Commenting on the positive developments in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) over the past two years, Ambassador of India B.Vanlalvawna said that significant progress has been made to ensure transparent and accountable governance in the Union Territory by extending all Central laws including legislations meant for protecting and promoting social, economic and political rights of women, children and under-privileged sections. To strengthen grass-root democracy, elections were conducted for District Development Council in October -November 2020, with 51.7 percent voter turnout. Earlier, elections to Block Development Councils (BDC) were held for the first time in the history of J&K in October 2019 with 98.3 percent voter turnout. For the first time, women benefited from reservation bringing them into mainstream politics, APA reports.
The Ambassador said that during this period , 44 Digital village centres have been established to provide internet access to rural areas as well as access to e-delivery of Government services. Under a unique participatory program ‘Back to Village’, 50,000 families have been covered under state -sponsored Health Insurance Schemes and over 15,000 loans have been sanctioned which included 4600 loans for women entrepreneurs. To improve infrastructure in villages, over 20,000 development works have been identified directly by the people. Over 85,000 grievances have been received under an integrated grievance redressal and monitoring system out of which over 90 % grievances were addressed satisfactorily.
According to the Ambassador, in the last two years, 20 out of the 54 projects which have been identified under Prime Minister’s Development Package with an investment of USD 7.5 billion have been completed with 13 more are likely to be completed by the end of 2021-22 and remaining by 2022-23. Some of the projects include the Udhampur-Sringara-Baramulla Railway Link project which is under construction and the world’s highest railway bridge which is being built over the Chenab river for this link. Power generation capacity is to be doubled in the next 3 years with 3000 MW to be added by 2024-25. As a result of these developments which included laying down of new electric cables for 350,000 beneficiaries, Jammu and Kashmir has achieved 100 household electrification. Additionally, all 1.81 million rural households of J&K to have functional household tap connections by March 2022.
To stimulate industrial growth, a new J&K Industrial Development Policy 2021-30 has been notified with the aim to provide incentives to all new industrial units being set up in the UT as well as any existing units undertaking substantial expansions. Centres for Invention, Innovation, Incubation and Training have been established in Jammu and Baramulla as a joint venture between the Government and Tata Technologies, to provide training to unemployed engineers. Two IT parks, one each in Jammu and Srinagar will also be established in the near future.
Ambassador said free and universal healthcare insurance scheme in J&K has been extended to all residents of the Union Territory. In fact, J&K has one of the highest budget allocation for healthcare sector (5%) in India. Additionally, seven new medical colleges and hospitals including 2 AIIMS, 2 cancer institutes, bone institutes and child hospitals are being established in J&K. J&K is one of the leading states/UTs in India in COVID-19 vaccination coverage. Over 85 percent Healthcare workers have been vaccinated. 100 % vaccination of 1st dose (45+ years) in 9 out of 20 districts in the UT. With regard to the education sector, 50 new colleges are being established with additional opportunities to over 20,000 students. Seats for graduation in medicine (MBBS) have been increased from 500 to 1100 and 2 new AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), 7 new medical college, 5 new nursing colleges and 2 state cancer Institute are being established in the UT.
According to the Ambassador, to boost the Agricultural sector, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) will invest around 230 million USD into high density plantations of Apple, Walnut, Cherry, Pear over the next five years.Three cold storage clusters are also being developed with an investment of 67 million USD. To develop the sports infrastructure, 26 million USD have been allocated under Prime Minister’s Development Package and two Khelo India Centres of Excellence are being developed in Jammu and Srinagar.