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EDITORIAL

Update on ground situation

In his first interaction with media persons, the Corps Commander of 15th Corps, Lt. Gen. Om Prakash has been forthright in stating that despite considerable improvement in security scenario of the valley, sporadic events of militants striking at isolated targets have taken place at three or four places in recent past. In particular, he said that the broad-day attack in Pampore that took the toll of an army jawan is of serious nature.
According to knowledgeable sources, the ground situation is that infiltration from LoC has come down considerably not because of Pakistan containing it but owing to the Army stepping up surveillance and taking rapid and firm action whenever and wherever infiltration bid is made. The strategy of pinning down a posse of nearly 800 well-trained and well armed Pakistani terrorists to their side of the LoC .... .
....more

State's power needs

Power is one area that worries the Government and the people of our state. Despite many power projects completed or under completion in the State, power deficit remains the bane. The State has profiled its power needs and projects in the meeting of the state power ministers with the Planning Commission in New Delhi recently. The highlights of State's power projects are as this: (a) alternate transmission line from Jammu to Srinagar via Mughal Road link. It will relieve the valley of power woes in case of default in the existing transmission line (b) generation of 1320 Mega Watts of power through Thermal Power Generation Plan for the cities of Jammu and Srinagar. Secretary to the Union Ministry of Coal has assured to consider State's request for supply state... . .....more

Cooperative Societies in J&K

Dr Mohinder Kumar

Like rail, telegraph, land tenure and many other systems, we were introduced to cooperative system by the British colonialists during colonial era. The British Government of India enacted Cooperative Societies Act, 1901 based on the Reiffension model in Germany, with the difference that political interference was absent there though our system allowed this to happen in our cooperatives. Even as our earliest cooperatives were free from political . . .. ... ......more

Innovative Minds
For a happier India

Shivaji Sarkar

India is in a dilemma. Can it grow without foreign direct investment (FDI)? How is the country sailing through despite slowdown, lack of organised jobs and falling industrial production?
Indeed, this is a mystery. But, India's story is complex. .. .
..more

Interlocutors' report-missing the bull

R. S. Pathania

The enigma and anxiety over the much-awaited interlocutors' report is over now. Separatists, moderates as well as extremists including the self-styled 'Gandhi' and 'Mandela' of Kashmir, who throughout have avoided the interlocutors like plague, were the first to air their reaction. They have termed it as a 'time-buying' tactic of the Centre. Mufti Sayyid's P.D.P. has taken a middle-path while seeking immediate implementation of good recommendations in the report while leaving 'bad' ones. But at the same time, it has not delineated as to what part of it is good .. . ..more

