Memorandum submitted by a delegation of PDP MP’s including Mehbooba Mufti, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh and Tariq Hameed Karra to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi at a meeting in New Delhi today on 17th Oct 2014
J&K’s Reconstruction: Ideas and Initiatives
1. The core idea of reconstruction in J&K should be that the disaster provides an opportunity to build back better all the destroyed assets and leap frog into the 21st century.
2. Towards this end, the Government of India must speed track the Government of J&K’s partnership with the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) for conducting a Joint Rapid Damage Needs Assessment.More specifically, Track-III operations of the GFDRR– the standby recovery financing facility to channel international assistance for disaster recovery— must be pursued.
3. In addition to the Technical Assistance Fund, resources must be availed from the Callable Fund which provide speedy access to financial resources for disaster recovery.This could then be leveragedfor large resources from donor countries and multi-lateral financial institutions for long term post disaster recovery and reconstruct
4. The purpose of this partnership, which should be a Joint Mission,must be three-fold:
· First, list out the short-term government interventions required to initiate recovery,
· Second, arrive at the financial requirements needed to achieve overall post-disaster recovery, reconstruction and disaster risk reduction.
· Third, draw out a road map for J&K for capacity building in disaster risk management and in post disaster reconstruction.
5. In terms of geographical areas, there is need not only to define “flood affected” areas, but also “flood impacted” areas. While only a few districts have been affected by floods, most others have been impacted by the ravaging floods.
6. As regards losses, both public assets and private assetshave been damaged and/or lost. For public assets, the resources have to come from the Union. This can be worked upon as such, a “Public Infrastructure Reconstruction Plan”. As regards private assets not only do the personal assets (houses, cars etc) and business assets (factories, shops etc) the income loss has to be compensated.
7. For the uninsured the damage and loss information must be done as “self-assessment” ratified by the trade and industry associations.
8. In addition to these, the liabilities of households and commercial enterprise – principally repayment and interest on the bank loans and taxation to government –must be assessed and addressed separately.
9. The financial needs for recovery and reconstruction must be done following a sector by sector damage and loss assessment, which itemizes distribution and priority setting based on sectors of the economy, and different population groupings in the affected area.
The Memorandum: 10 point program
10. Peoples Democratic Party suggests that the focus of the post-flood rehabilitation program in J&K should be on restoration of livelihoods and rebuilding of the economy.
11. The floods have not only destroyed assets but severely impaired the process of income generation and it would take the state economy nearly a decade to reach the pre-flood levels of state and personal disposable income.
12. The recovery and rehabilitation in J&K must focus on asset loss in the following sectors:
a. Housing & public buildings,
b. Roads and bridges,
13. In addition to these the focus has to be on the income loss and liability commitments in:
14. Even as the State Government has after long delay submitted Rs 44000 crore relief and rehabilitation plan to the Government of India, it will take a long time to get these funds and benefits to fructify on the ground.
15. While the Government of India must fully fund this rehabilitation and reconstruction plan, it shall have to take some practical and urgent measures in the above listed sectors to address the issues of immediate concern.
16. First, include Srinagar in the Smart Cities announced in this year’s Union budget with an allocation of Rs 7000 crore in the current year. If Srinagar is included in the Smart Cities project, for which the money has already been provided in the budget, the process of rebuilding can start instantaneously and along futuristic lines.
17. Second, the union budget has for the current year has allocated Rs 2,000 crore for urban renewal and for making cities livable with better infrastructure. It is evident that no city can lay a greater claim on the project than Srinagar which needs to be made livable after undergoing massive destruction during the September floods.
18. Third, Srinagar should be also included HRIDAY (National Heritage and City Development and Augmentation Yojna) for conserving the heritage character of the city impaired by the floods. The financial resources have been provided for this in the Union Budget.
19. Fourth, the Calamity Relief Fund provide by the Finance Commission and recurring corpus of the state’s Disaster relief fund, should be treated as State’s funding support for the uninsured which is based on self-assessment and ratified by the local trade body or the bazaar committee. As such, these funds should provide default insurance across the States for small traders and businesses uninsured assets.
20. Fifth, in view of the fast approaching winter and that no construction is possible during that time, there is need to provide financial assistance for construction of temporary shelter sheds. This will help the flood victims survive the winter and they can start rebuilding their dwellings in April.
21. Sixth, the existing Rajiv AwaasYojana which is meant for improving and provisioning of housing, basic civic infrastructure and social amenities in urban areas should be extended to rural areas in J&K. The housing in rural areas has been devastated and this would go a long way in providing shelter for the marginalized rural population. Alongside this, it will strengthen the institutional and human resource capacities at the Municipal, City and State levels through comprehensive capacity building and strengthening of resource networks.
22. Seventh, market intervention is required by the Union/State Government to ensure that the costs of conducting horticulture business, which have dramatically shot up, is subsidized for this season. A part of the freight for transporting apples out of the state must be provided by the state. Otherwise, the sale of apples will be unviable and will cripple this sector.
23. Eighth, the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme of 2008 which hardly benefitted J&K must be run for one year in the state. Out of the Rs 72,000 crore debt relief to farmers in the country, J&K farmers benefitted only about Rs 300 odd crores. It would make up for the injustice to the farmers and growers of the state who are now in dire straits.
24. Ninth, banks must be instructed to strictly implement the Guidelines for relief measures in areas affected by natural calamity outlined RBI in its Master Circular. The financial assistance required by borrowers in the event of natural calamity must include uncollateralized fresh consumption loans, fresh loans for resumption of normal business and restructuring of the existing loans. Special attention must be given to workout relief program for Kissan Credit Card and Artisan Credit Card holders. This will provide enormous relief to growers in the horticulture sector and artisans in the handicraft sector. All ODs of borrowers must be converted into KCC lending.
25. Tenth, a special reconstruction group under the PM may be constituted which has economists, hydrologists, flood control engineers, urban and rural development specialists and health managers on it. The state could complement the effort with its own experts to make it sustainable