Union Govt’s unstinted support leads to transformation of J&K on all fronts: MHA

Union Govt's unstinted support leads to transformation of J&K on all fronts: MHA

3500 MW potential tapped in 70 yrs, 3000 MW revived in few years
*Rs 58,477 cr PMDP projects picked up pace after Aug 2019

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Aug 2: Union Home Ministry today informed the Parliament that Government of India’s unstinted support in accelerating the pace of development in Jammu & Kashmir has resulted in transformation of the Union Territory on all the fronts. Moreover, Rs 58,477 crore worth Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) announced on November 7, 2015 picked up implementation only after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
In 26-pages reply to the questions regarding measures taken for the development of newly formed Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai informed the Rajya Sabha that Government of India is fully committed to the overall development of Jammu and Kashmir and has taken several initiatives in this regard.
“On account of Article 370 and other constitutional ambiguities, the people of this region were denied full rights enshrined in the Constitution of India and other benefits of various Central Laws that were being enjoyed by other citizens in the country. After Constitutional changes, all Central laws have been applied in UT of J&K, 205 State laws were repealed and 130 State laws have been modified and applied”, the Minister said.
He further said that first time in the history of the Jammu and Kashmir, duly elected 3-tier Panchayati Raj System has been established and both the Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies have been empowered by transfer of Funds, Functions and Functionaries as prescribed under the 73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution.
“The UT of Jammu and Kashmir has focused on transparency in financial management by way of introduction of host of reforms and initiatives in the recent years which resulted in increase in the completion of projects in a fiscal year manifold with 92,560 works completed in 2022-23 in comparison to 9,229 in 2018-19”, the MHA said, adding “Government of India’s unstinted support in accelerating the pace of development in Jammu & Kashmir has resulted in transformation of the UT on all fronts”.
The Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) was announced on November 7, 2015 by the Prime Minister for strengthening socio-economic development of J&K. Out of 53 projects of the UT of J&K at a cost of Rs 58,477 crores, 32 projects have been completed/ substantially completed up to June 2023. “The pace of the projects has been accelerated post August 2019”, the Minister informed the Rajya Sabha.
Stating that connectivity to valley has been subsequently improved by opening of six road tunnels on NH-44 including 8.45 kilometers twin tube tunnel between Qazigund and Banihal thereby reducing average time from Jammu to Srinagar from 8-10 hours to 5-6 hours, the Minister said that this has reduced logistic cost of goods and services to the Valley. Moreover, under National Highway Development Programme, work on upgradation of 5 expressways, ring roads for Jammu and Srinagar cities, 10 major and 11 other tunnels, 33 flyovers and bypasses to 18 major towns is in progress, he added.
“Out of 20,000 MW hydropower potential, J&K had been able to tap only 3,500 MW in 70 years but in last few years alone, projects for about 3,000 MW capacity have been revived and put on track”, the Minister said, adding Memorandum of Understanding was executed between NHPC and JKPDC on 3rd January 2021 in respect of execution of Kirthai-II 930 MW Hydro Electric Project (HEP) through the Joint Venture Company CVPPPL and execution of Stage II of Uri-I 240 MW HEP, Dulhasti Stage-II 258 MW HEP and 1,856 MW Sawalakot HEP by NHPC on BOOT basis.
It was informed that Government of India has notified a New Central Sector Scheme for Industrial Development of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir on 19.02.2021 with an outlay of Rs 28,400 crore to boost industrial development.
“Various policy initiatives have been taken by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and J&K Industrial Policy 2021-30; J&K Industrial Land Allotment Policy 2021-30; J&K Private Industrial Estate Development Policy 2021-30 and J&K Wool Processing, Handicrafts and Handloom Policy 2020 have been notified for making the UT an investor friendly destination”, the MHA said, adding “these initiatives have led to receipt of investment proposals worth Rs 80,000 crore with employment generation potential of more than 3.5 lakh”.
During 2022-23, an investment of Rs 2,153 crore has been materialized providing employment to more than 11,000 persons. This has boosted the local economy and employment opportunities by increasing investment, the MHA further said.
Stating that Jammu and Kashmir has always been a preferred film destination, the Minister informed the Parliament that more than 400 permissions stand issued to Production Houses for shooting of movies, web series, documentaries and music videos after the issuance of Film Policy in 2021 which provides ease of filming through a single window clearance system.
Pointing towards Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Policy, 2020, which aims to make J&K most preferred all-season tourist destination for domestic and foreign tourists, the Minister said that the policy initiatives together with increased spending on infrastructure have resulted in unprecedented increase in the number of tourists (over 1.88 crore in the calendar year 2022 as against 1.13 crore in the year 2021).
In the calendar year 2022, 26.73 lakh tourists visited the Kashmir Valley, which is more than double the previous highest recorded so far. During the current calendar year 2023 (Jan-June), 1.10 crore tourists visited the UT of J&K out of which 16,423 foreign tourists have visited the UT of J&K which is approximately 4 times more than the previous figure of 4,411 in the corresponding period.
The Parliament was further informed that after the formation of the UT, large scale recruitment drive has been carried out and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has filled 29,295 vacancies. Moreover, recruiting agencies have advertised 7,924 vacancies and examinations in respect of 2,504 vacancies have been conducted.
Moreover, employment generation has been given a priority during these years and unemployment rate (Usual Principal Status) in J&K declined to 5.2 per cent. Even 82,015 units have been established under different self employment schemes as a result of which 2.85 lakh young men and women have been provided employment.