Text of the Governor’s Address to joint session of State Legislature

KL Report

JAMMU

1. I welcome you to this Joint Session of the State Legislature.

2. My Government has recently completed five years in office. During this period, the Government has pursued people’s welfare centric policies with dedication, commitment and a sense of urgency. The people of the State have also made a valuable contribution towards the restoration of peace and normalcy, which are crucial pre-requisites for securing growth and economic development.

3. The inclusive and equitable development of all regions of the State has been at the core of the Government’s policy objectives. Keeping in view the legitimate aspirations of the people of different regions, the Government has decided to establish a comprehensive network of new Administrative Units which will bring administration closer to the people. Accordingly, 46 new sub-divisions, 135 tehsils, 177 community development blocks and 301 niabats have been created and will be operationalised soon.

4. Over the past few years, there has been a decline in incidents of terrorist violence and a perceptible improvement in the internal security environment. During the year 2013, terrorist related incidents declined by around 23% over the pervious year. However, there were 244 ceasefire violations on the LoC and the International Border, which marked a large increase over the past year. It is also a matter for concern that as many as 53 Security Forces personnel were killed in 2013 against 15 such casualties in 2012. Taking a very serious view of such attacks, all possible corrective measures are being put in place. While paying homage to all the officers and men who laid down their lives for protecting the territorial integrity of our country, we shall need to keep in mind the increasing desperation of the militants and their sponsors from across and the likelihood that every possible attempt would be made to disrupt the two elections which shall be conducted this year. Our Security Forces shall have to continue their strict vigil along the borders.

5. The State Police is playing an increasingly important role in maintaining law and order and undertaking counter insurgency operations and it is hoped that in the coming time it shall be in a position to deal with most internal security challenges on its own.

6. The role of our Police and Security Forces personnel deserves to be lauded for their courage, professionalism, patience and utmost restraint while facing very difficult situations and operating in very trying circumstances. The Security Forces have been highly sensitized to ensure against causing any collateral damages or violation of Human Rights while carrying out counter militancy operations. New Standard Operating Procedures have been adopted and enforced as the operational guidelines for Security Forces to minimize the collateral damages during counter insurgency operations. The Government is committed to the policy of zero tolerance of any Human Rights violation and to take deterrent action against erring personnel.

7. Necessary amendments were brought about in the J&K Criminal Procedure Code last year to enable the State Government to notify the “Victim Compensation Scheme” which aims at providing financial help for the treatment, care and rehabilitation of the victims of crime.

8. Progressive improvement in the security environment has enabled the Government to gradually reduce the visibility of the

Security Forces and to reduce their foot print in the inhabited areas by relocating and redeploying them. As a result of this approach, nearly 1560 buildings – including schools, hospitals, hotels, industrial units, private buildings and cinema halls – occupied by the Security Forces have been got vacated and restored to their original use. Efforts are underway to have the remaining buildings also vacated at the earliest. It is also relevant to mention that 54 bunkers have been removed from public places in Srinagar city.

9. Due to progressive improvement in the overall security environment, over one million tourists per annum visited the State during 2012 and 2013. Side by side, the pilgrimage to the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine has also been gaining strength, having passed the ten million mark in 2012 and almost touched this mark last year. Due to the sustained efforts of the State Government and the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, there has been a significant improvement in the facilities provided to the pilgrims and this has resulted in sharply reducing the number of casualties in the 2013 Yatra.

10. At a time when the global and the national economies have been witnessing a slow-down, the economy of the State is looking up, propelled by increasing activities in the construction sector, trade, hotel industry, transport, communication and other services.

11. From the total plan allocation of Rs. 7300 crore for the current fiscal year, the Government has provided Rs. 1200 crore as the State share to secure over Rs. 4000 crore of funding under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes and various flagship programmes. In addition, an allocation of Rs. 600 crore under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan has helped fund critical infrastructure and environmentally sensitive projects and a capital expenditure of about Rs. 12000 crore will be incurred in the current fiscal year. This shall boost economic growth and help to upgrade our socio economic infrastructure. The benefits emerging from the substantial capital investments made in the last few years are already becoming visible.

