It has been almost three months since the Central government appointed Manoj Sinha as Lieutenant-Governor of the newly formed Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Discussing his works in an interview with The Hindu, he said that the first thing he noticed when he occupied the post was that the public had no platform to register their complaints. So, he set up a system in which certain days of a week were designated onto which the public could express their grievances via District Collectors as well as Divisional Commissioners and Inspector General rank of police. He said that he personally reviews these institutionalized platforms every month.
He said that the government spending in social security schemes is comparatively very low than what the government spends on construction related activities. As he believes that jobs and skill development are an important aspect too, he focused on improving the numbers. As of now, in 16 out of 20 districts, social security services have covered more than 95% of the population.
J&K and Bihar have similar numbers of government employees even though Bihar is 11 times as big as J&K in terms of population. Because of many reasons, private employment could not be boosted in the region for the last 70 years.
While the J&K administration has started recruitment for 11,000 posts, the government is committed to set up industries in the region and pass skills to the youth to be employable. For instance, Ashish Chauhan of the Bombay Stock Exchange said that he will be setting up three month programmes for the youngsters who want stockbroking or insurance agent skills.
The Tata group has also made a hub in Baramulla which is ready and another in Jammu which will be ready by this month. The J&K administration’s aim is to engage with the 80% youth by 2025.
Talking about the new change in the local bodies, Sinha said that in 1992, with the introduction of the 73rd amendment, a three-tier Panchayati Raj was established for the whole nation other than the J&K which still continued with the two-tier system. The necessary amendments have been made now and the polls for the district development council.
The participation of local representatives will deepen grass-root democracy. He accepted that some political leaders were not free but, as of now any major political leader is not under detention. He said that political parties are free to engage in political activities now and there is no extra restraint on them.
Reacting to the statements seeking Chinese help for restoration of Article 370 in the region, Lieutenant-General said that the decency should be maintained and specially by those who have held positions in the past and sworn into office on the Indian Constitution.
The recent land laws have created quite an uproar in the valley. Former CM and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said that the Central Government is trying to snatch “our” land. Countering the allegations, Sinha said that ‘they’ are misleading the people.
The truth is that no outsider can buy agricultural land in the UT which accounts for almost 90% of the total land mass. The new land laws only permit industries to set up in the non-agricultural land area. We want industries to set up in J&K so that they can create new jobs for the youth.
The J&K administration expects at least Rs 25,000-30,000 crore investment after the new policy got enacted. The administration has also selected 6,000 acres of land for an industrial park.
He also assured that the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the floor of the House in the Parliament announced that the statehood will be restored to J&K and it will be done.