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Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Government has empowered panchayats in J-K, boosted development: Amit Shah

ANI | Updated: Feb 13, 2021 22:32 IST

New Delhi [India], February 13 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said BJP-led government had empowered panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir by giving them powers and funds and the power of vote at the grassroots will help provide elected representatives and leaders.
Replying to a discussion on Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill of 2021 in Lok Sabha, Amit Shah rebutted opposition allegations and said that Jammu and Kashmir was being ruled by "three families" who supported the continuation of Article 370 which was "a temporary measure".
Article 370 was abrogated in August 2019 after the BJP-led government came back to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
"We gave rights to panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir, provided budget, empowered them. The panchayati raj started in Jammu and Kashmir after our government came to power. Earlier three families ruled Jammu and Kashmir and they stayed in favour of Article 370," Shah said.
He said elections to lower panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir were held in December 2018 in which 74 per cent of people participated.
"Kashmir never recorded this kind of polling percentage. About 3,650 sarpanchs and 33,000 panchs were elected. The ruler will now not be born to a queen but will be elected through votes," he said.
The minister said 21 administrative matters have been given to panchayats and about Rs 1500 crore have been directly put into accounts to pave the way for the development of villages.
Shah said the Opposition is asking what the NDA Government has done for Jammu and Kashmir since 2019 and asked what ruling parties in Jammu and Kashmir could do in the last 70 years.
On reference to abolition of Article 370 by some opposition members, he noted that the matter was in court.
He said youth of Jammu and Kashmir have right to be part of all India services and if schools were not burnt, more people would have been part of IPS or IAS services.
The minister said 50,000 families have been covered under health insurance and employment schemes were covering the youth.
He said 28 of 54 schemes under the PM development package have been completed or were nearing completion. He said new educational institutes including AIIMS and IIT were coming up in Jammu and Kashmir.
Shah said the work to connect every home with electricity has been completed.
"Three families who ruled Jammu and Kashmir for years should tell what they did for the people on the health front. Under PMDP, we have sent Rs 881 crores through the Health Ministry."
He said a big impediment was that people did not want to establish industry in but the government has taken steps and created conditions for investment.
The minister said 44,000 Kashmiri Pandit families who have relief cards were getting Rs 13,000 per month apart from free ration.
"They were not displaced when we were in power. Congress failed to provide them security," he said, adding that 6,000 people will be provided houses in Kashmir Valley by 2022.
The minister urged opposition parties not to indulge in politics over Jammu and Kashmir. "There are a lot of things to do politics on. This is a sensitive part of the country, has suffered wounds. It is our duty to provide relief," he said.
The minister said parties that had opposed the decision on abrogation of Article 370 suffered defeat in DDC polls.
He said Ladakh had received Rs 3,518 crore since the abrogation of Article 370 and it was marginally less than the amount the region received between 2014-15 and 2019. The bill, which was earlier passed by Rajya Sabha, was later approved by the House (ANI)