12. In line with the recommendations of the State Task Forces, constituted for examining the developmental needs of the regions of Jammu and Ladakh, the State received Rs. 550 crore in the first two years and Rs. 140 crore has been made available this year.

13. The revenues of the State have shown a steady increase. In 2012-13, tax revenue of Rs. 5833 crore was collected, as against Rs. 4745 crore in 2011-12, thereby registering a growth of about 23%. The Government has switched over to electronic tax collection systems, providing facilities like e-registration and e-payment to the dealers. For efficient collection of tax and to further widen the tax-base, the Government is contemplating to progressively reform the tax collection system.

14. My Government believes that establishing connectivity by constructing roads of high quality is an essential pre-requisite for securing sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth. To achieve this objective, Rs. 862.39 crore were spent under R&B sector from the State Plan during 2012-13 to blacktop road length of 2290 kms. and lay Water-Bound Macadam (WBM) on 3625 kms. During the current financial year, road length of 1184 kms. has been blacktopped, WBM laid on 1593 kms. and 1857 kms. of new roads have so far been added as against 1538 in 2012-13. Under the NABARD loan assistance programme, 100 projects were completed with an expenditure of Rs. 161.82 crore in the year 2012-13 and 90 new projects, costing Rs. 265.74 crore, were sanctioned by the NABARD. In the current financial year, 17 NABARD assisted schemes have been completed so far and new projects worth Rs. 100 crore are also likely to be sanctioned before the end of the current financial year.

15. Under the Central Road Fund (CRF), a flagship programme of the Government of India, five major projects costing Rs. 39.20 crore were completed during 2012-13 and five additional projects were sanctioned at an estimated cost of Rs. 46.41 crore. Under the first phase, four laning of the Satwari-Kunjwani road has been completed at a cost of Rs. 19.49 crore during the current financial year and eight new projects, estimated to cost Rs. 98.10 crore, have been submitted for approval to the Government of India.

16. Under the Special Bridges Programme, 13 bridges with an investment of Rs. 12.57 crore have so far been completed during the current financial year, while 42 bridges, costing Rs. 56.94 crore were completed during 2012-13. The completed works include the fourth bridge on River Tawi, the Babliyan Gangyal bridge, the Nowpora Brinjan bridge and the Nikloora bridge.

17. Under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP), the Narbal-Tangmarg road was completed at a cost of Rs. 116.00 crore during 2012-13. 84.10 Kms. long Mughal Road, with 7 major bridges, has also since been completed. To make it an all weather road, proposal for the construction of a tunnel on this road is being pursued with the Government of India.

18. Under the Inter State Connectivity Programme, the Bhaderwah-Chamba road, costing Rs. 73.33 crore, has been taken up for improving inter-state connectivity. This project is likely to be completed during the next financial year.

19. Under Phase-II of the project, the four laning of the National Highway from Lakhanpur to Srinagar is being executed by the National Highway Authority of India at an estimated cost of Rs. 592.47 crore. So far, work on 115 Kms. stands completed under Phase-I.

20. In 2012-13, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, declared Kargil-Zanskar and Baramulla-Rafiabad-Kupwara-Tangdar roads as National Highways. The State Government is pursuing a proposal with the Government of India to have three more roads included in this category.

21. For providing dependable road connectivity to villages, 658 schemes, costing Rs. 1774.69 crore and covering a total road length of 3495 kms., were cleared by the Union Ministry of Rural Development, under Phases – VIII and IX of the “Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)” during the year 2012-13. Since the inception of this programme, 1976 schemes, with an estimated cost of Rs. 5037.77 crore, have been sanctioned within the first nine phases and, till November, 2013, 134 schemes had been completed in the current financial year. As a special dispensation, the Government of India has agreed to provide Rs. 710.00 crore to enable the State to fund the acquisition of land for the construction of PMGSY roads. Such assistance is not normally provided under the Scheme.

22. It is a matter of immense satisfaction that “India Today”, the premier news magazine, has conferred the “Best State Award” in 2013 to our State for improvement in infrastructure development. This award is a recognition of the large number of infrastructure projects which have been already completed in various sectors, the projects which are on-going and those which have been launched.

