Significant improvements in socio-economic parameters in J&K, Ladakh post 2019: MHA

Several milestones achieved in realm of digital transformation

*Says peace, stability essential  components for development

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Dec 7: Union Ministry of Home Affairs has informed the Parliament that post abrogation of Article 370, significant improvements have been witnessed in socio-economic parameters in the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and several milestones also achieved in the realm of digital transformation.
In reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said, “post abrogation of Article 370, the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have witnessed profound affirmative and progressive changes encompassing its entire governance including developmental activities and security”.
“The Government is fully committed to the overall development of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh and several initiatives have been taken for socio-economic development and good governance during last few years by creating conducive environment for securing the all-round development and bringing peace and prosperity to the people”, the Minister said.
About key improvements in socio-economic parameters in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the MHA pointed toward progress made in completion of Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) projects, opening of new Medical Colleges, Nursing Colleges and Paramedic Colleges in the UT of J&K
“As far as higher education infrastructure is concerned, Jammu is the only city in the country to have Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management and All India Institute of Medical Sciences in one city”, the MHA said.
Stating that air traffic to and from J&K has been doubled post 2019, the Minister said that night landing facilities have been provided in Jammu and Srinagar, adding “tourism sector in J&K has done exceptionally well and witnessed unprecedented growth in the year 2022 as more than 1.88 crore tourists have visited the UT of J&K. This positive trend has continued during the current calendar year as 1.85 crore tourist arrivals till October 2023 have been witnessed”.
In J&K there was industrial investment of merely Rs 297 crore during 2019-20. However, during 2022-23 an investment of Rs 2153.45 crore has been realized and during the current financial year Rs 2079.76 crore investment has been realized up to October 2023.
There was no geriatric and paediatric ward in district hospitals in 2019-2020 but during 2022-23 such wards are in all the 20 districts of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The MHA also pointed towards opening of 227 Jan Aushadhi Kendras and 19 Amrit Pharmacies and integration of 425 ambulances with 108/102 Call Centres etc.
Stating that Government has achieved significant milestones in the realm of digital transformation, e-governance and technology integration over the last four years, the Minister of State in the MHA said, “to provide various Government to Citizen online services at the doorstep without visiting the Government offices in person and dealing with public officials in public places, the Government of J&K has taken various Information Technology initiatives”.
“The innovative use of technology has become qua non for targeted intervention for ensuring demographic dividend don’t leave out the marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society”, the Minister said.
About the Union Territory of Ladakh, the MHA said that nine projects at cost of Rs 21441 crore are being implemented under Prime Minister Development Package, 2015 out of which 02 projects have been completed. Moreover, 750 kilometres of roads have been constructed/upgraded, 22 new bridges constructed for improving connectivity in rural areas and 30 helipads and two hangars constructed.
Before 2019, Kargil-Zanskar road used to remain closed for around 154 days and Zojila pass for 127 days. However, during 2022-23 Kargil-Zanskar road witnessed closure for only 23 days and Zojila for 70 days.
The bed capacity in the hospitals in Ladakh was 842 in 2019 and the same has increased to 1594 in 2023. Similarly, 319 Health and Wellness Centres have been established to provide comprehensive primary health care facility.
About steps being taken by the Government for balancing security needs with development efforts in J&K, the Minister of State in MHA said that the approach to balancing security needs with development efforts involves a combination of measures, “The Government is maintaining law and order to ensure security while simultaneously implementing initiatives for economic and social development”, he added.
“Presently the Government is focusing on infrastructure projects, employment generation and community engagement to address both security concerns and promote overall growth in the region”, the MHA said, adding “peace and stability are essential components for development, Earlier, terrorist incidents, bandhs and stone pelting engineered, financed and imposed by the separatist-terrorist networks had tremendous negative effect as it resulted in closure of schools, colleges and universities, trade, industries, businesses which in turn inflicted severe loss of income especially of the poor and those who worked in the unorganized sectors of the economy”.
“Post abrogation with bandhs and street violence having become a thing of the past, terrorist incidents have declined, accountability in the administration has vastly improved with a record number of public works having been executed”, the MHA said.