August 5, 2019 is a historic day in history for India and Jammu & Kashmir. On this day, the long-awaited demand of a united India, pending for seven decades was fulfilled and Kashmiriyat returned to Kashmir. Its picture and fate changed as soon as development and confidence was restored in Jammu & Kashmir under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When terrorism and familism came to an end, picture of a happy Kashmir became visible to world. The light of development and nationalism has given Kashmir its glorious history. As a result of it, for the first time in Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Lal Chowk of Kashmir reverberated with slogans of Bharat Mata ki Jai. The name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi resonated everywhere. Seeing the Prime Minister as the development man of Kashmir, a new path was opened to develop Srinagar as a tourist capital, thereby leading to development, nationalism, bright future, national unity and integrity.
Considering Kashmir as an integral part of India, from Jan Sangh to BJP, there was a relentless struggle for it. From the time of Jana Sangh, we have been raising the slogan of ‘One Country, One Vidhan, One Nishan, One Pradhan’. Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee became the first leader to sacrifice in independent India for Kashmir. This strong will and determination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi made dream of a united India true by abolishing Article 370 from Kashmir on August 5, 2019. Then after the abolition of Article 370, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started development and progress in Jammu and Kashmir, which spread a color of Indian-ness. Kashmir, which used to be a haven of fear and anti-national forces, is now showing substance of patriotism. Kashmir, once trapped in the clutches of familism and terrorism, is today raising flag of nationalism and development. The dream of ‘one legislation, one mark’ has come true in one country. The line of Akhand Bharat, Ek Bharat, Samarth Bharat and Strong India was drawn in Kashmir. The social, geographical and economic integration of Jammu and Kashmir has been ensured.
In the field of industrialization, Jammu and Kashmir was one among backward states and union territories of the country. Before August 5, 2019, under the constitutional and administrative system of Jammu and Kashmir, no citizen of the country and abroad, could invest in Jammu and Kashmir and settle here permanently. That’s why outside investors used to shy away from investing in Jammu & Kashmir. Terrorist violence was a hindrance to its economic-industrial development. Unemployment was rising. Government jobs were available only to the wealthy. Earlier Jammu and Kashmir was treated differently from other states of India, due to which J&K was away from the mainstream. Due to Article 370, Parliament was empowered to make laws regarding defence, foreign affairs and communications regarding Jammu and Kashmir, but for implementing a law related to any other subject, the Center had to get the approval of the erstwhile state government. The Parliament of India could make laws with respect to Jammu and Kashmir only in a limited area. Due to Article 370, most of the sections of the Indian Constitution did not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 170 laws of the Center which were not applicable here earlier have now been implemented in this area. At present all the central laws are applicable in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Now the picture has completely changed. Today the situation has also completely changed. With the will of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have now joined the mainstream of the country as soon as Article 370 is abolished. There has been a boom in the establishment of trade and industries. Its effect is visible positively on the GDP of the state. After the abrogation of Article 370, the effect of the new industrial policy, which guarantees the security of investments in Jammu and Kashmir, is beginning to be seen. Within a span of three years, investments have started coming in two dozen sectors. There have been many agreements for investment. Many big groups of the country associated with the health and medical education sector have also submitted proposals to invest. Along with this, tourism, film-tourism, horticulture, post-harvest management, agriculture, food processing, sericulture, health, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, IT, renewable energy, infrastructure and real estate, handloom and handicraft and education sectors. The picture has changed as well.
When Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee’s resolve of ‘One Country, One Legislation, One Pradhan’ is realized, then Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which are called heaven on earth, are now moving ahead on the path of development along with the rest of the country. Reducing the decade-by-step distance of Kashmir with the country, Narendra Modi government has ended 70-year tussle by abrogating provisions of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which are left behind in race for development. Connecting with the mainstream has brought it at par with other states of the country. For almost two years, this area has started on a new journey of development.
One year after independence from Article 370, elections to the villages as well as the district and district Panchayat were successfully completed here. After many years, Panchayat elections were held in the year 2018 and there was 74.1 per cent voter turnout. In the Block Development Council elections held for the first time in the year 2019, 98.3 percent voter turnout was recorded. There was also record participation in district level elections. For the first time, the Valmiki community, the Gorkha people and refugees who were ousted and driven from West Pakistan got the right to vote in the state elections. Native Law enacted. According to the new domicile definition, a person who has resided in Jammu and Kashmir for 15 years or more will also be considered a domicile. The way has been cleared for resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits who were driven away from the Kashmir Valley in the year 1990. Work is in progress to create jobs and transit accommodation for the return of Kashmiri migrants. Protection of the rights of girls and their children married outside Jammu and Kashmir has also been ensured. Work has been started on the Shahpur-Kandi Dam project which has been stalled for 40 years. The work of Ratle Hydroelectric Project has been resumed. Approval has been given to open two AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Central Government has started work on all individual beneficiary schemes and flagship schemes at a rapid pace in Jammu and Kashmir. Many development projects have been completed under the Prime Minister’s Development Package, 2015. The Central Government has announced the establishment of a Central University along with a Center for Buddhist Studies in Ladakh. Dedicated to the spirit of Antyodaya and the spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas, the Narendra Modi government has given a new impetus to the development in Jammu and Kashmir, neglected for decades. This will be the first time under any industrial promotion scheme of the Government of India that industrial development will be taken up to the block level of Jammu and Kashmir. In this way, both the picture and destiny of Kashmir is changing and soon Jammu & Kashmir will stand in the line of developed states of the country.
(The author is the National General Secretary of BJP).