23. Recognizing that the Power sector is the back bone of our economy, it has been the consistent endeavour of the Government to harness the hydro-power potential of the State. During the financial year (2013-14), there has been a significant improvement in the generation, transmission and distribution of power. The State has drawn up an ambitious plan for launching new projects to add 9000 Mega Watts (MW) over the 12th and 13th Five Year Plans. Last year, Hon’ble Prime Minister had laid the Foundation Stone for the execution of the 850-MW Ratle Hydro Electric Project (HEP) and work is underway for the construction of 450-MW Baglihar-II, 47-MW Lower Kalnaie and 37.5-MW Parnaie HEPs. The State has also been allocated a coal block in Odisha by the Government of India, which is likely to add 600 MW of thermal power to the over-all power generation capacity of the State. Under the Central sector, two units of the 240-MW Uri HEP have been commissioned and it is expected that the project will be completed soon. Work on the Kishanganga HEP is also at an advanced stage. During the next financial year, it is expected that work shall commence on a number of other projects like the 660-MW Kiru, 560-MW Kawar, 1000 MW Pakaldul and the 93-MW New Ganderbal HEPs. The Government also intends to set up mini and micro hydel power projects in the State, with up to 2-MW capacity, and for this purpose, efforts are underway to begin work at 20 sites during 2014-15.

24. The transmission infrastructure also received a major boost during the year with the completion of Grid Stations at Amargarh, Shopian and Jourian and the 220-KV double circuit Zainakote-Amargarh transmission line. Besides, Receiving Stations were completed at Kanir, Kreeri, Hadipora, Devsar and Shastrinagar and the capacity of the Receiving Stations at Sainik Colony, Jammu, Nandpora, Tethar, Thathri and Dedpeth has been augmented.

25. Implementation of Phase-II of the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY)’ is about to commence, which will benefit over 9500 habitations and ensure power supply to 98% of the population in the State. Implementation of the Rs.1665 crore Part-B of the ‘Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP); which will commence in the current year, is expected to significantly improve the existing infrastructure in 30 identified towns. During the past year, Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses have come down by 4.6% and the Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses have decreased by around 9%, which is a very significant achievement and has been duly acknowledged at the national level. With the implementation of various initiatives in this sector, the scenario is likely to improve further. With a view to conserving energy, the State is also promoting the use of energy-efficient appliances.

26. Not banking merely on conventional sources of energy and power generation, the State Government is keen to harness solar energy for meeting the energy requirements of the State. About 37,700 Solar Home Lighting Systems have been provided to families who live in far-flung and un-electrified areas. As a backup lighting facility, 20,000 Solar Lighting Systems have also been provided to the general public and 43 Solar Power Plants of varying capacities have been installed at different institutions in the State. Besides, 500 ‘Gobar’ gas plants have been setup in various villages during the last two years.

27. My Government is firmly committed to enhancing health care and extending its outreach in the State. As a result of the investments in this sector, the health indicators of the State have improved considerably and are better than even the national averages. It is gratifying to record that in 2012, the State was placed at the first place in the country for providing primary health care services and in 2013 we received the first prize in population stabilization. The intake capacity of seats in Government Medical Colleges, AMT and ANMT Schools of the State has also been enhanced.

28. The establishment of the J&K Medical Supplies Corporation for ensuring the procurement of quality and standard medicines for the Government-run hospitals is a landmark intervention, which should put an end to the recurring complaints of spurious drugs being supplied. The J&K Nursing Council Registration Act, 2012, has been enacted and, for the development of the indigenous systems of medicine, a Unani Medical College in Kashmir and an Ayurvedic Medical College in Jammu are being established at a cost of Rs.32.50 crore and Rs.25.80 crore, respectively.

29. For the advancement of basic healthcare facilities, 11 Medical Mobile Units were provided in the far-flung areas of Kupwara, Anantnag, Baramulla, Leh, Udhampur, Rajouri, Doda, Poonch, Ramban, Reasi and Kishtwar districts. Under the Teeka Express Programme, 18 insulated vans were provided for vaccinating children at their door steps. Nine CT Scan machines are being procured for serving the needs of the District hospitals of Kupwara, Anantnag, Kulgam, Baramulla, Doda, Poonch, Kathua, Samba and Sub-District Hospital Bhaderwah. 13 Sick Neo Natal Care Units have been established in the District hospitals of Jammu, Kathua, Rajouri, Udhampur, Poonch, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Leh, Baramulla, Kupwara, Kargil, Srinagar and Budgam. The establishment of 676 sub-Centres at needy locations of the State has been approved by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, under the ‘National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)’, to ensure better health care facilities in the remote areas.

