My dear brothers and sisters,
On the auspicious occasion of 72nd Republic Day, I convey my best wishes and congratulations to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
1. On this day, the policy makers of the constitution sowed the seeds of justice, freedom, equality, social democracy and prosperity of brotherhood for all people, so that from Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, the flag of development and glory of new India keeps flying high. Today on the occasion of Republic Day, every citizen should imbibe truth, non-violence, self reliance of Mahatma Gandhi and the constitutional ideas of Baba Sahib Ambedkar.
2. Dear brothers and sisters,we have emerged as the largest, most successful and vibrant democracy in the world by preserving the values of equality of all religions, restraint , sacrifice, discipline , unity in diversity and spirit to serve.
3. The year 2020 has been a year of unprecedented change in Jammu and Kashmir. Through a continuous process of change, the roots of progress have been planted in the new Jammu and Kashmir. With the Constitution of India in one hand and the Tricolour in the other, all the people of villages and towns, with dreams of progress in their eyes, have started building a new Jammu and Kashmir to fulfil their ambitions and those of the nation.
4. For a long time, the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir were denied grassroots democracy. We have been successful in conducting a violence free, free and fair elections to District Development Councils. The high turnout of voters broke the records of many previous elections. I specially congratulate the enlightened citizens, all voters, Central Security Forces, Army, Police and Administrative officials for this. We assure all the elected representatives that with your support, the Jammu and Kashmir Administration will bring the fruits of development to the last person standing in the queue.
5. On the auspicious occasion of Republic Day today, I bow down to the bravery of police personnel and our security forces working day and night to create a conducive atmosphere for smooth day-to-day life and maintaining a peaceful environment. On behalf of entire Jammu and Kashmir, I pay homage to all the warriors who have sacrificed everything for the honour of our Tricolour.
6. We want to assure all citizens that the political conspiracies and nefarious designs of a neighbouring country will never be allowed to succeed in this land of great persons and warriors. The security agencies have effectively controlled violence and those who are trying to fulfil their political motives with the help of this proxy war, are being given a befitting reply.
7. Brothers and sisters, the breeze of Jammu and Kashmir has the words of sages and, in its mountains lies the music of sufi mystics. There is art in its soil and the light of lotuses in its rivers. For this reason, the great Kalhana in his book ‘Rajtarangini’, while mentioning Jammu and Kashmir, has written “Tadvina Nagram Kutra Pavitra” -Except this place, is there any city on the earth where such holy and beautiful rivers can be accessible? He writes further,"I have not seen such a city where the glory of planets in the sky is clearly visible." The sutras of Kalhana have visions of splendour of Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, in every corner of it, we can find the culture of thoughtfulness and soulful experience of our ancient civilization. Who can forget the words of famous Sufi Saint Amir Khusroo "Gar Firdous Bar Rue Zami Ast. Hami Asto, Hami Asto, Hami Ast ! If there is heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.
8. The horrific tragedy of the corona virus shook our economy and social life badly for some time. But now the darkness has been dispelled. With the dawn of a new morning, we are taking forward the economy and the social welfare programs of Jammu and Kashmir. With the spirit of “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhina,Sarve Santu Niramaya” , we have started the corona virus vaccination programme in Jammu and Kashmir giving top priority to public health workers. But the fight with corona is not over yet. Therefore, while repeating the words of Hon’ble Prime Minister, I would like to urge all of you – Dawaai bhi – kadaai bhi. It must be strictly followed.
9. A new revolution has started with the Ayushman Bharat SEHAT Scheme in the field of Public Health. This health insurance scheme is the first of its kind in the country and the world, where under all the one crore thirty lakh citizens of Jammu and Kashmir will be benefited without any discrimination.
10. Several decisions have been taken to make health facilities world class, and these are being implemented on the ground. Human resource is the biggest asset of our democracy. Therefore, the free facility of Raj Bhawan Helicopter has been provided for treatment of poor people in far-flung areas who often get stranded due to heavy snowfall. We are aware of the difficulties faced by you due to snowfall, and express our sympathies. I have personally been visiting and reviewing the situation on ground and have issued directions to the administration for providing all possible facilities. This year has seen better power supply compared to the previous ones, but a lot needs to be done. We are trying our best in a responsible and sincere manner and want to assure you that your difficulties shall be mitigated in the coming days. The snowfall has been declared Natural Disaster under SDRF and the affected persons are being given appropriate compensation.
11. With the dream of a healthy, prosperous and successful Jammu and Kashmir, the people of the Union Territory have voluntarily turned the two most important programmes of mass participation, ‘Back to Village’ and “My Town My Pride” into a mass movement.
