Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu has extended greetings and good wishes to the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the occasion of 71st Republic Day.
Following is the full text of the Lieutenant Governor’s Republic Day Message:
Brothers and Sisters, 71 years ago on this day, we became a Republic. We, the people of India, constituted ourselves into a democratic republic, giving ourselves a framework to secure justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. Hence, this day holds a special place in our hearts.
We have come a long way in 71 years. We have overcome many challenges to make a success of the biggest democracy in the world, preserving its rich traditions, ethos and values. As we celebrate this Day through the year long activities and promote awareness of the fundamental duties of citizens, let us reaffirm our resolve to abide by the values laid down by our founding fathers.
Last year has been a year of momentous change for the people of Jammu & Kashmir. The abrogation of temporary provisions have removed the artificial legal and economic barriers between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country and have fully integrated Jammu and Kashmir in the true sense of the term. The legal architecture and system prevailing in the rest of the country has been made applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Jammu and Kashmir now stand on the same pedestal as those in the rest of the country, with the same rights, benefits and prospects. Women and weaker sections like Scheduled Castes & Tribes, West Pakistan Refugees and Safai Karmacharis, now have equal democratic and economic rights. Barriers to industrial growth and trade have been removed.
On this day, I salute the bravery of our police and security forces for battling militancy and ensuring that there is public order in Jammu and Kashmir. The Nation is proud of them. We also pay homage to civilians who have fallen prey to wanton violence. Militancy remains our biggest concern as innocent youth are indoctrinated to take misguided path. Although incidents of militancy have come down drastically, the threat posed by it requires attention not only to eradicate it but also prevent loss due to it. Our valiant security personnel need to continue to be on guard to thwart any attempts to disturb peace across Jammu and Kashmir, thereby disrupting the development, growth and opportunities for peace loving people.
Jammu and Kashmir is now at the doorstep of a brighter future. As Jammu and Kashmir progresses in step with the rest of the country, there will be a boost to private investment and great opportunity for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The economy will grow with more economic opportunities, businesses will thrive and the people of Jammu and Kashmir will gain on all fronts. 55 Central schemes for the benefit of individuals such as scholarships, pensions, insurance schemes, income support schemes and loans will be fully implemented with 100% coverage. All toll posts in Jammu and Kashmir have been abolished from 1st January 2020. I assure entrepreneurs that the Government will take all measures to ensure that the local industry becomes competitive.
The last 1½ years have been transformative for Jammu and Kashmir in many ways. Under Governor’s and President’s Rule, the goal has been simple – Good Governance and Delivering Development. To provide Good Governance, a people-centric and development-oriented work culture has been introduced with a focus on results. The goal has been on timely completion of projects and delivery of benefits. In future, we will take more measures to ensure that government is run in a rule based manner with no arbitrariness or delays. Accountability will be ensured at all levels. The primary duty of government employees is public service and this will be ensured.
A lot has been done on the development front in the last 18 months. Implementation of Prime Ministers Development Programme (PMDP) has been accelerated with substantial progress in 1½ years as compared to the previous 3 years. Work has begun on the two AIIMSs, IIT, IIM, tourism projects, Jammu Ring Road, Akhnoor Road, Chenani – Sudh Mahadev road, Pakal Dul and Kiru hydropower projects, power transmission and distribution projects, Smart Cities, Dal lake, Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project, jobs and houses for Kashmiri migrants, and rehabilitation of Displaced Persons from POK and Chamb. Many of these are either fully or almost complete such as the two big stadiums in Jammu & Srinagar, raising 4 new police battalions, improving healthcare infrastructure in districts, flyover in Srinagar and the first phase of the Jhelum flood management program. JTFRP, where expenditures were less than 1% in July 2018, now has 85% projects awarded and under implementation. This demonstrates the seriousness with which work is being done.
On languishing projects, the JKIDFC has delivered remarkably. Projects as old as 25 years are being completed rapidly with almost 50% of the 2,263 projects approved to be completed by March 2020 and most of the rest by March 2021. The impact of this in terms of bridges, roads, drinking water supply schemes, sports facilities and healthcare infrastructure is visible on the ground.
Many other iconic projects have also moved ahead. The long pending Shahpur Kandi project on Ravi is under construction and will irrigate 32,000 ha by 2023. The Ratle and Kiru projects will generate almost 1500 MW of power in 5 years. The Ujh project, which is in the final stages of sanction, will irrigate another 32,000 hectares. We should soon get a gas pipeline to Jammu and then going to Srinagar. We will build 2,000 km roads under PMGSY by March, 2020. Two metro transit projects in Jammu and Srinagar have been finalized and the Elevated Light Rail Systems here will revolutionise the urban landscape of the two capital cities. The Metropolitan Region Development Authorities in Jammu & Srinagar, covering over 2,000 sq kms each, have finalized large regional development plans with over 100,000 units of new housing in a modern, metropolitan environment. Two iconic IT Towers are being built in Srinagar and Jammu which will generate thousands of jobs and also be a landmark on the skyline of the cities.