30. Major hospital projects have been completed or commissioned at Thatri, Reasi, Samba, Baramulla, Udhampur, Shalteng and Doda. Similarly, at the sub-district level, hospital buildings have been completed and commissioned at Keller, Tangdar, Langate, Shangus, Rajpora, Khansahib and Ghagwal. Primarily Health Centre buildings have also been completed and commissioned at 30 different places in the State.

31. In the Medical Education Sector, major hospital projects, completed and commissioned, include the Super Specialty Hospital, Jammu, an operation theatre block at the Bone & Joint Hospital, Barzulla, a 200-bedded additional block at Lal Ded Hospital, Srinagar, “Attendant Sarai” at Government Medical College, Srinagar, and Boys’ and Girls’ hostel buildings at Dental College, Srinagar.

32. Implementation of the National Rural Health Mission was started in the State in December, 2005. The objective of the NRHM is to carry out structural corrections in the basic health care delivery system for improving the quality of life of the people, especially the poor. Under the Mission, 87 ‘Rogi Kalyan Samities’ have been registered and 454 specialists, doctors and paramedics have been engaged to supplement the availability of medical staff in the rural areas.

33. For providing immediate and special health facilities to the victims of accidents on National Highways, 10 Trauma Centres at Leh, Kargil, Gund, Mirgund-Kangan, Qazigund, Anantnag, Ramban, Mahanpur, Udhampur and Thathri have been established.

34. The Government attaches high priority to providing safe drinking water to the people and significant progress has been achieved towards the attainment of this goal. During the current financial year, attention has been given to creating a mechanism for securing community participation in designing, implementing and maintaining water supply schemes. 4759 Village Water and Sanitation Committees, comprising members of Panchayati Raj Institutions and officials from the PHE, Health, Social Welfare and Rural Development Departments, have been constituted and, to begin with, 14362 hand pumps have been handed over to these Committees for maintenance. 1509 hand pumps have been installed under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme, “National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP)” and 1818 rural schools have been provided potable drinking water. To test the quality of water, the Government intends to establish 59 new laboratories at divisional, district and sub-divisional levels during the current year.

35. Rs. 235 crore have been spent for providing drinking water to cover 2 lac population in 364 habitations of the State. The Government has also focused on the conservation and preservation of water bodies through the construction of check dams, impounding reservoirs and water harvesting structures.

36. The Government realizes the importance of assured irrigation for development and prosperity. It continues to focus on making more and more land arable. In the current financial year, the limit of outlay under the “Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP)” has been increased by the Government of India to Rs. 598.00 crore, as against Rs. 421.00 crore in 2012-13. A number of schemes have been prepared and submitted to the Government of India for funding under this programme. 125 new minor irrigation schemes costing Rs. 732.52 crore, covering a Culturable Command Area (CCA) of 2,09,944 hectares, have been submitted to the Government of India for the release of funds under AIBP. Similarly, projects for the Kathua Canal (Phase-II), costing Rs. 53.00 crore, and modernization of the Sangloo Canal, costing Rs. 99.09 crore, are under process for submission to the Union Ministry of Water Resources. Administrative approval has been accorded for the construction of the remainder portion of main Ravi Canal, from Satwain to Basantpur, costing Rs. 275.41 crore, and tender has been floated for constructing its intake structure. Once constructed, this Canal will irrigate an additional 1.33 lac acres of land in the districts of Kathua, Samba and Jammu. The proposal submitted for three major canals, viz.- Lar, Grimtoo and Zaingeer, costing Rs. 46.68 crore, Rs. 99.09 crore and Rs. 73.51 crore, respectively, are under consideration of the Government of India.

37. 129 projects, costing Rs. 4651.46 crore, have been prepared under the “Flood Management Programme” and cleared by the State Level Technical Advisory Committee. The process is underway for obtaining sanction and funding from the Government of India.

38. Under the “J&K Water Resources Regulation & Management Act, 2010”, an amount of Rs. 569.86 crore was realized during the year as water usage charges.

