Two years since Article 370: A major success for the NDA?

 Two years after Indian parliament revoked the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narender Modi’s government seems to have succeeded in bringing the region under its direct control.On 5 August 2019, a proposal to abolish Article 370 and 35A implemented in Kashmir was introduced by Home Minister Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha. After which President Ram Nath Kovind also approved it after the resolution was passed in the Rajya Sabha. After getting approval from the President, Article 370 and 35A were abolished from Jammu and Kashmir. After this big decision of the central government, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were separated and divided into two separate union territories.  

After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said, 'Now our country can move forward on the path of peace and development.' He said that this step will further strengthen the policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism. Shah exuded confidence that abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, would establish lasting peace in the state. Shah said, 'We are safe in an impenetrable shield after the abrogation of Article 370. The initiative to abolish this article has been taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the aim of establishing peace in Jammu and Kashmir and enabling our security personnel.  

After removal of Article 370, the central government has left no stone unturned to help the people of Jammu and Kashmir to improve their lot. The most important aspect is that instead of splurging money on populist schemes, the center is instead investing in infrastructure and capacity building, which will provide Kashmiris a continuous opportunity to improve their career prospects.

For example, the government has released nearly Rs 80,000 crore under the Prime Minister’s Development Package, of which a substantial amount has been utilized for setting up Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM). These facilities will go a long way in helping local youth to fulfil their aspirations.

The AIIMS at Samba and Avantipora that were stalled due to land and forest issues have now been cleared for completion. Five new medical colleges at Baramulla, Anantnag, Rajouri, Kathua and Doda have been approved. The government is also making efforts to fast-track stalled projects such as the Shahpur Kandi Dam project that has been in limbo for 40 years. 

Some of the other positive developments are:

  • The government has introduced an array of insurance schemes including the Atal Pension Yojana in the newly carved Union Territory of J&K and Ladakh.

  • Under the new domicile law, all those who have resided in J&K for 15 years or studied here for seven years and took their class 10 or 12 examination in an educational institution in J&K are now eligible for domicile.

Another praiseworthy government initiative pertains to remedying injustice to women. After abrogation of Article 370, women in J&K can now buy real estate and transfer property to children, even if they get married to a non-resident. In addition, many schemes have been launched for empowering women and helping them to earn their livelihood.

Youth has been identified as the center of gravity of the development process. Sustained effort is being made by the UT Govt for creation of skill sets by providing financial support for education, training and entrepreneurship and generation of employment in both the Government and private sectors. The youth have a fixation for government jobs and though this is a good sign, there is a need to promote entrepreneurship and private enterprise so that the youth can realise their full potential.

Towards this, the Government has taken the initiative of giving soft loans and assistance to enhance private entrepreneurship. It has in place schemes like the Seed Capital Fund Scheme (SCFS), Youth Start-up Loan Scheme (YSLS); National Minority Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) and Women Entrepreneurship Programme (WEP) to extend credit facility to prospective entrepreneurs. The amount extends from Rs 4 Lakhs to Rs 30 Lakhs depending upon the project and the educational level of the applicant. The funding extends to the ratio of 90 % as state share and 10% as beneficiary contribution. A system of “Self Help Group (SHG)” of Engineers has been instituted to facilitate group self-employment in taking projects like Government contracts etc. 



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