New Delhi: Rajya Sabha on Monday passed Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which seeks to replace an ordinance on merging the cadre of J&K with the UT cadre for administration.
After Article 370 was read down, the State of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories. As per cadre rules for Indian Administrative Services, Indian Police Services and Indian Forest Services (All India Services) Union Territories fall under AGMUT cadre (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and UTs).
To this effect, President Ram Nath Kovind had promulgated the Ordinance last month.
Initiating the debate, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Ghulam Nabi Azad questioned the move saying the bill shows the government’s intentions to keep Jammu and Kashmir as Union Territory.
He reasserted the government’s repeated assurance of bringing the status of J&K back to “State”.
Criticising the government’s move, he alleged that over seven thousand industries have shut in J&K since the abrogation.
The former chief minister urged the government to restore the “state” status and hold Assembly polls.
Replying to the debate, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy claimed development in J&K is progressing at a fast pace level. Mr Reddy mentioned about Block Development Council polls conducted last year and stated that for the first time polling was peaceful with almost 98 per cent voting.
He stated that Kashmir Valley will be connected by railways by 2022. The Minister of State also mentioned Chenab bridge, the world’s highest bridge and elevated light railway system, which are to be completed in the next four years.
Bharatiya Janata Party member Samsher Singh Manhas stated the J&K now has three All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and new campuses of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) are coming to the new UT.
Aam Aadmi Party Sushil Kumar Gupta (AAP) asked the distribution of officers across the all UTs while Manoj Jha of Rashtriya Janata Dal questioned whether the reorganisation is permanent or temporary.
He also raised the case of two PhD students of Bihar who are still waiting to join their college in J&K.
Questioning the restoration of normalcy, he asked why Members of Parliaments were not allowed to visit the Valley.
People Democratic Party’s Mohammad Mir Fayaz questioned if normalcy has been restored as per the government then why there is no bill of restoring the status of “State”.
A Navneethakrishnan of AIADMK supported the government and stated that keeping geographical locations in mind, it is better if J&K is under the direct rule of the Centre.
Ashok Siddharth of Bahujan Samaj Party supported the bill saying everyone wants to visit the valley but no one wants to work there.
But, he raised an objection that the bill might affect the local officers in promotions and needed to be corrected.