39. The Government devotes very high importance to secure all round development of the villages as nearly two-thirds of the population of the State lives in the rural areas. Under the “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act”, an expenditure of Rs. 469.75 crore has been incurred for issuing 11 lac job cards and generating employment of 187 lac man-days. About 98,000 works were taken up, of which 44,529 have been completed. Under the “Indira Awas Yojana”, 18,752 houses were taken up for construction and 8,968 have since been completed.

40. The Government of India has floated the ‘National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM)’ to replace the ‘Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY)’. The State Mission has been constituted and the scheme has been rolled out in the State as ‘UMEED’. Four blocks have been selected in the State, namely, Basohli, Chenani, Khan Sahib and Wagoora, to implement the scheme on a pilot basis. A target of 90,000 women Self Help Groups has been fixed and, as on date, 1450 have been formed in four blocks. The aim is to create Self Help Groups and organize them into large federations, having their own capacity of creating capital and providing loans. Five more blocks shall soon be covered under the “UMEED” programme.

41. The Government of India, in collaboration with the State Government, has started a new scheme of imparting training to the rural youth through a network of ‘Rural Self Employment Training Institutes’, owned and operated by the banks. One such institute has been established in each district of the State by the J&K Bank or the State Bank of India.

42. My Government is committed to further strengthening the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the State. In this direction, steps have been taken to enhance the effectiveness of Panchayats and build their capacities for democratic decision making through devolution of powers to them and strengthening their institutional structure. Under a new scheme, every Panchayat with an average population of 2700, comprising about 500 to 550 families, is being provided Rs. 10 lac for filling up the infrastructure gaps.

43. Our society is predominantly agricultural and the farmers are its strongest pillars. Nearly 70% of the population in the State earns its livelihood directly or indirectly from agriculture. Being conscious of the vital importance of this sector, Government has reoriented its agriculture development strategies to cater to the needs of the farmers. The focus is being shifted to incentivise diversification in agriculture produce, cultivation of high income-generating crops and carrying out allied activities. This initiative has increased agricultural incomes and helped in generating gainful employment in the chain of pre-and post-harvest operations.

44. Steps have been taken to increase the production of niche crops like ‘Saffron’ and ‘Basmati’. The National Mission for the rejuvenation of Saffron Cultivation, which was launched in the State in 2009-10, with an investment of Rs. 372.18 crore, is showing encouraging results. It is expected to double the productivity and production of saffron in the State. So far, an area of 1876 hectares under Saffron cultivation has been rejuvenated. Marketing facilities are also being made available to Saffron farmers at Pampore.

45. In Jammu Division, the Chakroi Seed Multiplication Farm is being developed and upgraded at a cost of Rs.30.00 crore for the production of hybrid quality ‘Basmati’ and other seeds for distribution amongst the farmers. This project has yielded excellent results and is now able to meet the manpower expenditure from within its own resources. The export of aromatic ‘Basmati’ rice outside the country got a fillip during the 2010-11 when the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, revised the export norms at the behest of the State Government. The Government is also facilitating the marketing of ‘Basmati’. Market interventions have also been made during the last four years to prevent the distress sale of food grains produced by the farmers.

46. The State Government is making sustained efforts to provide assistance to the farmers for purchasing the latest farm machines of their own choice. To provide fresh, healthy and quality seeds to the farmers, a Seed Replacement Rate (SRR) of 26.48% in the Jammu Division and 25.5% in the Kashmir Division has been achieved for the paddy crop and 32.19% for the wheat crop in the Jammu Division. To further boost production, the Government aims to achieve 50% SRR in self-pollinated and 33% in cross-pollinated crops in the coming years. ‘Kissan Credit Cards’ have been issued to about 7.25 lac farming families through a special drive undertaken by the Government in collaboration with the banks. These cards provide various benefits to the farmers and have already contributed towards significant improvement in the production, both in qualitative and quantitative terms. I must mention that, just four years ago, only about 1 lac Kissan Credit Cards had been issued in the State.

