Centre proposes separate Haj Committees, Waqf Boards for J&K

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Srinagar, With a view to give fillip to development, education and other activities in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of special Constitutional provisions of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, a Central Government team has worked out roadmap for implementation of some Central schemes like other parts of the country in J&K.
The Central team of Union Minority Affairs Ministry headed by senior officers visited the Kashmir valley on August 27 and 28 and submitted its report to Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today, official sources told the ANS and said the team would shortly visit Jammu and Ladakh to explore similar possibilities of implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes there.
The Central team, according to sources, held threadbare discussion with Jammu and Kashmir Government officials on establishment of Common Service Centres, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Polytechnic Colleges and other such educational institutes in both skilled and unskilled categories under Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakaram.
The Minority Affairs Ministry team inter-acted with officials of Jammu and Kashmir Government in Kashmir on the opening of ITIs, Polytechnics, Common Service Centres etc and the response was good. The team discussed the progress with the Union Minister while submitting their report to him today.
“The Central Government team also mulled establishment of separate Haj Committees and Waqf Boards for Jammu and Kashmir,’’ sources said.
They added that the Central team also held discussions on various development projects like ‘Hunar Haat’ in different educational institutions of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh when they switched over to the Union Territories on October 31. This aspect was discussed by the Central team with the State Government officials and the progress on discussions has been conveyed to the Union Ministry.
According to sources, the delegation of Minority Affairs Ministry which comprised senior officers also held discussions with the State Government on preparing roadmap for implementation of Central schemes of the Minority Affairs Ministry in Jammu and Kashmir like other parts of the country.
It may be mentioned here that several schemes of the Central Government couldn’t be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir due to Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which granted special status to the State.
However, abrogation of Article 370 by the Central Government on August 5, has cleared decks for implementation of the schemes and projects in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which will become Union Territories on October 31, as per the notification of the Union Home Ministry.
“A team of senior officials, including the Secretary, visited Kashmir valley on August 27-28 and explored development possibilities — where schools, colleges, skill development centres can be opened,” sources said.
The team looked at all possibilities of social-economic development projects.
Sources said in its first visit, the team of Minority Affairs Ministry confined its visit to Kashmir only but shortly it will undertake extensive visits to Jammu and Ladakh to explore similar possibilities of implementation of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes there, which hadn’t reached the State so far due to special Constitutional provisions.
It may be mentioned here that a significant decision proposed by the Finance Ministry included exemption from taxes for seven years to the investors who will invest in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Exemption in taxes for seven years was part of the Central Government plan to ensure massive investments in both the new Union Territories to develop them and ensure massive employment opportunities, sources said, noting that two BJP-ruled State Governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka have already announced that they will construct resorts, hotels and tourism centres in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The State Government has already announced 50,000 Government jobs for the youths of Jammu and Kashmir which will be filled in next two to three months.

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