In his Republic Day address to the people of Jammu and Kashmir from Doordarshan and Radio Kashmir, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has said that dialogue is only way forward to resolve all issues. He appealed to the separatist leaders to open talks with the centre and discuss political issues threadbare seeking amicable solution.
“When they can talk to the leadership of neighbouring country they should also talk to the leaders of their own country and work for settlement of the basic political issues confronting Jammu and Kashmir for the larger interests of the people of the state”, he told the separatist leaders and added that political issues cannot be resolved by the gun or by money but across the table through a process of dialogue.
Giving full credit to people of Jammu and Kashmir for helping the government to maintain peace and carry forward development activities to all regions and sub-regions, Omar said that peace could not have been possible without the active support of common people. He expressed gratitude to them and said that with the rooting of peace in the state, people witnessed all round progress and development and added that the government would further upgrade this process.
“People are fountain head of power and their representatives at grass roots are real agents of socio-economic transformation,” said Omar adding that the state like Jammu and Kashmir cannot be governed from Srinagar and Jammu secretariats for its geographical diversity, remoteness and area specific problems.
“Recognizing this importance and empowering people to participate in plan formation and implementation of development schemes, the coalition government focused on creation of powerful Panchayat Raj system in the state. We held panchayat elections and transferred powers of 14 departments to them”, he said asking panchayat members besides focusing on the works of financial implications they should also concentrate on ensuring attendance of teachers in schools, availability of ration at ration depots, functioning of Aganwari Centres and so many other services entrusted to them by the government for better service delivery and good-governance.
Omar said that security of panchayat members, their insurance cover and their demand for honorarium have been well taken and state government has prepared action plan in this regard.
While talking about the corruption, Omar said that in order to curb corruption and upgrade transparency in the functioning of administration his government has implemented Public Services Guarantee Act (PSGA) and 20 more services have recently been incorporate in it raising the number of services to 69. He said implementation of Right to Information Act (RTI) has expanded the orbit for common people to question the government on its performance.
Omar said that creation of Accountability Commission, Vigilance Commission, placing of third party monitoring in place and other steps to check corruption and bring more transparency in the functioning of government departments are effective measures to address menace of corruption. He said that all government employees and all public representatives have been brought under the scanner of different institutions established for ensuring transparency and eradicating chances of corruption.
“At the end of the year the performance of the department will be judged on the basis of realization of physical targets and outcomes on ground and not on the present practice of judging the performance on the basis of financial achievements,” said Omar while talking about initiative of Results Framework Document (RFD).
On employment, Omar said that in addition of providing numerous opportunities of earning independent livelihood for educated youth under SKEWPY, his government has initiated and upgraded different programmes for self-employment and skill upgradation. He said thousands of educated unemployed have been absorbed in government services besides facilitating their placements in different private companies within and outside the State. He referred to the Central sponsored programmes of UDAAN and HIMAYAT in this regard.
Omar said that yet another innovative measure, his government is working on a strategy of filling up over 70,000 jobs in government sector through a fast track recruitment process. “I am confident that the recruitment agencies would make recruitments as fast as possible in this regard. I would be personally monitoring this process”, he said adding that though, his government is making all efforts to provide maximum employment opportunities to unemployed educated youth in government sector, however, the solution to the unemployment crisis has also to be sought outside the government departments.
“I have also approved ‘death in harness’ like scheme for labours for providing Rs. 2250 per month to a deceased labour family”, he said and elaborated that 1.42 lakh labour families have been registered for providing financial assistance under various heads. He said over Rs. 180 crore have been made available for providing financial assistance to labours under various schemes. “Here, I would appeal to all my labour brethren to get themselves registered in the Labour Department for obtaining financial assistance of various types”, he said.
Assuring the people of re-doubling of efforts by the government to seek all round and inclusive development across the state and reaching out to people in all regions and sub-regions equitably, the Chief Minister said that financial autonomy and economic self-reliance is his government’s cherished desire and focus has been concentrated on indigenous power generation, holistic development of horticulture, handicrafts, agriculture and allied sectors to create surplus economy.
Omar sought continued cooperation of people in his efforts to achieve peaceful and progressive Jammu and Kashmir and expressed the hope that 2013 will be the year of peace and progress in the state.