EDITORIAL

Update on ground situation

In his first interaction with media persons, the Corps Commander of 15th Corps, Lt. Gen. Om Prakash has been forthright in stating that despite considerable improvement in security scenario of the valley, sporadic events of militants striking at isolated targets have taken place at three or four places in recent past. In particular, he said that the broad-day attack in Pampore that took the toll of an army jawan is of serious nature.
According to knowledgeable sources, the ground situation is that infiltration from LoC has come down considerably not because of Pakistan containing it but owing to the Army stepping up surveillance and taking rapid and firm action whenever and wherever infiltration bid is made. The strategy of pinning down a posse of nearly 800 well-trained and well armed Pakistani terrorists to their side of the LoC and denying them any chance of infiltration is causing deep frustration to their handlers in Islamabad. The result is that external terrorists hitherto enjoying a free day in Kashmir are suddenly finding their ranks shrinking and new recruitment becoming elusive. Recently security forces intercepted mobile telephone messages from the terrorist commanders in Poonch-Rajouri sector making fervent plea to the underground commanders of militant organization in the valley to send them reinforcement as their messages to handlers in PoK and Islamabad did not yield them any positive results. Pakistani handlers of militants in Kashmir pressurize them to undertake some bizarre activity that would convey the message across Kashmir that militancy is on its way back in the valley and the establishment would not be allowed to maintain the security grid. For quiet some time, reports are coming in that recruitment to the rank and file of militant cadres within Kashmir is also drying up. Kashmiri youth are evincing lesser and lesser interest in the fighting and making Kashmir a hostage to the oppressive covetousness of Pakistan.
While we may try to wish that these sporadic incidents of violence in the valley are mere expression of desperation on the part of beleaguered militants, the Corps Commander has rightly said that there could be some nefarious designs with the militants to conduct fidayeen type attacks on army formations. The fidayeen literally mean voluntary suicides, some of whom we have seen in the course of armed insurgency in Kashmir. It is one of the tactics in which a bomber ready to take his own his life blows up a targeted object causing large scale deaths and destruction. Undoubtedly, behind the recent acts of violence in different places in Kashmir valley is the desperation of the militants of having been pinned down by security forces to their hideouts. At the same time, what makes this handful of underground terrorists more desperate and, therefore, more violent, is that they are no more receiving support from the local population especially the youth. It is also true that their external handlers want them to be activated and indulge in large scale violence in the valley so that an impression is created that Kashmir insurgency is of indigenous nature and Pakistani gun wielders have nothing to do with it. This would vindicate Pakistan's long standing policy of denial.
There could be one more reason for sporadic strikes by the militants. They are aware that the Army and the State Government do not see eye to eye on the issue of withdrawal of AFSPA. By causing attacks intermittently, the handlers of militants expect the army to re-assert its stand that militancy has only come down but not finished and thereby exacerbate divergence between the Army and the State Government. The Corps Commander dealt with this question with superb statesmanship. He said the subject was not within his jurisdiction but in the jurisdiction of the Defence Ministry. More importantly, political consensus is also essential to come to grips with the issue of withdrawal of special powers.
Corps Commander's views show that the army is keeping itself fully abreast of the ground situation and anticipates what could be the future course of action of the enemy and what precautionary measures are necessary to be in place to meet any exigency. It is a matter of relief that the army is not going to lower the guard in any case and is fully prepared to meet the situation as it unfolds. The level of normalcy that has been reached has to be maintained and improved. Since most of the allegations against the army of violating human rights have been formally disproved and rubbished, and in some cases the authorities have taken the severest action against defaulters when they were brought to book, the cumulative effect is that hatred and animus against the army whipped up by inimical elements have considerably come down. This is a very healthy sign and the army deserves to be given three chairs for maintaining the highest standard of discipline and sense of duty. What the people of the State need to understand far all times is that the Indian Army is their own army, a force closely integrated into the social fabric of the nation.

State's power needs

Power is one area that worries the Government and the people of our state. Despite many power projects completed or under completion in the State, power deficit remains the bane. The State has profiled its power needs and projects in the meeting of the state power ministers with the Planning Commission in New Delhi recently. The highlights of State's power projects are as this: (a) alternate transmission line from Jammu to Srinagar via Mughal Road link. It will relieve the valley of power woes in case of default in the existing transmission line (b) generation of 1320 Mega Watts of power through Thermal Power Generation Plan for the cities of Jammu and Srinagar. Secretary to the Union Ministry of Coal has assured to consider State's request for supply of coal for undertaking this project, (c) generation of 450 Mega Watts of power through solar energy in Leh. Only 50 to 60 MW will be consumed by Ladakh and the rest will go to other parts of the State. These seem sound projects and will certainly improve the present power position of the State. There was no specific mention of increasing power production in the annual plan discussions with the Planning Commission. However the gap has been filled and adequately by the plans projected in the meeting of Power Ministers of the States. This brings a ray of hope to the much power starved areas of our hilly state.

