Jammu and Kashmir government’s outreach programme “My Town My Pride” aims to assist local residents in providing services and making them aware about central government schemes like registration under J&K Health Scheme providing health cover up to Rs 5 Lakh, domicile certificates and financial support to entrepreneurs. Under this two-day event beginning from Monday, the J-K administration established camps in different parts of Srinagar where several government departments put up their stalls for public awareness, grievance redressal, enrolment under beneficiary schemes, feedback and other particulars.
Officers of these departments were available in the camp for better public outreach. Services like registration under J&K Health Scheme providing health cover up to Rs 5 Lakh, Aadhaar enrolment and dedication centre for financial support to entrepreneurs for on-spot sanction of cases for self-employment were explained in detail. “Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha felt that ‘My Town My Pride’ was a much-needed initiative that would help citizens solve their local issues. The visiting officers from various government departments will solve public grievances on spot,” Gazanfar Ali, Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation said.
Other departments like Urban Development, PWD, Power, Jal Shakti, Health, Labour, Education, Social Welfare, Handlooms, Handicrafts, Revenue also established stalls in this camp. Domicile certificates were also issued in the camp, signatory authorities were present to issue the certificates on the spot. “Students will benefit in a big way from this camp. Often kids from poor families aren’t aware of scholarships and other benefits at their disposal which will be provided to them now. On the spot domicile certificates are also being issued for public convenience” Aquib Renzu, a local councillor said.
“People are the real asset of any government. This outreach camp has brought the people of Kashmir valley closer to its administration. After ‘Back to Village’, this is yet another step for the welfare of J&K,” Junaid Ahmad, another government employee present at the camp said.
MANOJ SINHA’S AMBITIOUS PLANS FOR J&K
All the bureaucrats in the state, he says, are back at work, pandemic notwithstanding. People are coming to government offices for domicile certificates, caste certificates and other paperwork.”I want to ensure people get a say in what they want. I am not one to make grand announcements,” he says. So, the district planning boards are going to be recast (they were dissolved in 2019) and panchayat elections will be held as soon as feasible.
“I am arranging to send groups of panchayat heads to other parts of India to gather best practices in local government,” he says.
“There might be initial clamour for boycott of panchayat elections, but I expect extensive participation; people know this will have an impact on development.” Sinha hasn’t been in J&K long, but knows about the history of the region’s neglect, having studied it in some detail before going there.
When asked what struck him most about it, he thinks and answers softly: “Projects were started 20, 25 years ago and are still not complete.” This is as close as you can get him to say that the State has let the people of J&K down.
What about Kashmiri Pandits? Sinha is impassive.
He says he has assured them security if they want to return to the Valley: “All over the region, there are beautiful temples, thousands of years old, lying in ruins. If my ancestors had built those structures, I would have grabbed at the chance to rebuild them. I have made an offer to some wealthy KPs: ‘Come back and reclaim your heritage.’ I’m sure they will respond positively.”
Sinha is bewildered at the wasteful, needless and feudal move of the Durbar (secretariat and government offices) to Srinagar in summer and to Jammu in the winter. All the documents are laden in trucks, and then convoys trundle down to Jammu and months later, up to Srinagar.
“In this day of digitisation, do you really need to do this?”
He flags with enthusiasm all the things he wants to do: Offer sport to engage young people (Suresh Raina has been roped in to start cricket academies across the state), build better hospitals, craft a new industrial policy, revive local craft, open an examination centre for entrance to institutions like Aligarh Muslim University…
But will he last long enough in the state to achieve a fraction of this? Who knows? Murmu didn’t.
And then the real problem is doing business with the rest of India, especially when the National Investigation Agency pounces on your partner even if your business is perfectly legitimate and backed with all the paperwork. “The NIA is a very professional entity. It knows whose business is legitimate and whose is just a cover,” he says quietly.