DDC polls in J&K ‘moment of pride’ for India, says Modi



New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Saturday that free and transparent DDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir coupled with voters’ keen participation are a “moment of pride” for India, while hitting back at his rivals for giving him “lessons in democracy”.
In a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, who alleged recently that there is no democracy in India, Modi said that while his government completed three-tier panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir in over a year of the region becoming a union territory, the Congress dispensation in Puducherry did not conduct local body elections despite a Supreme Court order.

PM dresses in ‘Pheran’

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often chosen to dress in the traditional attire of a region while attending an event related to it, and it was a Kashmiri ‘pheran’ on Saturday as he launched the Ayushman Bharat scheme to extend health insurance benefits to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources close to the prime minister said he had received the pheran as a gift in winters last year from a farm labourer from Jammu and Kashmir. Modi had planned to wear this during his visit to the region, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that such a trip could not materialise.
He took the opportunity of the launch of the scheme through video-conference on Saturday to wear the “special gift”, the sources said.
He has also been recently donning Bengali shawls multiple times in his virtual programmes.

Launching the Ayushman Bharat scheme via a video-conference to extend health insurance benefits to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir, he said the three-tier panchayat system has fully taken shape in the UT, describing it as a realisation of Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of ‘gram swaraj’ (village self-rule).
He then added that he would like to share his pain before the nation on this occasion.
“Some people in Delhi curse Modi day in and day out and hurl abuses. They regularly offer me lessons in democracy. I want to show them the mirror today,” he said, blasting the Congress for not undertaking the local polls in Puducherry.
“The party of those teaching me democracy is in power in Puducherry,” the prime minister said, without naming the Congress, which has been ruling the UT since 2016.

DDC members to be administered oath on Monday: LG

Jammu: Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir is entering a golden era of development under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday said his administration would fast track developmental projects and create ample employment opportunities for youths.
He also announced 6,000 government jobs will be given to Kashmiri Pandit migrants under a prime minister’s package and as many residential quarters will be arranged for them in the Valley over the next two years.
Expressing happiness over the successful conduct of the District Development Council (DDC) elections despite “attempts by inimical elements to trigger violence”, Sinha said the elected members would be administered the oath under the Constitution on December 28.
The Lt Governor was speaking to welcome the Prime Minister at the launch of a scheme extending benefits of Ayushman Bharat to the residents of the Union territory.
“As per the directions of the Prime Minister, we are achieving new milestones. We are entering a golden phase of development,” Sinha said, adding transparency with accountability is being ensured and new avenues of skill development and entrepreneurship provided to ensure employment to the local youth. A new phase of development has started in J&K since August last year, he said. “We speeded up the developmental works and

It shows the gap between what some parties preach and what they do, and also highlights their commitment to democracy, he said in a dig at his rivals.
Noting that local body polls were last held in 2006 in Puducherry, he said its term ended in 2011 but new elections were not held.
“You will be surprised to know that the Supreme Court had given an order in this regard in 2018, but the government there has been delaying it,” the prime minister said.