Innovative Minds
For a happier India

Shivaji Sarkar

India is in a dilemma. Can it grow without foreign direct investment (FDI)? How is the country sailing through despite slowdown, lack of organised jobs and falling industrial production?
Indeed, this is a mystery. But, India's story is complex. Some regions are growing faster than the national economy. Gujarat is growing at 10.28 per cent annually, Bihar and Orissa nearly match it in percentage terms. Uttar Pradesh is a laggard.
Interestingly, the rural sector is an island of happiness though not in terms of prosperity. It is marketing innovations and parallel power supply system. Surprisingly, the UP hinterlands have cash flows wherein the State's magic for sustenance is the high volume food grain and vegetable trade. The supplies reach Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal and in some cases even Tamil Nadu.
True, UP does not have Gujarat's grandeur which is flush with funds from indigenous as well as foreign sources. Industrialists shun the State due to its lack of official culture notwithstanding young Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Even industries in Noida and Ghaziabad are moving out to safer pastures, where they would not be exploited by goons and not suffer power shortage.
Yet States like UP and Chhattisgarh, riven with Naxal menace, have a penchant for survival. The magic? Cash flow, naturally. Ditto Punjab, which again is not lacking in cash flow.
Questionably, is this black money? Yes and no, as all cash flow might not be black money which poor States like Bihar, Assam and other North Eastern States can attest to. Besides, the economy survives on fast cash transactions and in some cases, credit by private sources at high interest rates. Also, default in these economies is rare.
Pertinently, bank transactions are not unknown. Many dealings take place directly as small businesses want to avoid the hassle of banking procedures and the high costs imposed on them. So a central UP potato trader is delivered money immediately through different channels by a Maharashtra trader or any other State. As this is a foolproof system.
Do the traders pay tax? Yes, but not at the official 'extortionist' level. Needless to say the transaction procedures need to be simplified and taxes decreased from the current oppressively high rates and at multiple points to ensure more small traders trading inter-State.
Arguably, if the traders have to pay tax at all the levels, they would be left with little money to operate. Thus, various State Governments need to devise an honest method and simplify the tax system to ensure traders comply with it. This would avoid double, triple or quadruple taxes which is a disincentive for trading and would help keep prices at an affordable level for consumers.
But this has a flip side. The present system compromises on wages. Certainly, MNREGA has made some difference whereby rural wages have increased. But so have the costs of the rural entrepreneur which has resulted in increased prices of goods and commodities. Clearly, the high vegetable prices are a result of this increase.
Also, policies decided at the Central level without considering its implications could cause an adverse impact on the economy. The recent economic reforms proposals, mostly targeted for corporate intrusion into hinterlands have under-estimated the capacity of small traders, entrepreneurs and businessmen. Whereby, our policy makers need to realise that howsoever they might have contempt for rural entrepreneurs, the economy cannot grow without their active participation. It does not require large infusion of funds, least of all foreign funds.
Leading to another question. How can an economy grow without funding? Small States show the way as they have enough money flow. Provided, unrealistic rules and penchant for taxing every activity does not come in their way and stall progress the Indian economy could grow faster and in a much robust manner.
Moreover, the globalised economy, propagated by the large corporate under the aegis of World Bank-IMF, is keen on creating economic monopolies. They do not allow free growth or free functioning of individual enterprises. In such monopolies, the individual unorganised enterprises are disliked as they cut into profits of large corporate.
The global economy also has a tendency of routing transactions through a more expensive banking system and makes individual operations uncompetitive. In short, it aims at weakening the foundation of UP, Bihar, North-East, Punjab, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir. Today, if these areas are not in distress, it is thanks to the cash transactions taking place at different levels.
Furthermore, if India has survived the Lehman crisis, it is because of its strength in transacting in cash without credit. Large economies are crashing owing to over-concentration of activities and offering credits beyond the capacity of the system. Remember, the Lehman Brothers and other financial institutions collapsed for this reason.
Undoubtedly, the strength and success of our system needs to be made more powerful. This potency comes from decentralised operations which the country needs to protect it at all costs. This should be considered a safety valve. The recent efforts of the Reserve Bank and bureaucracy at centralising all such activities are fraught with greater risks.
It also needs to be understood that these are not black money operations. Given that the definition of black money itself is convoluted. It needs to be made clear that any money out of centralised banking operation is not always black money.
Additionally, the tendency to tax all operations is also a risk as it makes transactions difficult and expensive. This can also result in putting an end to the way smaller economies sustain themselves. If people are sustaining themselves today they might have a happy tomorrow. The different dynamics shown by innovative entrepreneurs should best be left unhindered.
Today, India ranks second in the Global Innovation Efficiency Index of World Trade Organisation (WTO). It is for the enterprises of the unsung individuals. The Planning Commission, Central and State Governments have offered little to create this innovation.
In sum, if people are finding ways for a better tomorrow, they need to be encouraged and protected. The State needs to stop stifling such innovative functioning in the name of regulations. It should realise human civilisation has evolved through freedom of innovative activities. If some Indians have it let them thrive because in their success lies the future of India! ( INFA)

