SOURCE: Hindustan Times
The Centre said on Tuesday that the Union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have been fully integrated into the mainstream and the decision to revoke the region’s special status over a year back “brought about socio-economic development”, even as the government continues to face criticism from the Opposition over the August 5 move.
Responding to All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi’s query, in which he asked about the impact of the decision to revoke the special status and bifurcate the erstwhile state of J-K into two UTs, Union minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy told the Lok Sabha that benefits of all central laws were now available to the region.
On August 5 last year, Parliament effectively nullified Article 370, which conferred special status on J-K, removed Article 35A, which empowered the state legislature to define permanent residents for government jobs and property ownership, reorganised the state into two separate administrative units of J-K and Ladakh, and made them both UTs. Regional parties have issued a joint statement, pledging that they will fight the constitutional changes.
Speaking in Parliament, convened for the first time amid unprecedented arrangements prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Reddy said: “…The change has brought about socio-economic development in both the new UTs of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Empowerment of people, removal of unjust laws, bringing in equity and fairness to those discriminated since ages who are now getting their due along with comprehensive development are few of the important changes that are ushering both the new UTs towards the path of peace and progress.”
Detailing the funds being infused in the region, the home ministry said that besides regular flow of money under various schemes by different ministries of the Centre, an amount of ?30,757 crore was allocated in the financial year 2020-21.
Replying to another query in the Lok Sabha, the home ministry said that there were 111 successful infiltration incidents into J-K from across the border between August 2019 and July this year. Between March and August this year, 138 terrorists were killed, while 50 security personnel have also laid down their lives, the ministry said.