Centre working on multi-crore package for J&K, Ladakh

Talks on, formal approval by Cabinet

MHA reviews steps for reorganization of State

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 27: The Central Government has been working on package worth several crores to generate necessary infrastructure following switch over of Jammu and Kashmir State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh from October 31 during which over 100 Central laws will be implemented in the two UTs, which were not applicable in the State.
“The package is being worked out and could be announced shortly,’’ official sources told the Excelsior.
The Union Home Ministry also held a meeting today that was attended by 15 Secretaries of different Ministries of the Central Government to draw roadmap for reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir and steps which would be required to complete the process by October 31 deadline set by the MHA. The meeting was chaired by new Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.
Sources said the package in all sectors is being worked out by the Central Government as Jammu and Kashmir would require huge funds to build infrastructure for two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The package might be unveiled following approval of the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources disclosed that Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also had a meeting with over a dozen Ministers holding charge of significant departments like Labour, Power, Renewable Energy, Human Resources Development etc few days back, to assess funds required for effective implementation of Central laws in the reorganized Jammu and Kashmir.
Exact amount for the purpose is being worked out, they said, adding that once the proposal is ready, it would be sent to the Expenditure Finance Committee followed by the approval of Union Cabinet before public announcement.
The package, according to sources, will be necessary to generate infrastructure for implementation of over 100 Central laws in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of special Constitutional provisions of the State which it enjoyed under Articles 370 and 35-A, which were abrogated through a Parliamentary resolution followed by assent of the President.
The 106 Central Laws would come into full force in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh from October 31. During the transition period, both Central as well as the State laws will be in force till October 30.
“The Labour Ministry has proposed to build a new hospital by Employees State Insurance Corporation for providing health facilities to its subscribers in the State. The ESI Act 1948 was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir in 1970 and health insurance scheme under the Act was launched from September 1971,’’ sources said.
They added that the Central Government would also have to shell out crores of rupees for implementation of ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009’, which provides that every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school, which satisfies certain essential norms and standards.
The Central Government, according to sources, would also implement Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 for the direct transfer of various benefits and subsidies to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
In addition, sources said, infrastructure in multiple sectors was required to be generated for both Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories.
“Once the situation is completely eased in the Kashmir valley, the Government will start creation of necessary infrastructure and other formalities in both Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh required for their switching over to the Union Territories,’’ they added.
Meanwhile, top officials of major Central Ministries and departments met in the Union capital today under the chairmanship of new Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla to discuss the steps required to carry forward the process for implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act by October 31 by bifurcating the State into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
“Steps required to restore complete normalcy in Kashmir were also reviewed,’’ sources said, adding the situation is gradually returning to normalcy there.
They said more than 15 Secretaries of major Central Ministries and departments, including Finance, Agriculture, Road Transport, Power, Rural Development and Industries among others, attended the meeting called by Bhalla. This was Bhalla’s first meeting on Jammu and Kashmir situation as the Home Secretary.
“The meeting was held with various departments to assess the implementation of Central schemes in Jammu and Kashmir and initiatives to be taken to expedite return of normalcy,” sources said.
They added that development programmes and division of assets and manpower were the key areas of discussion in the meeting.
The meeting also discussed the measures to be taken for stocking of essential commodities, particularly in the Ladakh region, before the onset of the winter.
Jammu and Kashmir is currently under President’s rule.
A few teams of Central officials have already visited Srinagar while some of the level of Joint Secretary and Secretary are expected to travel to the Valley in the coming weeks.
The Central Government will also assist the Jammu and Kashmir administration in implementing 85 development schemes announced by Governor Satya Pal Malik recently, sources said.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has already set up three committees to work on the bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on October 31.