47. Horticulture contributes significantly to the State’s economy. During 2013-14, the area under horticulture, has increased to 3.50 lac hectares, against 3.05 lac hectares in 2008-09 and fruit production of 16.90 lac MTs in 2008-09 has increased to 21.17 lac MTs in 2013-14. Further steps are being taken to raise the production level to 25.87 lac MTs in 2014-15. Major thrust is being given to the rejuvenation of orchards, improving the root stock and post-harvest interventions to enable the farmers to get the lion’s share in the income generated in the value-chain-system. To institutionalize this effort, the formation of a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ is under the consideration of the Government, which, in due course, will graduate to a Horticulture Board.

48. Livestock has always been an important component of farm incomes and its contribution to our Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is significant. To further invigorate this sector, an Embryo Transfer Technology (ETT) project is under implementation in collaboration with the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), Jammu, to obviate the need for importing live germplasm from abroad. This project will help infuse fresh blood into the livestock and arrest the problem of inbreeding. To ensure that the outbreak of diseases is reported promptly, to enable timely remedial measures, a centrally sponsored scheme, “National Animal Disease Reporting System” has been taken up for implementation.

49. For improving the living conditions of the under-privileged and vulnerable sections of our society and safeguarding their dignity, a number of State and Centrally Sponsored Schemes relating to women and child development, social justice and empowerment, social security, tribal and minority development, rehabilitation of militancy victims and educational upliftment of SCs, STs and OBCs are under implementation and benefits are being provided directly to varied weaker sections. Under the ‘Integrated Social Security Scheme’, during the current financial year, 68920 pending cases have been sanctioned, raising the number of beneficiaries to 4,22,500 and an expenditure of Rs. 8272.88 lac was incurred under the scheme upto December 2013. During the current year, 9332 victims of militancy are also proposed to be helped by incurring an expenditure of about Rs. 850 lac.

50. Under the ‘National Social Assistance Programme’, monthly pensions have been enhanced from Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 for widows and the disabled and from Rs. 200 to 500 for persons who are 80 years or more in age. During the current year, Rs.18 crore have been disbursed so far, among 1,38,468 beneficiaries on this count. This has helped generate an environment of social security and self respect.

51. In order to promote education among the students of the weaker sections like SCs, STs, OBCs, physically challenged and national minorities, various scholarship schemes are under implementation. An amount of Rs.885 lac has been spent under the ‘Post-matric Scholarship Scheme’, benefiting about 23,000 students from these categories.

52. Under the ‘Integrated Child Development Services’, about 10 lac beneficiaries are being provided supplementary nutrition and 1000 new ‘Anganwadi’ Centres are being established in the State. The districts of Anantnag and Kathua have been brought under the ‘Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana’, on pilot basis, to improve the health and nutrition status of pregnant and lactating women and infants. The cash incentive of Rs. 4,000, provided to the beneficiaries for the first two live births, has recently been enhanced to Rs. 6,000.

53. For the welfare of the students belonging to the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities and the Pahari speaking people, hostels have been constructed where they are also provided various free services.

54. Upto December, 2013, an amount of Rs.12.03 crore was provided to women under different loan schemes and Rs.1.22 crore was spent for promoting their skill development and awareness.

55. We are faced with a tough challenge of providing employment to the youth and creating more job opportunities for them. The recruitment process for filling up about 72,000 vacancies has been set into motion on a fast-track basis. The Services Selection Board conducted a written test, for the first time in its history, in which over 3.00 lac candidates appeared. In the last five years, over 57,000 candidates have been provided employment through various recruiting agencies of the State.

56. While my Government is making all possible efforts to absorb unemployed educated youth in the Government sector, it has to be appreciated that such opportunities are limited and there is an urgent need to create jobs outside the government. Accordingly, the Government has introduced a number of schemes and the flagship programme, the ‘Sher-i-Kashmir Employment and Welfare Programme for the Youth’, is being implemented successfully. During the current financial year, 2844units have been set up by entrepreneurs,involving an investment of Rs. 92.12 crore, under this scheme. The Seed Capital Fund Scheme has been fast-tracked and an amount of Rs.45.00 crore has been made available for it. The State Government also provides a monthly Voluntary Service Allowance (VSA) to unemployed educated youth, having educational qualifications of matric and above, for a period of three years. 50,647 youth have so far been covered under the scheme in 2013-14, among whom an amount of Rs. 22.39 crore was disbursed as VSA. The ‘UDAAN’ and ‘HIMAYAT’ schemes are also poised to make a major dent in the educated unemployment situation in the State.