12. Even today, this programme of mass participation is going on continuously as 'Block Diwas' and under this programme, the government is reaching to the doorsteps of people. The facilities being provided by the government in an accountable and transparent manner, sports promotion and cleanliness campaigns are bringing good results. Under the 'Back to Village' programme, more than 15000 young men and women have been provided financial assistance to become entrepreneurs. Under various government schemes like MGNREGA, 14th Finance Commission and District Capex Budget, more than 25,000 new projects have been started for the development of villages.
13. Under the 'My Town My Pride' programme, at least ten young men and women from each Municipality have been identified and provided opportunities to become entrepreneurs.
14. Brothers and sisters, in September last year, the Government had provided an economic package of Rs. 1350 crore for immediate relief to businesses and people associated with it who were suffering from the distress of corona virus. Both small and big businessmen and business establishments were given a record 5% interest subvention. On the other hand, 50% relief was given in electricity and water bills for industrial and commercial consumers. Relief was provided to the people associated with transport, tourism, working class and those connected with the construction sector. The results of timely decisions are visible today in villages, cities, farms, factories, hospitals and schools. In social welfare schemes too, more than 95% saturation has been achieved.
15. In the beginning of this year, we have announced a New Industrial Development Scheme 2021 amounting to Rs. 28,400 crores to attract the country’s major industries and investment in Jammu and Kashmir and expand existing industries.This scheme, which will continue till 2037, will take industrial investment to the block level so that the goal of equal, balanced and sustainable economic development can be achieved.
16. Industrial policy has again lit the lamps of expectations and we are determined to provide employment opportunities directly or indirectly to 4.5 to 5 lakh people in the coming years.
17. New land laws have been introduced for agricultural and industrial development in Jammu and Kashmir. The old laws were a hindrance to the development and hence, have been abolished. In order to promote industries, a land bank is being created at a massive level and we are proud that two big and five small industrial estates will be completed by March 2021. Dismissing all rumours and apprehensions, I fully assure you the safety of every inch of your land.
18. Today Jammu and Kashmir is a rising power, fast emerging as a national leader in technology, horticulture and new research. Two IT towers will soon be established to boost the IT industry. Along with this, IT Parks and Call Centres shall be established in all the twenty districts of the Union Territory. An agreement has been reached with the department under the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region to promote bamboo industry. This will benefit the handicraft artisans and farmers and in future, industrial clusters of bamboo and bamboo industry estates will also be developed.
19. Jammu and Kashmir Government has simplified the complex mining process. E-auction of mineral blocks is being done by the Department of Geology and Mining in a transparent manner. Due to complex auctioning process, the prices of construction material had gone up, which are expected to fall significantly in the coming days. The revenue of the Union Territory will increase, strengthening the economy.
20. As a result of the tireless efforts of the Government on various fronts, the fast booming tourism industry has become a symbol of prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir. The number of tourists coming here has surpassed many major tourist places of the country. We are also striving to include the world famous Mughal Gardens of Kashmir in UNESCO world heritage sites.
21. To give wings to the huge potential of the tourism industry, tourism promotion schemes will be continued for the next fifteen years. The Government is working on the conservation and development of major tourist destinations of Jammu division like Mansar, Surinsar, Bagh-e-Bahu; and Doodhpathri, Bangus Valley etc in Kashmir Division, which so far have remained neglected. On the grand festival of India’s 75th Independence Day, the state-of-the-art conservation and restoration process of Mubarak Mandi in Jammu and Shergarhi in Kashmir would be completed.
22. Brothers and Sisters, access to roads, electricity and water are the basic necessities and rights essential for a civilized life. These basic facilities have not been provided in the last 70 years, but shall be provided without any interruption in the next three years. To make 20-22 hours electricity available in the villages of Jammu and Kashmir, like in other states, the Government has given the green signal to an investment of Rs. 52,821 crores in the hydro electric power sector. We will make Jammu and Kashmir self reliant in the field of electricity for the first time by generating as much electricity in 4 years as was created in the last seventy years. Along with this, new projects are also being set up to strengthen the transmission and distribution infrastructure. Recently on the 20th of January, under the chairmanship of Honourable Prime Minister, the Union Cabinet has given the green signal to the Rs 5282 crores Ratle Power Project. This 850 MW Project on the Chenab river in Kishtwar will be completed in the next 5 years.
23. Government has taken historic steps to make the financial management system transparent. The budget estimation, allocation and monitoring system has been implemented by virtue of which the funds are now being released online and activity-wise. The details of all the projects and related expenses have been put in the public domain to strengthen the public participation in the development so that the public can keep an eye on the expenses with full rights. Unless and until, photographs of the projects are geo-tagged, they will not be paid.
24. For online billing, JK Pay System has been rolled across the Union territory. Through this, it has been made sure that no funds can be withdrawn in lieu of any work without the required administrative and technical approval or of any work where tendering has not been done.