The Dal-Nageen lakes are being revived to their pristine glory through a multipronged approach including construction of a western foreshore road, developing Dole Demb and three locations for houseboats with bio-digesters, modern STPs for affluent treatment and beautification of the water front.
Strengthening grassroots democracy is part of the goal of good governance. Governance is best administered at local levels. We have held elections to Panchayats, Block Development Councils (BDCs) and municipal bodies; and transferred funds, functions and functionaries. Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) have an opportunity now to develop model villages to realize Gandhiji’s dream of modern villages in a developed India. To make these bodies more effective, the honorarium of BDC Chairpersons has been fixed at a reasonable level with a superior status. We have a responsibility to make these new decentralized structures succeed. Government will establish Digital Village Centers (DVCs) at Gram Panchayats across Jammu and Kashmir equipped with IT infrastructure and connectivity. The second Phase of “Back to Village” (B2V2) Programme was successfully conducted from 25th to 30th November, 2019, to assess the functionality of Panchayati Raj Institutions and follow up on B2V held earlier in May. This special initiative has been appreciated by all. The 74th Constitutional Amendment strengthens Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and devolves power to them. ULBs are being strengthened by devolving and decentralization of powers and responsibilities. Following the ULB elections, these bodies have received Rs. 1,180 Crore grants so far and will get Rs. 1,335 Crore more. These empowered bodies are going to be the institutions which will transform the urban landscape.
36 Union Ministers visited Jammu and Kashmir last week and undertook extensive tours of districts covering 60 different locations. The outreach programme covered five themes, viz., delivering development in President’s Rule and thereafter, 100% coverage of 55 beneficiary oriented schemes, infrastructure development, good governance and rule of law with equality of opportunity to all and rapid industrial and economic growth in all sectors with a focus on incomes and employment. More such visits are being planned later.
Last year, the Honorable Prime Minister visited Leh, Jammu and Srinagar. Not only did he inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of projects worth over Rs 35,000 crores; he also laid down a vision of progress and prosperity for Jammu & Kashmir. In June 2019, the Hon’ble Union Home Minister came and emphasized upon the importance of prioritizing individual centric development progammes including pensions, scholarships, animal husbandry and horticulture programmes, handloom and handicraft schemes, so that the benefits flow to even the smallest households. We are moving ahead steadily to fulfill this vision. We have sanctioned over 1.3 lakh new pension cases in the last year.
Jammu and Kashmir is prone to a variety of natural calamities. The untimely snowfall in November and the rains in December, 2019 have caused losses to farmers. Adequate funds have been kept with DCs to provide relief to affected farmers and people. To strengthen winter response, new equipment such as 22 Bulldozers, 16 Snow Plough Machines and 4 sophisticated Snow Cutter Machines have been procured. My heart goes out to all those affected by these calamities and those who have to suffer hardships during winters. We will do all we can to alleviate their hardships. We will upgrade our machinery and equipment.
Power is a crying need in Jammu and Kashmir, more so in winter. We have unbundled the Power Department into 5 companies, while protecting the interests of existing employees. This will improve the power scenario gradually. The two MDs of Discoms are working to maintain the power system functional in both divisions. Buffer stocks of poles and transformers have been kept in districts to reduce down time. As transmission and distribution projects get completed and the corporations run on sound commercial lines, we expect the power scenario to improve.
The health system has been a stellar performer in the last year. 7 new medical colleges will lead to doubling the number of seats. We have approved creation of over 1000 posts at Ayurveda College Akhnoor, at Unani College Ganderbal, at New Pediatrics Hospital, Bemina, at Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience-Kashmir and at New Maternity Hospital, Gandhi Nagar, Jammu. Jammu and Kashmir is a leader in Ayushman Bharat with 57% of families having a Gold Card. The Health Care Investment Policy and the 2 Medi-cities at Vijaypur and Awantipora will make Jammu and Kashmir a healthcare tourism destination.
The agriculture, horticulture and animal & sheep husbandry sectors are vital for generating livelihoods for over 70% of our people. The Market Intervention Scheme for apples ensured that a minimum price for apple farmers was maintained and apple trade got restarted even under militant threats and action. E-platforms are being established at Srinagar and Jammu. New Mandis are being set up and we have plans of reforming the Mandi system. 25 CA Stores with storage capacity of 1.17 Lakh MTs have been set up in the private sector. The Saffron Mission projects will be completed this year to enhance saffron productivity and production. We are committed to tripling saffron production in Jammu and Kashmir.
A mega Sheep Farm has been set up at Khimber near Srinagar. Poultry estates for private investors are being set up in Kashmir and Jammu. A Dairy Mission is being set up to make Jammu and Kashmir surplus in milk and other products and make it a net exporter. As the largest high grade wool producer in the country, Jammu and Kashmir will develop a vibrant and a remunerative wool processing sector.
Jammu and Kashmir intends to be a leader under the Jal Jeevan Mission for providing piped water supply (Har Ghar Nal se Jal) to every household. We will complete the work in 7 districts this year itself and the rest in 2021. The procurement systems of PHE department have been revamped for this purpose. DCs have prepared district-wise Water Security Plans in consultation with Panchayats.
