5 August 2021 marks the second anniversary of abrogation of Article 370. On 5 August 2019, Government of India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two Union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Significant developments have taken place in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladhak in the fields of constitutional laws, infrastructure, energy, irrigation, communication, investment, employment, IT, education, tourism and women empowerment.
Some of the key developments that happened in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh since 2019 are listed here:
* All 890 central laws have now become applicable to J&K which includes Right to information, Juvenile Justice Act, SC / ST Act 1954, Whistle Blowers Protection Act 2014, Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest dwellers Act 2007, National Commission for Minorities Act, Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
* Reservation extended to left out categories like Pahari speaking people and economically weaker sections. Citizenships and benefits to sanitisation workers. Displaced persons of PoJK and Chhamb, West Pakistani refugees and residents of border areas have benefited under various schemes.
* With Article 370 and 35A gone, Kashmiri women can now marry outside Kashmir without losing rights over their properties in Kashmir.
* Reinstatement and rehabilitation of the original inhabitants of Kashmir is in progress. Those who were driven out of their homeland are gradually returning to Kashmir after three decades of deprivation.
* Substantial decrease in incidence of stone pelting, terror activities and citizen casualties in the valley is a big step towards restoration of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.
* 6 bridges in border areas of Kashmir have become operational. World’s highest railway bridge is being constructed over Chenab river. This will extend Indian railway service to North Kashmir. This work is expected to be completed by 2022.
* In September 2019, 15 power projects were inaugurated and foundation stones were laid for 20 more projects. All these come with an expected investment of ₹ 10,000 crore. Work on Shahpur-Kandi, an electricity and irrigation project hanging for five decades, is progressing at a rapid pace.
* In October 2019, Block Development Council elections were held for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir. With the conduct of elections for Panchayati Raj Institutions such as Panches and Sarpanches, Block Development Councils and District Development Councils, the 3-tier system of grassroot level democracy has now been established in Jammu and Kashmir.
* In February 2020, the Central government has approved a ₹ 6,000 crore multi-purpose project to provide uninterrupted water for irrigation to farmers in Kathua district of Jammu and to produce electricity.
* In February 2020, Bharti Airtel rolled out its 4G and 2G networks in 26 villages and became the first operator to bring mobile broadband connectivity to these villages in the high terrain region.
* In June 2020, the government announced its plan to achieve 100% telecom connectivity in all parts of Ladakh. The project will be executed by the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), using the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
* Till December 2020 the government had approved proposals of 33 companies to invest in Jammu and Kashmir.
* Municipal committees can now approve of projects up to ₹ Five Crore. Transparent e-tendering has been made mandatory
* Central Government launched 85 people-oriented development schemes like PM-KISAN-Pension, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and Start-Up India in Jammu and Kashmir.
* ‘Back to Village’ programme identified 20,000 developmental works in villages. As per the programme it is mandatory to identify at least 2 developmental works in each village.
* Mission Youth Initiative is trying to impart training to local youths in the fields of banking, fashion designing, cybersecurity, web designing, Robotics and Artificial intelligence.
* In November 2020, Mumkin scheme was launched to facilitate the youth to establish a sustainable livelihood line in transport sector by providing financial assistance for purchase of new small commercial vehicles.
* The UT administration is also focusing on reviving traditional means of livelihood in rural areas and imparting skills to the women to make them self reliant. Around 800 women have been trained from 7 centers and started their own businesses.
* The central government has approved ₹ 50,000 crore grid-connected solar photo-voltaic project spread across Leh and Kargil districts. So far, this is the single biggest investment proposal in the region since Ladakh was designated as a Union Territory.
* Ladakh Greenhouse project started to promote the use of Greenhouses in Ladakh to increase the availability of vegetables throughout the year through deep winter and to establish around 1676 greenhouses in the Leh and Kargil districts over 2 years of time with a budget of Rs 76.44 crore.
* Cultural tourism in Ladakh by the way of homestay in the monasteries which are present in almost all important parts of the region is being planned.
* Two large-sized IT parks (one in Jammu and one in Srinagar) are also being built in the region. In January 2021, NBCC and JK IT Infrastructure Development Company has signed MoU for the same.
* By 2025 IIT, IIM, 2 AIIMS, Central University, 7 medical colleges, 5 nursing colleges are expected to become functional. Fifty new educational institutions are being launched to provide quality educatuon to children of the Union territories.
* In July 2021, establishment of Central University of Ladakh at the cost of ₹ 750 Crore has been approved.
* One Bone Institute and two Cancer Institutes are being set up to improve the health and welfare sector.
* 25,000 government jobs will be created for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir by 2022. Almost 3,000 jobs have already been created and recruitments made since abrogation of Article 370.
* The New Industrial Development Scheme 2021 announced by the administration includes benefits and incentives up to the year 2037.
* Achieved 100 per cent household electrification.
* Household water connections have reached 43 per cent of rural households which is double the national average of 21 per cent, and a road map has been prepared to ensure 100 per cent coverage of piped water supply to all 10,816 rural households by December 2021.
In these two years, Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have seen a series of developments including speeding up of long pending projects as well as launching of new projects. The administration and the people are concentrating on bettering the lives of ordinary people. The aim is to attain developmental standards at par with other citizens of India. The successful completion of the projects is expected to enhance the beauty and potential of the Union Territories. Generation of employment will help in curbing militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and provide peace to people there.
The Union Territory Administration has also repealed the controversial and corruption ridden Roshni Act, 2001 in October 2020. Gross misuse of power to facilitate land-grab by the high and mighty has been exposed and recovery process is in progress through legal means.
Overall, it won’t be exaggeration to say Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have witnessed more developmental activities in the past two years since Abrogation of Article 370 than the 72 years before. As India marches towards Diamond Jubilee of Independence, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are finally joining rest of India in the march towards progress, prosperity and peace.
All information compiled in this article is fact based and can be verified on the web.