25. Whatever works are being done through the budget of the government, now every single penny is being accounted for and it is a matter of pride that the pace of development has accelerated due to this transparent mechanism. Under District Capex Budget where in 2018-19, 8106 number of projects were completed, this year 16,000 projects i.e. double the number are going to be completed.
26. Brothers and sisters, the gaps in the field of primary education are being filled to change the economic fate of the new generation of Jammu and Kashmir. This year, a total number of 8 lakh scholarships have been given through direct benefit transfer, arise of 250%. We are also working to implement the New Education Policy in Jammu and Kashmir, and a task force has been constituted in this regard. To encourage employment oriented education from the primary level, Vocational Labs and lnformation and Communication Technology Labs are being setup in each and every school. Transgenders have been included in the pensionary benefit schemes for the first time, turning the concept of inclusive growth into reality. The dream of “Har Ghar Nal” under Jal Jivan Mission in all the rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir will be fulfilled two years before the target i.e. by December 2022.
27. We want to assure all sections of Jammu and Kashmir who love their motherland immensely that they will be treated equally in all social, economic and political matters. We are implementing the Forest Rights Act for our tribal brothers and sisters living in the forests, especially the people of Gujjar and Bakerwal communities. This law, which was passed by the Parliament in 2006, did not come into force in Jammu and Kashmir earlier, keeping them deprived of their rights. By completing this process by the March of this year, we will be able to give just rights to a large community dependent on forests, for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
28. Putting an end to the hollow announcements in Jammu and Kashmir, we have given a new slogan “Vaada Nahin Iraada” , and the pace with which the projects are being implemented in the last five months has never been witnessed before in its history.
29. The implementation of the Prime Minister's Development Package has gained tremendous momentum. Out of 54 projects, 20 important projects have been completed and 16 others will be completed by March 2021. Eight other projects will be completed by December 2021. It is a matter of great pride that the Katra-Banihal Section of the Jammu-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Line will be completed by August 2022 connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
30. Brothers and Sisters, you will soon see a Metro Rail running on 23 km long route in Jammu, and 25 km in Srinagar. Works are being carried out at a fast pace in AMRUT Mission and Smart City Mission to rejuvenate the cities. Keeping in view the basic amenities like sewer, waste management, rain water harvesting, transport, parks for the children, good road and greenery all around, work is being done in all the cities of Jammu and Kashmir in mission mode. Financial aid is being provided to the identified street vendors of the cities affected by corona.
31. Jammu and Kashmir has set a new example in the road infrastructure sector in the country. Today Jammu and Kashmir is number one in the entire country in the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Before the onset of summers, all major roads in Jammu and Kashmir shall be made pothole free. 110 projects which were hanging for many years have been completed in a record three months time. In the coming days, all the villages with the population of 250 will be connected through paved roads.
32. Brothers and sisters, Jammu and Kashmir has got a historic opportunity to become a pioneer in the field of agriculture and horticulture. The government is making every effort to double the income of farmers and special attention is being paid to both traditional agriculture and horticulture. With the collaboration of NAFED, Rs. 1700 crore will be invested to boost the production of apples, walnuts, cherries, exotic vegetables and other horticulture products over the next five years. Three cold storage clusters will be setup at Kathua, in North Kashmir and South Kashmir with an investment of Rs. 500 crores. Our goal is to have high density plantation of horticulture crops on about 5500 hectares of land, which will increase the income of farmer brothers by three to four times.
33. To strengthen business activities related to agriculture, Farmer Producer Organizations are being setup in all the twenty districts of Jammu and Kashmir in next three months. To make the products of our farmer brothers available not only in the country but also in the markets abroad, all premium horticulture products will be G.I. tagged and their branding and marketing will also be done.
34. After saffron was G.I. tagged, Basmati rice of R S Pura obtained an organic certificate. Most recently,the process has been initiated at G.I. Registry Chennai to get a G.I. tag for the world famous and expensive Gucchi mushroom of Doda. Apart from this, Basohli paintings, Basohli shawls, tweed fabrics of Kishtwar and Chikri crafts of Rajouri will also get a GI tag soon.
35. Under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme, financial assistance of Rs 1130 crores has been provided directly to the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir. For the convenience of farmers growing apples, cold storage to the tune of one lakh sixty-five thousand metric tons has been added, which will be further enhanced to 5 lakh metric tons in the near future.
36. The facility of free thresher is being provided to every Panchayat of the UT for the convenience of farmers. Identifying 5 categories of tractors suitable for farming, 500 farmers are being given subsidy of Rs 1.75 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh on every tractor. 9% road tax has been abolished for all tractors upto 3000 CC, with a view to provide huge relief to the Farmers. For protection of crops, four Pesticide Testing Laboratories and four Soil Testing Laboratories are being opened. The Government has also initiated several programmes for the development of dairy sector. With the active cooperation of government, Amul, the country’s largest institution of milk production and distribution and other Dairy Cooperatives will soon be launching a new scheme to connect people of Jammu and Kashmir with dairy industry.