Education and Skill Development are critical for making our youth employable. The Hon’ble Prime Minister has praised the achievements of ‘Himayat Programme’ in Jammu and Kashmir while addressing the Nation in “Mann Ki Baat”. He shared the success stories of candidates-Raqeebul Rehman from Anantnag, Parveen Fatima from Kargil and Fayaz Ahmed from Doda. This is indeed a matter of joy and pride for us. At the same time, it shows that Jammu and Kashmir is full of talent, which if supported can excel in all fields. In 2019, we approved 52 new Colleges across Jammu and Kashmir and created 572 posts for them. We will establish 10 new professional colleges in Jammu and Kashmir. Each college shall be mapped with ITIs and Polytechnic for skill training. Super 50 classes were established in 10 districts with an intake capacity of 100 students per centre to coach students for professional entrance examination.Further, over 29,000 children of nomadic population were provided teaching facility in 1,378 Seasonal Centers. The conversion of over 36,000 ReTs as regular teachers is an enviable achievement.
As a leading sector, Tourism promotion is a priority. Tourism fairs and media promotion is being done to publicize the unique enchanting natural beauty of Jammu and Kashmir. On the pilgrimage tourism side, Sudhmahadev and Mantalai are being developed as important pilgrimage tourist destinations. Infrastructure at Dargah Hazratbal is underway. Around 40 cafeteria-cum-public conveniences are being set up at various locations. The illumination work of the Tulip garden stands completed and the musical fountains in Dal Lake are a treat to watch. We intend to revamp the tourism set up to make it effective and efficient. In addition to existing locations, we will promote new destinations in both Kashmir and Jammu provinces. There will be a separate session on tours and travels and tourism in the ensuing Investors Summit.
Government has begun providing 26 Government to Citizen (G2C) online services of 9 Departments. In addition, digitization of office records of departments is being done through a robust Document Management System (DMS) by adopting best industrial standards and quality checks.
The Forest department launched an integrated plantation initiative called “Green J&K Drive” under which over 20 Lakh plants have been planted so far with a target of 50 lakh plants.
An independent Registration Department for registration of deeds & documents has been set up with 67 sub-registrars and necessary staff. The objective is to provide speedy, efficient and transparent services to people close to their doorsteps.
Private sector investment is the key to growth and employment. Preparations for first ever Global Investor Summit for Jammu and Kashmir are in full swing. A curtain raiser was successfully organized in New Delhi few days ago to woo the potential investors. A new Industrial Policy 2020 for Large & Mega Units and for MSMEs has been prepared with 14 sectoral policies in the pipeline and with a list of ready to invest projects. The future of Jammu and Kashmir lies in attracting high quality investment which can create jobs for our youth.
The Government is seriously working on a Mission for Youth, a novel and a unique initiative for youth engagement in Jammu and Kashmir. The areas of intervention would include livelihood generation/skill development, education, skill development, financial assistance, sports including setting up sports leagues, recreation, counseling & therapy, and handholding support. The initiative will set up one-stop shops for our youth and enable them to lead productive lives. The ultimate objective is to channelize the energy of the youth in positive activities.
We will ensure recruitments are done in a transparent manner with a level playing field, giving opportunity to local youth. The reservation policy will be rationalized. All this will be done with a proper legal backing and recruitments will be resumed soon.
The law agencies required to put restrictions on many fronts. These have been largely relaxed in a gradual manner. We facilitated people to perform their tasks even under difficult circumstances. I thank the people of Jammu and Kashmir for cooperating on this front. These restrictions were necessary owing to the problems being created and propaganda from across the border. Our priority was that there should be no bloodshed which we have achieved.
On the security front, a substantial number of bunkers are now complete in border areas of Jammu and the rest would be completed soon. We have sanctioned bunkers in Bandipora and will be doing so in Baramulla and Kupwara also. To improve investigation of Cyber Crime, two Cyber Police Stations have been set up, one each at Jammu and Srinagar. Out of 2014 sanctioned posts for 2 Women Police Battalions, the process of recruitment against 1350 direct recruit posts is in progress. Besides, out of 2014 posts sanctioned for 2 Border Battalions, the process of recruitment against 1350 direct recruit posts is in progress.
The constitutional changes have opened new vistas of development. We need to capitalize on the opportunities. The initiatives already taken for putting Jammu and Kashmir on the path of sustained development shall be given a further push. However, our efforts alone can’t make the difference. People need to come forward and supplement the initiatives of the Government. We will take Jammu and Kashmir to the path of rapid growth and development as envisioned by our Prime Minister. Let us all join hands to build a new Jammu and Kashmir.
Today, on behalf of all of us in the Government who have been working and dreaming really big for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, I am asking for your support, for your partnership, and for your confidence to move forward and usher Jammu and Kashmir into a refreshing era of peace, prosperity & development.
These are historic times. Jammu and Kashmir is seeing a new dawn. A dawn which promises hope, a dawn which will bring prosperity, a dawn which will lead to progress and a dawn which will usher J&K towards peace. The best way to overcome misgivings is to reaffirm our commitment to abide by the values of our Republic.
With these words, I would once again offer my greetings to the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the 71st Republic Day.