Modi’s six-year rule provided most peaceful atmosphere in J&K: Shah

Jammu: The six-year rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from 2014 will be remembered as the most peaceful period in the history of Jammu and Kashmir since 1990, Union Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday.
Shah also lauded Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and his administration for conducting peaceful and transparent District Development Council (DDC) polls and assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir that all the promises made by Modi will be fulfilled in a time-bound manner.
“The prime minister has a special attachment and love for the people of J-K. Whenever, we are meeting him, his focus remains on three things — speedy development of Jammu and Kashmir to ensure benefits reach an ordinary person for his upliftment, strengthening of grassroot democracy and a peaceful security scenario.
“After August 5 last year, there is a visible change (in J&K) in every field, whether related to unfinished projects, implementation of centrally sponsored schemes, infrastructure development and security situation,” Shah said. On August 5 last year,the Centre had abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.
Joining Modi via video-conference for the launch of a scheme extending benefits of Ayushman Bharat to all residents of the Union territory, Shah who was in Guwahati, said that as far as security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir was concerned, the people in Kashmir were enjoying peace since Modi took over as the prime minister in 2014.
“I can say with full faith that during the last six years of Modi’s rule from 2014 to 2020, Kashmir witnessed the most peaceful period since 1990 and it will be remembered in the history of J-K,” he said.
Shah asserted that peace is essential for development, tourism and employment generation for the youth.
“Development is impossible without peace. For tourism to flourish, peace is again imperative. Peace is key to fulfillment of the dreams of youth,” he said.
The home minister said the prime minister has kept his promise to take the democracy to grassroots level.
He said J-K administration performed its responsibility at a miraculous speed as a result of which government schemes were reaching the public.
“The people of J-K are reaping benefits of the schemes. Unfinished work on infrastructure projects started under the leadership of Modi in 2014 gathered speed after August 5 and we are hopeful that within the next one year all the projects will be completed,” he said.
Referring to the recently conducted DDC polls, Shah praised the LG and his administration for ensuring peaceful and transparent polls.
“Not a single drop of blood was shed during polling which also recorded a heavy turnout. When the DDCs are formed, elected representatives will prioritise works in their districts in accordance with the sentiment, wishes and aspirations of the locals and will ensure that the development work reaches every household,” he said.
He said that instead of transferring funds to the J-K administration, the money will be directly given to the DDC to carry out the development of each district.
The minister said the central government as well as the J-K administration is bound to fulfil all the promises made to the people of the Union territory by Modi over the past six years.
“I want to assure the people of J-K that all the promises made by the prime minister will be fulfilled,” he said, expressing hope that the Union territory will witness a new dawn under the leadership of Sinha who along with his administration is working at a “miraculous speed” to implement government schemes, complete development projects and maintain peace.
Terming the launch of the health scheme as a “great day” for the people of J-K, he said it will bring a transformation in the health sector by adding 15 lakh families who will get a health insurance cover of Rs five lakh free of cost.
“The scheme is already in force in the country, including J-K, for the past two years. Now adding 15 lakh families to cover all residents of J-K is the first in the country. This is because of the special bond the PM has with the Union Territory and the efforts of the Lt Governor,” he said.
He said the scheme has proved to be a miracle for the seven crore poor people in the country.
“So far over 1.5 crore have benefited by getting free treatment, including minor and major surgeries,” he said.
Referring to the various measures taken by the administration to strengthen the health- related infrastructure in the UT, the Union minister said the day is not far when the people of Jammu and Kashmir will not have to go outside for treatment.
Health infrastructure is going to get stronger with people coming from outside to invest here, he said.
He also praised the Lt Governor administration for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said the government’s efforts kept J-K safe.

The district development council polls in Jammu and Kashmir have written a new chapter in the troubled region and have strengthened democracy, he said.
Noting that the people braved cold weather and the COVID-19 pandemic to enthusiastically participate in the election, the prime minister said he had heard from every political party about the high level of transparency during the polls and how free they were.
“I feel so proud… This is a moment of pride for India,” he said, lauding the local administration and security forces.

These election results have thrown up victors, many of whom have come up from among the masses and who have won due to their work, not their name, he said, in a dig at dynastic parties.
“This is the beginning of a new leadership of a new era in a new decade,” he said.
He said that the BJP was once a part of the government in the erstwhile state and added that it pulled out because the saffron party wanted panchayat elections and people to be given their rights. In these polls, people have left history behind and voted for a future of hope, he said.
With every resident of Jammu and Kashmir now eligible for health insurance up to Rs five lakh, Modi said it was a historic day for the region.
In an apparent reference to Article 370, which had given special status to Jammu and Kashmir and was abrogated by his government last year, Modi said earlier most schemes and laws meant for the country had the provision “except J & K’.
This has become history, and over 170 central Acts are now applicable to the union territory, giving its people their rights and ending all discrimination, he added.
“This is our government’s commitment that no part of the country is deprived of development any longer. Better living conditions in every territory will further strengthen national unity and integrity,” he asserted.
The Prime Minister also interacted with the beneficiaries from the region. Talking about the Jammu and Kashmir Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT scheme, the Prime Minister said that getting free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh under this scheme would improve the ease of living.
Right now about 6 lakh families are getting the benefit of Ayushman Bharat Scheme. All 21 lakh families living in J&K will get the same benefit after the SEHAT scheme. Another benefit of this scheme would be that treatment is not limited to government and private hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir only. Rather, treatment can be availed from thousands of hospitals empanelled under this scheme in the country, he added.
The Prime Minister lauded the UT administration for steps of people’s welfare and accentuating overall development in the region.
The Prime Minister termed the extension of the coverage to all the residents as historic and expressed happiness seeing Jammu and Kashmir take these steps for the development of its people. He said that development of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the biggest priorities of his government.
An official statement said about six lakh families of the UT were getting the benefit of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, and now all 21 lakh families will get it.
Noting that its residents can avail of the health insurance anywhere in India except a state like West Bengal, the prime minister took a jibe at the Trinamool Congress government there for not joining the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
The Centre has undertaken all-round development of Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
Modi said a big mistake of those who were in power for decades in the country was to ignore the development of border regions, including Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states, but his government has rectified this.
He said during the pandemic about 18 lakh LPG cylinders were refilled in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 10 lakh toilets were built under the Swachh Bharat programme, he said, adding it too contributed to improving the health of the people.
The setting up of IIT and IIM in Jammu and Kashmir would help in providing quality higher education to the students, he said, noting that two AIIMS and two cancer institutes are also being built in the union territory.


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