Press Trust of india

Congress, TMC accuse govt of not heeding to aspirations of people of J&K

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New Delhi: The Congress and TMC on Tuesday accused the central government of bringing in the budget of Jammu & Kashmir without giving heed to the aspirations of people of the Union Territory and pressed for restoring the Legislative Assembly there.

Initiating the debate on the budget of Jammu and Kashmir in Rajya Sabha, Congress member Vivek K Tankha alleged that there is complete administrative paralysis in the Union Territory due to the absence of an elected government.

“People from all parts of the country discuss the budget. But Jammu and Kashmir people will not participate in the discussion. Besides the four members from Jammu & Kashmir are also not there in the House to discuss the budget as there is no (legislative) assembly there,” he said.

Tankha told the House that in the last five years and 254 days, there was either Governor’s rule or President’s rule and no legislature to discuss their budget.

“In legislative assembly… people put (forth) their aspirations or views which ultimately provides feedback to the government. A lot of schemes (to meet those aspirations) are made,” he stated.

“Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are part of the country. Crores of people live there. They have aspirations and a vision. If we pass the budget (of the state) without listening to aspirations of the people then you can imagine their pain,” he said and called for restoring the Legislative Assembly in J&K.

He also highlighted that the budget has proposed to ”lower” the allocations for higher education, cultural and power development.

“The meeting of minds to set the priority (for the UT) is not possible because the people don’t have their representatives (in the House).”

He suggested that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who moved the budget for consideration and returned to Lok Sabha, should visit Jammu and Kashmir without her officers so that she gets a ”realistic feedback about the aspirations or views” of the native people.

Echoing similar views, Trinamool Congress’ Mohammad Nadimul Haque said that this budget has not reflected the socio-economic conditions of Jammu and Kashmir.

He claimed that there was 22 percent unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir against the national average of seven percent.

He also quoted a report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation and said that among the educated people the unemployment rate is 46.3 percent in Jammu & Kashmir and every second educated youth is unemployed there.

He also alleged that big contracts for developmental and other works had gone to outside firms which resulted in a rise in unemployment in local youth.

The TMC member stressed the need to provide greater allocation for tourism infrastructure in view of tourist inflow there.

He said, “Please stop this… speak to the local people. Accept the reality. Keep the promises made in the House and outside it, and restore democracy in Jammu and Kashmir.”

However, BJP member Anil Jain defended the government while participating in the debate and said that GST and stamp duty collections are rising in the state, indicating an economic growth uptick.

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