57. The Government is committed to the development and growth of the industrial sector in the State, which will lead to the creation of more jobs. New industrial estates are being developed at Khunmoh, Ompora, Chotipora, Ashmuji, Vessu, Ghatti, Govindsar, Majalta, Battal Ballian and Changrathang. As a result of the efforts of the State Government, the Government of India has extended the Special Package of Industrial Incentives to the State for a further period of 5 years, commencing from June, 2012.

58. For advancing employment generation, 80 Cooperative societies, with a membership of 1600, were registered in the dairy, poultry and other sectors during 2012-13. In the current financial year, 50 more societies, with 1000 members, have been registered so far. With its resolve to strengthen the cooperative sector, the Government has started implementing the ‘Integrated Cooperative Development Project’, funded by the National Cooperative Development Corporation. In the first phase, the districts of Anantnag and Kathua have been taken up and 113 beneficiary societies were provided about Rs. 453 lacs to implement the scheme. The scheme is now being implemented in the erstwhile districts of Baramulla and Doda also.

59. The Government recognizes that an egalitarian state cannot be built without universalizing education and providing the requisite infrastructure for this purpose. With the objective of providing free and compulsory education to all children, a draft J&K Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill is under the active consideration of the Government. A State School Education Advisory Board has been constituted to draft a new Education Policy. Under the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ and the ‘Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan’, 3656 school buildings have been completed and 15,050 such buildings will be completed soon. The ‘Saakshar Bharat Mission’ has been launched in 20 districts, focusing on adult education. 100 additional mobile primary schools for nomadic populations are also proposed to be opened.

60. For creating more opportunities in the field of higher education and learning, 12 new Degree Colleges have been sanctioned under the State Plan. Besides, 11 colleges have been sanctioned under ‘Establishment of Colleges in Educationally Backward Districts’, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. The construction of 14 Degree College buildings, under phase-I of the ‘Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan’, has been completed. The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched the ‘Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan’, in which the State Government has already conveyed its willingness to participate. For this, a perspective plan, with an estimated cost of about Rs. 900 crore, is under formulation, which will be placed for approval before the State Higher Education Council.

61. An amount of Rs.85 crore was approved by the University Grants Commission for the development of the University of Kashmir and the establishment of its campuses at Kargil, Leh, Kupwara and its North and South campuses. Similarly, an amount of Rs.117 crore was sanctioned for the campuses of the University of Jammu being established at Udhampur, Ramnagar, Bhaderwah, Poonch, Kishtwar, Kathua and Reasi. These initiatives will boost the development of the human resource and intellectual capital of the State.

62. With a view to enhancing the employability of the youth, the Government has sanctioned 18 Polytechnic colleges under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme, the “Submission on Polytechnics under co-ordinated Action for Skill Development”, for which 396 posts have also been created. The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has sanctioned 3 solar power plants of 100 KW each for serving three Government Polytechnics in the State, at a cost of Rs. 8.06 crore, which have been installed and commissioned.

63. 09 Women Industrial Training Institutes, one each at Kangan, Pampore, Rohama, Lalpora, Seer-Hamdan, Dharmari, Bhalesa, Kalakote and Surankote, have been established and the construction of academic and workshop block buildings has been completed in all these ITIs.

64. The Government is committed to streamlining the Public Distribution System to make it hassle-free. The “End to End Computerization of PDS” was introduced in the State which envisages bringing about transparency and efficiency in the system. For this purpose, the Government of India has released Rs.611.27 lac and the State Government has provided Rs.100.00 lac as its matching share during 2013-14. For ensuring the easy availability of LPG, the Government has identified 142 locations for opening new distribution centres at all rural block headquarters under the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitaran (RGGLV)’ and regular distribution outlets in the urban areas. Besides, 100% home delivery of LPG has been ensured within the municipal limits of the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, along with some other urban areas. Efforts are being made to ensure 100% home delivery in the rural areas as well.

