of transformation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Our sole target is to ensure the welfare of all. Through Individual Welfare Schemes, focus has been laid on 100 % coverage of beneficiaries. 100% coverage has been achieved in schemes like Saubhagya, Ujala and PM Ujjwala. In Saubaghya, J&K has been awarded the National Award of Rupees 100 crore. 15.9 lakh families have received LED lamps under the Ujala Scheme. More than 12 lakh families have benefitted from LPG connections provided under Ujjwala Scheme.
Pensionary benefits have been given to more than 7 lakh people, which marks a huge jump of 59% from last year. Transgenders are also benefiting from regular pension. 5 lakh students are now availing the benefit of minority scholarships, which is a gigantic increase of 266% from last year. Jammu and Kashmir is at the forefront of the implementation of PM-Jan Arogya Yojna- Ayushman Bharat and PM-Kisan.
Most importantly on the auspicious occasion of Independence day, Government is planning to extend benefits of health insurance through J&K health scheme to the remaining one crore people, other than the 30 lakh people who are beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat. This will be the first region in the country where every person will be granted free health insurance. This is a momentous step indeed!
As we move forward, our endeavour is to ensure that everyone in Jammu and Kashmir benefits from government schemes and nobody is left out.
The goal of rapid and accelerated development of Jammu and Kashmir will yield phenomenal result. In the history of Jammu and Kashmir, never before have schemes and programs been executed with such speed and precision. By utilizing our traditional resources, natural bounties and evolution of a professional workforce, Jammu and Kashmir will be at the forefront of progress. Despite large scale distribution of resources and special packages, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed scanty and limited development. The available resources far exceeded the requirements.
But things have started to change now. Works which were never executed in 70 years are being executed now. After 70 long years, drinking water has been made available in the Mohra Ambkhori mohalla of Kangri village in Rajouri. In Budgam Laripora canal has been rejuvenated after 70 years of lying in a decrepit state. The villages of Keran and Mundiyan in Kupwara are being connected to the electricity grid after 70 years. Drinking water is being made available to Dheerti Village of Reasi district and Chumtihal village of Anantnag District after 70 years. People like Dipu Devi of Valmiki Caste have finally got their rights. 102/108 Ambulance Services have been started in Jammu and Kashmir, years after the service was started in other regions of the country.
The implementation of the PM Development Package has gained great speed. In 17 schemes, expenditure has risen to 54%. All prominent schemes are on track. The Rambagh Flyover in Srinagar, pending for nearly 5 years, has been completed and thrown open to the public. Work on Jammu Ring Road, Akhnoor Road and other prominent road projects has been expedited. Work has commenced on the Pakal-Dul Hydro-Electric Project. Kiru, and Ratle Hydro-Electric power projects will truly convert Jammu and Kashmir into a power hub. The new tunnel at Banihal on Jammu-Srinagar national highway and the world’s highest rail bridge on River Chenab will both be completed in 2021. In 2022 Kashmir will be connected all the way to Kanyakumari by railways. The Shahpur Kandi and Ujh Irrigation projects, languishing for decades, will now in a few years provide irrigation facilities to more than one lakh hectares of unirrigated land and transform the agrarian scenario of the region. Rupees 6000 crore mobilised through JKIDFC is ensuring speedy completion of languishing projects. This is being accomplished even as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected every sector.
The cities of Jammu and Kashmir need to be modernized more. They should serve as the engine of development. We are planning to create more smart cities like new Jammu and new Srinagar, which will be counted among the most advanced cities of the world.
Power Sector is an area of our prime focus. In addition to hydroelectric power projects, transmission and distribution projects are also being implemented with an aim to fulfill the target of providing 24× 7 electricity supply to every household.
To promote tourism, new destinations are being developed. Unprecedented investment is being made in the sports sector. Our teams, our boys and girls are winning the hearts and accolades of the entire country.
‘We are committed to provide a better alternative for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. An alternative that stands for development, welfare and social transformation,” he said.