NITI Ayog paints J&K’s growth story red

Virtually putting question mark on efficiency and capability of administrative machinery, Niti Aayog has rebutted all claims of effective implementation of various centrally sponsored schemes and presented a disturbing picture of the state.

Niti Aayog has laid bare facts and figures to substantiate its claim that Jammu and Kashmir has not progressed much during the last 69 years. It has brought to light chilling reality of state resources being looted on the pretext of situation being disturbed in Jammu and Kashmir.

Niti Aayog has found out that disturbed situation pretext has been excessively used as in when the respective State governments were asked about delay in completing various developmental projects. It has been said that respective governments have disappointed people of Jammu and Kashmir to such an extent that they have lost all hope of progress and prosperity.

Aayog has asked central government to keep an eye on the Jammu and Kashmir government after extending special package to the state so that funds are utilized for the purpose for which they are sanctioned.

It has said that Jammu and Kashmir ranks low on people’s satisfaction with the development of infrastructure. In some villages of the border areas, there is a need for construction of hostel dormitories and common shelters for old and handicapped, Ayog has said while adding that large community halls and cultural centers should be constructed. It has commented that Anganwadis and crèches are very small in number.

Ayog has said that even big villages of state lack Anganwadis while adding that people are not satisfied with the level of vocational and technical education either. It has further said that medical facilities are also below par and state also lacks health awareness programs, with staff inadequacy plaguing the system. Irrigation systems are not adequate and ponds are available but are not under any government authority and thus, people generally look after these water bodies.

Even the desilting of ponds is done by the local villagers and not by authorities concerned. The supply of electricity is erratic; often it is available only an hour or two through the day. Some households complained about receiving electricity bills from PDD while electric supply was absent. The level of satisfaction with PDS in state Jammu & Kashmir is good; however, people from many villages need to make 2km trips to reach public distribution stores.

In most of the villages, there are no officially-appointed committees for monitoring of BADP work at the village level. There is a lack of coordination between village Panchayats and Border Area Development Project Officer (BADP) officers. The Ayog has gone to the extent of saying that status of women is quite low, financially as well as socially since these areas are mired in traditional mores. It has not minced words while saying that women are not allowed to participate in decision-making.

Ayog has said that some villages have just one woman member in the Panchayat while some lack even an appointed Junior Engineer or BDO. It has further said that the condition of schools in Jammu and Kashmir is abysmal. Niti Ayog has said that schools lack permanent and well-qualified teachers while teacher absenteeism is also a serious problem.

In the border areas of the state, the Ayog has said that people expressed acute concerns over security and told it that frequent incidents of shelling and cross-border firing often forces locals to migrate to safer areas. Quoting a resident of border areas, the Ayog has said that the people in those areas told them that they are the frontier.

“We are ahead of even the army. God knows when China will come barging in,” the locals told the Ayog. They further briefed the Ayog about the problems being faced by them including availability of water. Ayog has said that problems of people living in Border areas stretch beyond needs of infrastructure and development.

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