JAMMU, Jan 21: Former minister and working president of JKPCC Raman Bhalla today said that BJP Govt’s adverse decisions have broken the backbone of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir.
Interacting with local people here today Bahlla said, LG Manoj Sinha’s Administration needs to urgently adopt measures to protect the J&K’s poorest and most vulnerable people if Covid-19 containment and relief measures prove inadequate. Previous lockdowns have already disproportionately hurt marginalized communities due to loss of livelihood and lack of food, shelter, health and other basic needs. The Government does have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of the population by protecting their livelihood.
Reacting over Govt’s decision to impose lockdown initially from Friday afternoon and then extending it to 9 PM on Friday to Monday morning, Bhalla termed it as a hasty decision and said though lockdown is inevitable to save precious lives but its impact will fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable, people living in poverty, the working poor, women and children, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.
He pointed out that the pandemic has laid bare challenges such as structural inequalities, inadequate healthcare and the lack of universal social protection and the heavy price societies are paying as a result. Economic recovery plans should prioritize at-risk workers, such as those in the informal sector; protect micro, small and medium enterprises, including those owned by women; and involve an expansion of universal social protection, Bhalla added.
PCC leader said the Government should ensure that those at heightened risk, including sanitation workers (Safai Karamcharis), community health staff (ASHA workers), early childhood caregivers (Anganwadi workers) and people such as midday meal workers – often poorly paid public service officials – who are at the front lines during this crisis, are provided protective equipment, medical benefits, and timely wages.
Bhalla observed that the economy, both in Jammu and Kashmir regions, is in shambles, it has impacted day to day lives in many ways. Now, after new laws have come up there is growing anxiety, growing distress, particularly among the youth that their share of jobs will go away with the domicile rules being very lax and encouraging lots of people from outside the state, the non-permanent residents to avail of the benefits that were earlier their privileges. He said dismantling of J&K state has adversely impacted the trade, tourism and economy of the erstwhile princely Dogra State.