New Delhi: The MoS (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh said that Jammu & Kashmir was most exploited by the champions of Article 370. Speaking about the threat to ‘Identity’ of Kashmiriyat after scrapping of Article 370, he said that opposite to the common perception, the state was most exploited under the pretext of Article 370. He said that this is a historical decision under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the strategy of Home Minister Shri Amit Shah. He was speaking on the occasion of presentation of a report by GIA. A delegation of Group of Intellectuals and Academicians (GIA) presented a ‘Report from Ground Zero’ on Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh after setting aside of Article 370 & 35A. Founded in 2015, GIA is a group of professional women and entrepreneurs, media persons and academicians committed to social-justice and nation-building.
The delegation briefed the MoS (PMO) about the findings of their observations after field study of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in three teams. They also gave their inputs and recommendations. They briefed that common man across religions, sections and various professional backgrounds in J&K has expressed happiness about the decision of the Government to scrap Article 370. The group also interacted with people living in border areas of J&K and took their views into consideration.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh said that contrary to the misinformation being spread by certain sections about the clampdown situation in J&K, this year has been the most peaceful festive season in the last many years. He added that important festivals like Eid, Independence Day have been celebrated in a peaceful manner after many years. He added that vested interests of some people have led to these misleading perceptions about the threat to identity of people from Jammu & Kashmir. He questioned whether Article 370 is required to save the identity of people in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Bengal. He said that the decision is a revolutionary step and it is difficult to even imagine such initiative being taken. The fruits of this decision will be realised slowly in future, the Minister added.
Dr Singh referred to yesterday’s decision of Central Government that the Government employees of J&K and Ladakh will get salaries and benefits as per the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations. The annual financial implication of the allowances like children education allowance, hostel allowance, transport allowance, LTC, fixed medical allowance for them will be around Rs 4,800 crore, he added. He said that now the Government employees of J&K can also avail the benefits availed in other parts of the country.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that after 31st October, many women-welfare related provisions will also be implemented. He quoted examples of doing away with Article 35A, applicability of Dowry Prohibition Act, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and others. These Central Laws will be made applicable to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir; and Union Territory of Ladakh.
Speaking about the industry, Dr Singh said that there are now no barriers in the industrial development of J&K. He added that development in J&K will also curb the ‘youth exodus’ from there, as there will be ample opportunities available to them, from which they were deprived earlier. The Minister added that the development model of North East can be replicated in J&K. He added that food processing parks can be opened for apples, strawberry and other fruits on the lines of citrus fruit park in North East. He said that other products of J&K such as Pashmina, saffron also have huge commercial potential which needs to be tapped for the economic well being of people of J&K. On the militancy issue, the Minister said that terrorism and militancy are in the last phase in Jammu and Kashmir.
MoS (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh congratulated the GIA team members for their efforts and said that it is a responsible initiative because most of the members are from intellectual community in their respective areas. He said that their report provides answer to many questions that are being raised these days. He added that the report is not based on just one visit to J&K, but based on research for long time and after being associated with Kashmir issue for years.
Speaking about the report being presented to him today, Dr Singh said that the inputs given in the report will be considered seriously. He added many new schemes are being prepared by various departments for implementation in J&K, so that it does not lag behind in development as compared to any other part of the country.