Putting forward her priorities and vision for development of Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today called for a collective effort to get the State and its people back on course and leap forward to an era of stability and prosperity.
“There are so many challenges for us as there are so many long pending issues on economic, developmental and administrative fronts confronting the state and complicated by political turmoil. We are ready to face them and find solutions through good governance and quality administration,” Chief Minister said while speaking at the conclusion of budget session in legislative council this afternoon.
Chief Minister said so many people have sacrificed their lives for the restoration of democracy and democratic institutions in the State and it is now the duty of legislators to uphold the sanctity and credibility of these institutions. “Politicians, police and security forces personnel, media-persons, government officials and common men and women of J&K have made huge sacrifices for restoration of rule of law and the democratic institutions in the State,” she said and added that it is the duty of everybody among us to safeguard the hard-earned sanctity and credibility of these institutions.
Cautioning the people of Jammu region against the nefarious designs of certain divisive forces trying to communalize the situation in the region for their vested interests, the Chief Minister said while militancy has destroyed the socio-economic fabric of Kashmir, communal violence has the potential of causing similar destruction in Jammu. “I urge the emancipated people of Jammu region to keep a close watch on the activities of such elements and isolate them before they succeed in their evil designs,” she said.
Stressing on improving quality and efficiency in administration, the Chief Minister said the work culture disseminated by the more than two decades long turmoil in the State, has to be rebuild brick by brick so that people feel the change. She said the government functionaries shall have to perform or face the consequences as the things are not moving at the desired pace because of lackadaisical approach at various levels. “We need a strong and motivated work force to ensure that the fruits of development reach to every citizen of the state,” she said and added the critical developmental issues have to be brought forward and addressed with motivation and fresh resolve.
Calling for appropriate blending of welfare and growth measures to build a community of common destiny that would contribute to J&K’s overall prosperity, the Chief Minister said good governance can be ensured only through a concerted effort by various stakeholders including political executive, legislators, bureaucracy, media and the common men and women of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The focus areas for our Government include infrastructure development in key sectors like road communication, drinking water, power, health, tourism, education, and rural and urban development,” she said and added the Government will have to at the same time address the issues concerning youth, women, unemployed and young entrepreneurs.
“We have to use talent, trade, tradition and technology to take the state to newer heights in development,” Mehbooba said and added that there is a pressing need to put in place a wide-ranging strategy on tackling unemployment, which undoubtedly is one of the most dangerous time bombs ticking in the state. She said that government has already created a four-tier structure for Skill Development Mission to channelize the potential of the State’s youth towards productive employment generation.
Laying stress on addressing the issues concerning the youth, the Chief Minister said; “I understand the aspirations of the youth of Jammu and Kashmir. I have a vision for them, and I want to assure them that my government together with the Government of India is working to address their issues particularly that of unemployment to the best of our collective abilities. This is not just a personal commitment but a pledge that I am making,” she said.
Seeking support for uprooting the menace of corruption, Mehbooba said effective and efficient financial management with utmost priority towards transparency and accountability and judicious utilization of development fund would be her ultimate and prime agenda. “Our government’s aim is to ensure corruption-free and transparent governance. We would neither tolerate corruption nor would we protect corrupt politicians or officials,” she maintained.
Stating that structural transformation in key sectors is critical to put the State on a high growth trajectory, the Chief Minister emphasized on paying due attention towards power, agriculture, horticulture, tourism, health and education sectors. “These prime sectors need to be thoroughly overhauled to secure the society and the future of the state,” she said.
The Chief Minister hailed the Legislators for forcefully raising the issues concerning the State and its people during the month-long budget session. She said it was job of the opposition to point out the deficiencies in the government while the government was responsible for providing good governance.
“We represent the people of the state. It is the job of the opposition to oppose, depose and expose. We have a common goal to bring peace and stability to Jammu and Kashmir. United we stand, divided we fall,” she said.
She also welcomed the constructive criticism of the functioning of the Government by the media and said that these criticisms help the Government to make course-corrections.
The Chief Minister also hailed the police and civil administration for facilitating smooth proceedings of the House during the entire session.