Commenting on the positive developments in India’s Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Ambassador of India B.Vanlalvawna said that the Government has implemented various progressive initiatives in the fields of education, infrastructure development, rural economy and welfare in the past few months.
According to the Ambassador, the Jammu and Kashmir government is setting up 176 residential schools known as Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) for catering to educational needs of 15,000 girl students of disadvantaged groups of society at elementary level. Further, 21,000 children with special needs are being covered under inclusive education. Besides this, 23 Central schools are to be setup in remote areas of J&K in the near future. He added that an online career education platform for students was recently inaugurated. This unique initiative is in line with the New Education Policy 2020 and will engage and enable the youth of J&K to connect their learning choices to work opportunities but will also enable the Government to align its initiatives with the interests and aspirations of young people and participate in their livelihood and success.
On key infrastructure development, the Ambassador said that work on Asia’s longest 14.5 km long Zojila tunnel on the Srinagar-Leh highway has been initiated. The tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh on National Highway-1 and is expected to reduce travel time from three and a half hours to only 15 minutes. Besides this, 10 new bridges which have been inaugurated will play a crucial role in strengthening the connectivity to the far-flung areas of J&K, some of which would remain cut off from even district headquarters for about six months during the winter season. The first-of-its-kind Katra-Delhi express road corridor will be completed by 2023 at an estimated cost of over US $ 5 billion. Once completed, the road will pass through many important cities and the travel time from Katra to Delhi will get reduced to around six and half hours, and from Jammu to Delhi to just about six hours.
The Ambassador said that the government has also taken various steps toward promoting the rural economy and boosting the sale of handicraft and handloom products in J&K. It has signed a MoU with Flipkart to bring local handloom and handicraft products onto the e-commerce platform. With an aim to promote trading of GI tagged ‘Kashmir Saffron’, J&K government has created pan India e-Auction portal & to give access to buyers to quality “Kashmir Saffron”. To help cocoon farmers, J&K government has decided to procure 50,000 kg of cocoons directly from the farmers in the Kashmir Division. A similar intervention has already been done in the Jammu Division where 60,000 kg of cocoon has been procured. For the welfare of the population, the Government has accelerated issuance of 1.25 million Domicile Certificates and has launched a new grievance redressal portal called Jammu & Kashmir Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JK-IGRAMS). It has also implemented a programme to handhold and provide assistance to at least two young educated aspiring entrepreneurs from every village in J&K and this programme will benefit over 8000 youth in the Union Territory.