37. Brothers and sisters, there is a need to give right direction to the immense energy and talent of the youth to usher in the 4th Industrial Revolution. 69% of the population of Jammu and Kashmir is under 35 years of age and with their creativity, they can take the Union Territory to new heights. We have laid emphasis on skill development and industry connect to give a new drive to their passion, enthusiasm and mighty aspirations. Under the Himayat programme, 69 training centres have been set up and 7000 trained youth passed out from these centres are working in various industries today.
38. The government has also launched a Mission Youth for the multi dimensional development of the youth. Under this program, a state-of-the-art youth centre will be created in every district. Six areas are being focussed on for attention viz. “employment, modern education, skill development, financial assistance, sports and recreation." After discussing with the country’s leading private companies in Srinagar, the Government has signed an agreement with Bombay Stock Exchange, ICICI Bank and Ashok Leyland for skill development. Apart from this, two Centres of Excellence in the automobile sector will also be started in Jammu and Kashmir divisions.
39. The Government is also in talks with the leading companies of the country to provide employment opportunities with skill development and soon, concrete results will be visible. Our aim is to provide employment opportunities to 80% of the youth of Jammu and Kashmir in the next 5 years. The government in collaboration with the Tata Group has started a state-of-the-art skill development centre in Baramulla at a cost of Rs. 181 crore. A similar type of centre with the collaboration of the Tata Group will be made functional in Jammu by February this year. The process of filling up 25000 vacancies in the government is also going on at a rapid pace. In order to give more opportunities to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir for applying to Jammu & Kashmir Administrative Services, the Government has given a onetime relaxation in the age limit for the upcoming recruitment process.
40. To provide an immediate opportunity for sustainable livelihood to youth in rural and urban areas, the government has launched the “Mumkin” program. Under this program, 2021 youth are being provided mini commercial vehicles at zero margin money. Under this scheme, mini commercial vehicles costing Rs 7.04 Lakh shall be provided for Rs. 5.85 Lakh to the youth. In a major step towards conservation of environment, the Government has abolished 9% tax on electric vehicles. This will prove to be a major initiative to save the environment and promote maximum use of electric vehicles. Alongwith this, the road tax on the tricycles has also been abolished for empowerment of specially-abled persons. In the field of sports, continuous efforts are being made to improve the talent of youth. It is a matter of great pride that sports infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir is today more developed and modern than most other states and Union Territories. We are setting up academies in every nook and corner to unearth sports talent and bring them to perform on national and world stage. In the field of cricket also, the government has signed an agreement with the former international cricketer Suresh Raina, who is searching for talent in cities and villages and shall be training them.
41. Brothers and sisters, the government is determined to enable the honourable return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Kashmir Valley. As per the instructions and commitment of Hon’ble Prime Minister, we are working continuously for providing 6000 houses and 6000 jobs to them.
42. We are working on a policy of zero tolerance against corruption. The continuous action against corrupt people in the last few months shows the commitment of the government against corruption. Tackling corruption is a collective responsibility, so I urge all of you to cooperate with the government in making the administrative system transparent, responsible and accountable to the people. To include the public in the campaign against corruption, the Anti Corruption Bureau has recently started an app namely ‘Satark Nagrik’. The offices of Anti Corruption Bureau are being opened in every corner of the Union Territory to make the bureaucracy corruption free and keep the system clean.
43. In order to maintain the trust of people in institutions it is necessary that administrative work is more and more faceless and paperless. For this, the government has simplified rules, abolished many old laws and the poor are being directly benefited through D.B.T.
44. The role of the government in the public welfare programmes has been kept as a facilitator, so that people through their public representatives decide development works on priority. The government of Jammu and Kashmir is providing better technology, latest infrastructure and equipment to Panchayati Raj Institutions so that they work more effectively and bring better results for the welfare of people.
45. The achievements of the last few months are a matter of great pride, but much work remains to be done. We are striving for the overall development of every part of Jammu and Kashmir. I am confident that we will face the upcoming challenges on the foundations of good governance and public participation. Apart from this, we will also accelerate the pace of development and ambitious reforms in new areas. With deep faith in the core values of the Constitution and following high ideals and the path of duty, we will be successful in taking Jammu and Kashmir to the new heights of glory.
46. May this New Year bring happiness, prosperity and success to all of you. Let the youth of Jammu and Kashmir achieve their goals. With this wish, I once again wish you all a happy Republic Day. Let us take our steps forward with these words of revered Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee
“Baadhayein aati hain, aayein
Ghirein pralaye ki ghor ghatayein
Paon ke neechey angare
Sar par barsey yadi jwalayein
Nij hathon se hanste hanste
Aag laga kar Jalna hoga
Kadam mila kar chalna hoga”