View realities in right perspectives

Harjinder Singh

Last month a debate was going on in a TV channel about enactment of Jan Lok Pal Bill. Mr Katju presently Chief Press Council of India opined that what was the guarantee that those recruited for the Jan Lok Pal office would themselves not indulge in such practices. This indicates degeneration and turpitude in the society has reached alarming proportions. Many analysts also seem to be in a dilemma and mostly blame our educational system, declining religious and moral values and western influence for the prevalent perfidy. We discuss these one by one before arriving at some conclusion.
Educational system
In the sphere of education, Indians have made their name in academic and professional excellence and a credibility in the field of Science, Arts and Mathematics. They may not be innovative at par with the Europeans but are among the best in memory faculty and intelligent quotient. Our IITians are engineers/technocrats par excellence and have been top echelon in many reputed international enterprises. But despite this all, it is generally believed our educational system produces best engineers, doctors and scientists but not good human beings. Our system does not inculcate in as morality, ethic and sensitivity. On the other hand, if we compare our educational system with that of westerners, we find moral and ethical values have never been an essential part there too. No stress laid on novality. Teacher student relation is also not of guru-deciple type as in India. The teacher is less revered over there. Their children are not controlled like ours. Students indulge in wilfulness, volition is very common and all this goes on in the name of individual freedom. Despite all this, children there, have the sense of saying-thank you, please and sorry to others. They are more law abiding and equally sensitive to their rights and duties. This shows it is not preaching which matters or motivates but the very system in which an individual with his freedom has to fit in.
So we can safely deduce that education may help in infusing moral values but can not be held wholly responsible for this sad state of affairs.
Lack of religious and moral values
No doubt India has been land of great civilization and religions, of the world. It has been land of sages producer of great epics, treasure trove of spirituality original thinkers. To take pride in such a past is but natural. But to keep on repeating and relating ones own version without considering modern times realities, is equally unnatural. The argument of lack of socio-religion values does not cut much ice for the present bad or gone out of order socio political system. Scientific and technological advancement has changed man's outlook. Man is not at the mercy of nature as he was a few centuries ago. Our interpretation of religion and our conceptions and perceptions can not be same now. Many myriads of mystery have been reduced to simple scientific facts. Wraths of God or nature in the shape of storms, floods, droughts,epidemics and other calamities haunt us no more. Solar systems and galaxies million of light years away can be seen through a telescopic lens. In this age of nano technology there is every possibility that our body parts will be available like other machines parts. The concept of God and religion has undergone a tremendous change. Today's man is more spiritual and less a follower of an institutionalized relgion. Though religion will continue to influence millions of people in time to come also but the morality connected with the religion will be transformed, not ostensible but actually true. Today most corrupt people are apparently very religions. In such a scenario law of land takes precedence over fear of God.
Western influence
It is generally said that under the influence of western culture, we have given up our value system and landed in a highly degraded and depraved social system. We may indulge in vainglorious talk about our culture or civilization but the hard fact, we failed to protect our dignity and freedom in the past and in the long past. Casteism, regionalism, egotism or any other ism kept as divided. We preferred outsiders to our people to rule us. Centuries of slaverly has infused a sense of insecurity in us. Our mentality is fearful. Under such conditions moral integrity becomes a casuality. Now with this background we need to view our present. The world is shrinking. Borders and boundaries are barriers no more. Cultures are intermingling thus influencing and impacting one another. When two things intermingle, whether they are cultures, societies, people or any thing else, the weaker one is impressionable or easily influenced. We are not being compelled by westernrs to follow them, it is our compuslion to change our outlook.
They are ahead of us and to move forward, we have to look ahead. If we were so fearful and cautions about our culture we should have adapted the Chinese model of secrecy, one partly rule and cut off from outside world. Even Chinese who first progressed, then came on the centre-stage could not escape influence; Hong Kong is the living example. But in our case it was totally impossible, as said above, we were weaker side. Moreover we chose the path of democracy, liberty and transparency and are basically open and flexible mostly. Many of us say 'agreed, influences are there but we should not have copied westerner's culture and values blindly. The simple explaination to this is in transactions and dealings, it is difficult to be selective especially when the other side is very much progressive. We can not say jeans and jackets are OK for men but pants are not proper for women. On the other hand, if we had really something too give, we have given that. Yoga has been acknowledged and adapted by westerners. Even spirituality and meditations greatly impressed them. Our god men are flourshing there and telling them Indian's way of life. So western culture should not be considered as our bete noire.
From the above discussion we reach the conclusion that instead of complaining and grousing we should try to view the realities in their right perspective. There may be need to change educational system, revist our value system and keep the society aware of some wrong influences but all this has to be done with eyes not on the past, but as per present times needs. We have to strive to find ways and means to create a society free from malice, greed, superstitions, insensitivity and malpractices and a system which works automatically. The attempts are already being made in this direction. The situation has started taking a turn. But there should be no scope of laxity. Comming into being of RTI Act, Accountability Commission, CIC, CVC, NIA are going to bring a sea change in our socio-political system. Media hawkish eye has already started peeping deep into misgovernance and misdoings of those at helm of affairs. With enactment of Jan Lok Bill much improvement is expected.
But all this needs a change in our mind set, no more behaving like a spoilt child. Supremacy of the law of land has to be accepted by one and all. Violators big or small, high or low must not go scot free. Some say who will do this ? The answer is, time has come. When the conditions are ripe things start happening automatically. Movements are rising. Anna Hazare and Baba Ram Dev along with other whistle blowers need our cooperation. But the thing of utmost importance is, agitation and movements should not be given any tinge of religion, and purely on secular lives. Very necessary for us to be positive about changing scenario of Indian polity.