65. Upgrading infrastructure in the urban areas has been the top priority of my Government. The establishment of new housing colonies is under its active consideration. Action Plans are being formulated under the ‘Rajiv Awas Yojana’ to provide low cost housing units, intended to make the cities and towns slum-free. Rs. 20 crore is being spent in the urban areas on various drainage schemes in the current financial year. Six projects, related to multi-tier parking and the construction of expressway corridors and fly-overs in Jammu and Srinagar cities, with an estimated cost of Rs.564 crore, have been submitted to the Government of India for funding under the ‘Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission’. Tenders have been invited for the construction of multi-level parking at the General Bus Stand, Jammu, at an estimated cost of Rs.130 crore and the construction of such parking at the Town Hall, Jammu, has already been taken up. The construction of bus stands at Shalteng and Katra has been taken up at an estimated cost of Rs.32.22 crore and Rs. 5.95 crore, respectively. Besides, the development of bus stands in 11 towns has also been taken up for execution. 20 community halls are also being constructed in the capital cities and other towns of the State.

66. The Government believes that we cannot aspire for a clean and healthy environment without the conservation of our eco-system. As a step in this direction, the Wular Conservation and Management Authority has been constituted for the conservation of the Wular Lake, for which the Government of India has approved Rs.120.00 crore, to be released in a phased manner. Under the ‘Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority’, 43 projects have so far been executed with an outlay of Rs.4051.36 lac. Critically degraded areas, prone to encroachment threats, are being covered under this programme. Eco-tourism, introduced at Dera-Ki-Gali in District Rajouri, at an estimated cost of Rs.2.40 crore, is being run on the pilot basis and will be replicated at other places after assessing its impact. During the last five years, an area of 16,098 hectares has been covered under fresh plantations. 105.40 lac plants have been planted under the State and District plans. Besides, an area of 9,008 hectares has been covered by planting 122 lac trees under the Social Forestry Programme to conserve our green gold.

67. Recognizing the importance of Information Technology as a major tool for ensuring good-governance, the Government has taken several initiatives. The State Data Centre, a central repository of data-bases and departmental applications, was made operational in March, 2013. Information Technology practices have already been applied successfully in the areas of personnel management, human resource management, bio-metric attendance, electoral roll management, electronic benefit transfers, procurements and in many other areas like the registration of vehicles, issuance of birth and death certificates, monitoring of development works in the border areas and tracking diseases.

68. Our State is known the world over for its legendary scenic beauty. It is the Government’s endeavour to explore its unlimited potential and make it the most preferred tourist destination in the world. Among other things, the Government’s focus is on showcasing the distinct culture of the State and conserving its arts and crafts. In this effort, projects for 14 villages, worth Rs.8.48 crore, have been sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, under the ‘Rural Tourism Scheme’, during 2013-14.

69. The J&K Golf Development and Management Authority has been established for the creation and effective management of the Golf Courses across the State. “Ehsaas-e-Kashmir”, a concert held at Shalimar Bagh last year by the internationally renowned maestro, Zubin Mehta was telecast live across the globe and helped dispel the notion that Kashmir is not a safe tourist destination.

70. Persisting with its efforts to provide a responsive, transparent and accountable administration, the Government has enacted people-friendly legislations like the J&K Public Services Guarantee Act, 2011. This year, 11 new services have been added to the services covered under this Act, taking the total to 80 services. Suitable amendments are being proposed in the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act to make it more stringent for carrying forward the crusade against corruption. The Government has also introduced third party monitoring of developmental programmes to ensure complete transparency and accountability. The State won accolades at the national level for implementing the Result Framework Document (RFD), a novel concept, aimed at making governance result-oriented and making performance appraisal more scientific.

71. Hon’ble Members, all of us aspire for the growth and development of a prosperous Jammu and Kashmir, founded on the cherished values of brotherhood, tolerance and harmony. Considerable success has been achieved in the realization of these objectives and our achievements will be far more meaningful if all sections of our society reap the dividends of our successes. The Government believes in inclusive growth which would bring smiles on the faces of all our people who have been left on the margins. Our journey will continue until the dream of ‘Naya Kashmir’, visualized by the founders of the State, is realized.

72. In this Address, I have given you a bird’s eye view of the Government’s performance and achievements. I look forward to all Hon’ble Members of the Legislature participating in well informed and meaningful debates and discussions on the varied problems faced by the people of the State.

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