“After August 5 2019, Kashmir has starting treading towards a new path. Kashmir which was affected by terrorism, will now emerge as a model in the near future. In the past, protest calendars were distributed among the locals for organising strikes. Now, they know that there is transparency in the system and accountability. It is among the big positive changes in the region,”
Mohammed Yousuf sits peacefully looking at the dark blue sky as the sound of Shikara rowing through Dal Lake makes a soothing melody. “The youth here has become prudent. The game that few people played with the youth of Kashmir has stopped. They know it very well that they will get nothing from militancy. Today’s youth is focused on their studies. All the protests and stone-pelting incidents that we used to see every day no longer takes place,” says Yousuf, citing a drop in the incidents of stone-pelting in Kashmir after the nullification of Article 370 in August 2019. Stone pelting, as the name suggests, refers to assault by throwing stones, by a section of Kashmiri youth on security forces, deployed for crowd control. The deadly attacks became a routine form of protest in the streets of Srinagar. There were 2,653 incidents of stone-throwing in 2016. A probe by the National Investigating Agency in 2017 revealed that Pakistan routed money into the Kashmir Valley to be paid to stone-pelters. Young men were paid Rs 500 each for throwing stones on Army and other defence forces. “As Pakistan has failed four times in direct wars, so they are investing in such means, whether its hawala money or fake money through these leaders who claim to be the representatives of Kashmiris. But in actual they are traitors using Kashmiri people. The young boys are given Rs 500 to pelt stones,” said Nirmal Singh, the then deputy chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2017. But now that seems a thing of the past. “After August 5 2019, Kashmir has starting treading towards a new path. Kashmir which was affected by terrorism, will now emerge as a model in the near future. In the past, protest calendars were distributed among the locals for organising strikes. Now, they know that there is transparency in the system and accountability. It is among the big positive changes in the region,”
Stone-pelting didn’t differentiate between security forces and residents of the Kashmir Valley. In October 2018, an army soldier was killed after sustaining head injuries during stone-pelting in Anantnag. Hundreds of army men and civilians were injured as stone-throwing went violent over the years. However, priorities are changing now- it’s tools over stones. Now everybody is living in peace. Now people are placing other demands for development and industries. Now the people of Jammu and Kashmir want the investment in the region. The shikara has finally docked and now reached its final destination and getting back to life as one normally knows it
Here are some key developments post abrogation of Article 370:
All central laws have been extended to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, which includes legislations meant for protecting and promoting social, economic, and political rights of women, children, under-privileged sections, as well as those ensuring transparent and accountable governance.
Some of the National Legislations now applicable in J&K are
Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009;
Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, 2015;
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005;
Protection of Human Rights Act, 1994;
Right to Information Act, 2005;
Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993.
Amendments have been made to over 100 Acts of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which will now enable to applicability of the affirmative central/union laws to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, repeal of some of the outdated local laws, and adaptation of some laws to contemporary and modern times.
Elections to 310 Block Development Councils were held on 24th Oct 2019. Over 98% of polling was recorded in the elections. For the first time, women benefitted from reservation bringing them into mainstream politics.
To further aid grassroots level administrations and increased financial autonomy, J&K will get 13 new Municipal Councils after the government approved upgradation of all municipal committees at district headquarters and those with population of more than 30,000 (as per 2011 census).
Panchayats (village councils) provided with over US$ 200 million (INR 1,500 crore) in the last year to aid grassroots development.
A unique participatory programme called ‘back to village’ was held in November 2019 wherein, government officials reached out to every panchayat (village council) and spent two days and a night to discuss various development programs as well as to understand he issued faced by the people at the grassroots. During this programme, over 20,000 developmental works were identified by the people, of which 7000 have already been executed.
Integration with the Union will now provide legal protection and rights to the LGBTQ community which were not existent earlier.
Transgenders have been included into the welfare programmes, which was not possible earlier due to the divergent laws.
Attracting investments and holding Investment Road shows across Indian metropolitan cities. US$ 2 billion in investments have been pledged from within India in the sectors of Tourism, Health, Education and Agriculture.
J&K government has identified 6,000 acres of land across UT of J&K for attracting potential investors.
149 out of the 187 reforms proposed by GoI under ‘ease of doing business programme’ have been implemented by UT of J&K improving its ranking from 32 to 22 in the country.
J&K government announced streamlining of taxation system to bring it at par with the system in the rest of country for the ease of business and investment.
To root out corruption in the Government system and bring in transparency, 100% implementation of e-tendering system has been implemented.
Ayushman Bharat has been implemented in J&K in partnership with private insurance companies to expand the coverage of healthcare. Today 60% of families in J&K have been enrolled into Ayushman Bharat.
