It has been almost 17 months that Union government led by Prime minister Narendra Modi abrogated provisions of Article 370 and nullified Article 35 A followed by the downgrading of state into two Union Territories-Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. Since then the major developments, however continues to unfold with the recent one of merging Jammu and Kashmir Indian Administrative Service cadre into AGMUT.
As the Union Ministry of Home Affairs passed the gazette in this regard, the UT’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in winter capital-Jammu announced a mega industrial package of Rs 285000 crores to boost the industrial activities.
There have been no visible reactions on both the issues by the local stakeholders. Though the details of the industrial package are yet to be known, however, the merging of JK Cadre into AGMUT has amply clarified the motives of the centre. It has been since long time demanding the administrative reforms in Jammu and Kashmir.
As per the understanding of present regime in Delhi, the half of the problems exiting in recently carved out Union Territory are attributed to nepotism, red tape and massive corruption in the system. Those who are guilty of promoting red tape and corruption in the system are holding the top positions in the administration.
“While merging the JK Cadre into AGMUT, it paved the way for Union Government to bring the fresh breed of officers into JK from Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and other UTs of India”, a senior official serving in MHA told The Legitimate.
“There is a need to break the chain and lobby these officials have built over the years and pose severe hindrances in implementing developmental plans in UT.”
It is likely that as part of its administrative reforms, the New Delhi might depute the new layer of top officers to hold the critical positions in Jammu Kashmir.
“New Delhi knows that its Kashmir plan may not work unless it brings the major changes in administrative set up. With new policies in place and seeking their implementation from the existing administration is akin to serving old wine in new bottles,” said a senior official in UT, wishing not to be named.
As part of its larger plans, if sources are believed as many as 150 senior officials are being deputed to Jammu and Kashmir in coming times. On the other hand, most of the officials who had serious charges of corruption and irregularities will be transferred to other parts of country. It was not legally possible for centre without abolishing the JK Cadre and merging it with AGMUT.
It is also being planned; sources said, in future that all the district heads and HOD’s in the administration may not be held by any officer lower than the rank of IAS and IPS. Until now, in Jammu and Kashmir the officials from the JKPSC were also being posted as district officers besides heading the departments at par with IAS and IPS rank officers. The move, however, has not gone well in the public domain evoking sharp criticism. Most of the people in UT feel it as systematic disempowerment of locals with an abolition of state cadre.
“Now the centre may depute all the officers from Delhi to run the affairs in Jammu and Kashmir. It will be disempowering the local officers who may feel dejected,” said Sheikh Maqbool.
Zafffar Chowdary, a renowned journalist in Jammu in his video blog also suggested that local JKAS officers also need handholding after JK cadre was abolished and merged with AGMUT.
Meanwhile, handholding of the local JKAS officers is important for the centre in an order to balance the administrative set up and ensure the machinery is working properly and good governance is provided to the common people.
Even though no details of the recently announced industrial package of Rs 28500 are public and are believed for the setting up of new start ups at block level, the existing industrial units who worked all these years in the region demand also some handholding.
The industrialists in Jammu and Kashmir region claim that there is nothing for them in the package even though they worked in toughest times in Jammu and Kashmir.
Shahid Kamili, the president of Federation of Chamber of Industries Kashmir, said, “We want that the primary focus should be on existing industry,” he said.
In Kashmir, the business community also demands that locals must be provided opportunity in first place to set up the units.
“The locals shall be the first beneficiaries of the scheme. The government shall encourage local youth and engage them in startup activities,” former president of KCCI, Sheikh Ashiq told media.
The new industrial policy is envisaged to create 4.5 lakh job opportunities for the youth. Under the policy that will be in effect till 2037, two IT cities in Jammu and Kashmir will be established. The policy also provides substantial incentives to investors.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has already identified 6000 acres of land across various districts for the establishment of new units against which 3000 acres have already been acquired from the revenue department.
“With our transparent policies, investments in developing infrastructure, market-oriented policy environment and skilled human capital, we aspire to become a growth pillar for India in the current decade,” said Sinha. The scheme will boost domestic manufacturing in the region and help J&K in becoming aatmanirbhar (self-reliant),” Sinha told reporters in a press briefing.