Interlocutors' report-missing the bull

The enigma and anxiety over the much-awaited interlocutors' report is over now. Separatists, moderates as well as extremists including the self-styled 'Gandhi' and 'Mandela' of Kashmir, who throughout have avoided the interlocutors like plague, were the first to air their reaction. They have termed it as a 'time-buying' tactic of the Centre. Mufti Sayyid's P.D.P. has taken a middle-path while seeking immediate implementation of good recommendations in the report while leaving 'bad' ones. But at the same time, it has not delineated as to what part of it is good and what one is bad. The ruling parties, National Conference as well as Congress, are yet to come out with an official version on the report but for some off-the-track outbursts of Sher-e-Kashmir's younger son, Mustafa Kamaal.
The 176-page report calls for setting up of a Constitutional Committee to review the application of all central laws to the state if these laws have eroded the special status of the state. It also calls for review of DAA and AFSPA, Judicial Commission for unmarked graves, replacement of word 'temporary' in Article 370 of Indian Constitution with 'special', strengthening of governance and institutions, Indo-Pak trade and greater cultural relations between people from various parts of the state.
A team of interlocutors comprising of celebrated journalist, Dileep Padganokar, M. M. Ansari and Prof. Radha Kumar had been appointed by the central government on 13th October, 2010. They undertook eleven extensive visits throughout the length and breadth of the state. A total number of 700 delegations hailing from various streams and strata of society called on them. The interlocutors also profess of having perused various standpoints, formulae, articles and shades of opinion on the issue. It is with regard to the process of interlocution that I could scarcely skip a mention of an interactive session of interlocutors with Bar Association Jammu led by its president, B. S. Slathia, senior advocate, at Hotel Ashok, Jammu. I could also scarcely forget the concluding remarks of Mr. Dileep Padgaonkar, "This is the most fruitful interaction I have ever had regarding this job of finding a permanent political settlement in J & K".
The delegation of Jammu Bar had made it clear to the team of interlocutors that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are three distinct areas with people in these regions speaking different languages, wearing different attires, having different cultures, feeding habbits, climates, topographies, developmental needs and political aspirations too. In order to find an everlasting and permanent political workable solution, the entire state has to be taken as one cohesive unit for purposes of study, analysis and making recommendations. Fact remains that despite having bigger area and more electorate, Jammu has lesser seats in the Parliament, State Assembly and Panchayats. I had also quoted figures in support of my argument:
I had propounded a novel idea of rationalization of the Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and Panchayat seats in J&K by adopting a fair/uniform criterion in delimitation of constituencies in the State proportionate to the electorate so that inequities and injustice could be plugged out. And a platform for a more strong and cohesive J & K is laid out. Reference was made to the findings and recommendations by two members of the Finance Commission viz. Swami Raj Sharma and Sonam Dawa with regard to gross disparity in allocation of funds to Jammu and Ladakh. I had also placed reliance on fact finding reports by Gajender Gadkar Committee, Sikri Commission, Wazir Commission endorsing discriminatory attitude towards the people of Jammu and Ladakh.