Additional 800 additional doctors have been recruited to further strengthen the healthcare system in the Union Territory.
J&K government signed an MoU with UNDP India to implement Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN), which will strengthen immunization supply chain system by providing real-time information on vaccine stocks & flows, storage temperatures across all cold chain centers.
As part of government’s comprehensive school health education plan to ensure better healthcare for school children and facilitate all-round development, a student health card scheme for school children was launched and 800,000 student health cards have been issued.
With a focus on building world class health sector, new health infrastructure worth US$ 2 billion is planned. This includes, 2 new AIIMS (Vijaypur in Jammu, and Awantipora in Kashmir), 7 new Medical colleges, 5 new Nursing colleges and a State Cancer Institute. Further, 1400 Medical / Paramedical seats have been added for medical education.
A unique market intervention scheme for Kashmiri Apples was introduced, which envisaged procurement of Apple from 5 designated Mandis by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India. Under this, over 15000 metric tonnes of Apples valued at over US$ 10 million was directly procured from farmers in Kashmir valley till January 2020. Farmers are now able to receive the price for their crops directly into their bank accounts under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism.
Kashmiri Saffron, has been given a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Center has been constructed at Pampore under National Saffron Mission to facilitate collection, processing, packaging, e-auction of Kashmiri Saffron.
First e-National Agriculture Market (E-NAM) platform of J&K was inaugurated at fruit & vegetable market Parimpora. The online trading portal networks the existing Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
50 new educational institutions with 25000 vacancies were established in J&K, which is the largest addition in 70 years.
Over 500,000 students from Kashmir availed different scholarship schemes of the government in the past year, which is nearly four times higher than that of the previous year.
Under a unique, first of a kind internship initiative, Jammu & Kashmir government signed MOUs with seven key institutions of higher learning and research for two months of internship for 500 final year students of J&K.
To strengthen industry-academia partnership and to bring qualitative improvements in technical education, Jammu & Kashmir government will establish two Centres for Invention, Innovation, Incubation & Training (CIIIT) in Jammu & Kashmir.
Reservation of all government jobs for the residents of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
10,000 positions in the Government has been advertised for accelerated recruitment. Next phase will include 25,000 more jobs. This process will give due weightage to domiciles of home district / division, divorced women and orphan girls, among others.
Two IT parks, one each in Jammu and Srinagar would be coming up to provide employment opportunities to youth.
Under the Jammu & Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (JKIDFC), set up to complete delayed projects, over 500 projects worth over US$ 80 million have been completed, and over 2000 projects worth nearly US$ 800 million have been sanctioned.
J&K received number of awards, which bear testimony to its march on the path of development. The awards, inter-alia, include, national award for habitations connected and road length under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY); first in the country to record highest percentage coverage under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY); among others.
Over 3 lakh households, including in remote areas of the Union Territory, have been provided access to electricity for the first time in 70 years.
293,000 households provided access to tapped water in 2019-20 with the aim of 100% coverage of all rural households by March 2022.
Under a unique and unprecedented outreach programme, 36 Union Ministers visited over 50 locations of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, addressed & received public demands, and inaugurated over 200 projects.
Bottlenecks for projects spanning across various sectors under the Prime Ministers Development Package (PMDP) have been removed – 17 of these projects are completed or nearing completion.
Jammu and Srinagar are being developed as modern, sustainable, smart cities with 190 projects worth US$ 940 million planned.
It has been decided to create a Light Rail Transit System (LRTS) in both capital cities worth over US$ 1.4 billion
A housing project under slum development, rehabilitation and township policy has also been approved under which 200,000 houses are planned.
J&K completed the first phase of launch of one nation one ration card scheme. Under this initiative, eligible beneficiaries from the UT of J&K would be able to get their entitled food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from any fair price shop in the country with interstate portability.
Landline telephones and mobile connectivity (post-paid and pre-paid) have been restored in all districts of the Union Territory.
Mobile internet services have been restored on post-paid and pre-paid mobiles in all districts. No restriction on access to social media and other websites.
Broadband internet services to homes and businesses establishments have been fully restored across the Union Territory.
The first ever ‘Khelo India Winter Games’ were held in Gulmarg in March 2020, in which, over 900 participants from across the country took part in various sporting events such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snow baseball, etc. Diverse sports activities were held in J&K throughout the year wherein over 5 lakh youth participated, and 1.26 lakh youth received coaching.
Sports infrastructure has received impetus: Government has planned indoor sports complex in every district; playfield in every Panchayat (village council); floodlighting, synthetic turfing in Stadia; international level facilities in Jammu and Srinagar.