It was also brought in their notice that Kashmiris hold over 2,30,000 out of the nearly 2,40,000 positions in government and semi-government organisations in the Valley besides cornering about 25 per cent of jobs in the regional services of Jammu and Ladakh. An obvious corollary, out of the total of 35 positions of state government commissioners and secretaries, 31 go to the valley. Another corollary: out of the 1,55,000 absorbed in government service since 1996, only 15,000 are from Jammu. More than 50 per cent of the seats in Jammu's ill-equipped and understaffed medical and engineering colleges go to the students from the valley. Same is the case with Sher-e-Kashmir Agricultural University. And what about Ladakh? No such technical/professional institutions exist there! Jammu and Ladakh contribute over 90 per cent to the state exchequer. Only a small part of that is spent on the underdeveloped Jammu and backward Ladakh.
The interlocutors have reproduced, verbatim, even facebook messages from Kashmir. But the comprehensive memorandum submitted by Bar Association Jammu to the interlocutors does not find even a single mention in the said report.
The report reflects that state of J & K has to be kept together as one unit in the greater interest of nation. It also reports that gap between three regions is repeatedly increasing which is a worrisome thing. The report is also apprehensive of the sense of discrimination and neglect in Jammu and Ladakh regarding demarcation of constituencies, allocation of funds, professional seats, slots in services because people of both of these regions are pro-India. But at the same time, the interlocutors have not proposed any roadmap to address feeling of being let down in Jammu and sense of neglect in Ladakh. The report has smelled 'politics of pamper ' in Kashmir but has not proposed any formula which can act as a thread binding together the diverse cultures, aspirations, needs and political pursuits of the three regions. Biggest pity is that although disease, is more or less, diagnosed, but no treatment has been prescribed.
I have no qualms in labeling this report as totally unmindful of the political aspirations and interests of Jammu and Ladakh. The report has bred more gap and rancour between the three regions of this state, therefore, repugnant to the broader national interest too.
What is the sanctity of the proposed Constitutional Committee seeking to review application of Central laws in J & K when a committee appointed with the same mandate, led by eminent jurist, Justice D. D. Thakur, had already opined, "Clock cannot be set back".
Nevertheless, the intelligentsia and civil society in Jammu as well as Ladakh have kept their ears close to the shaky ground in J & K. They shall not allow a solution of the sort playing true to the tune of Kashmiri and rather Pakistani appeasement. Be a Hindu, Muslim, Pahari, Gujjar, Jatt or Sikh from R.S. Pura, Rajouri, Udhampur, Pir Panchal or Chenab Valley, or a Lama, Budhist or Shia from Ladakh and Kargil, the people over here are ready to shed the last drop of their blood for an even an inch of Kashmir. May it be Poonch agitation of 1970s , Durbar move spill-over of 1980s or the recent Sri Amarnath land transfer row, time has testified as to when Jammu rises with a tricolor in its hands, it flaunts and asserts and rather sweeps like an avalanche - spontaneously throwing out leaders, situations and its own rules of the game. The famous Ladakh agitation of early nineties re-incarnating Gandhiji's civil-disobedience movement in Ladakh is also an eye-opener - too thick to be looked over likely.
What would be the stake and role of Jammu and Ladakh in the finding a permanent political settlement for J & K, the answer lies hidden but in the womb of future. But, the rich culture, past history, nationalistic track record and greater area and populace of the regions - having successfully withstood invasions, cultural incests, intrusions, catastrophes and mass-conversions in the past - certainly call for a greater involvement of Jammu and Ladakh.
As the maxim goes, 'the churning is always for the nectar to rise'
(The columnist practices law at the J & K, High Court of Judicature)



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