July 2006 News

Kalam moots 9-point development plan for J&K

28 July 2006
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam today suggested a nine-point developmental plan for militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir, including a people's movement to eliminate terrorism and the creation of an economic zone along the Line of Control. In his maiden address to a joint session of the State Legislature here this afternoon, Dr Kalam said citizens must be allowed to participate in large numbers in the movement to curb terrorism and the Government should authorise law enforcement agencies to adopt 'a mission mode approach' to make the state free from militants. 'Citizens who wish to cooperate in the peace mission must be provided special security,' he said, suggesting the introduction of national ID cards for all Government and business dealings as well as special monitoring mechanisms for 'unusual and abnormal banking transactions'. The judiciary must consider the creation of a fast judicial process for settling terrorism-related cases, he said. Advocating the setting up of an economic zone at the LoC, Kalam said, 'the State Government may consider allotting the land on lease basis in consultation with the Army for horticulture and agriculture utilisation. Once the people participate in the development of the land, they themselves will oppose intervention from wrong elements.' He added that there is 'also a need to provide special security in this zone'. In an apparent reference to Kashmiri Pandit migrants, Kalam said a 'conducive environment' should be created for all Kashmiris who had left the State 'to return and contribute' to its growth. 'Schools and colleges should promote value-based education right from primary education,' said Kalam, adding the Central and State Governments could consider a two-year mandatory stint with the NCC for all students to promote discipline among them. Dr Kalam listed horticulture at the top of his nine-point agenda, saying it could generate revenues of Rs 15,200 crore a year against the existing Rs 2,000 crore and benefit 7.8 lakh families. The other areas where Kashmir could go ahead in a 'mission mode' include education and entreprenuership, developing global human resource cadre, healthcare, infrastructure development, tourism, and introduction of e-governance, he said. 'I believe that the nine missions, which I have described today, can be the foundation for the mission of Jammu and Kashmir's prosperity. I would suggest that the mission of legislators cutting across all political affiliations must be to bring peace and prosperity to 10 million people of the state,' the President said. He wished the lawmakers and people success in the mission to transform Kashmir into a developed State by 2015. Dr Kalam also gave an elaborate plan for the development of tourism in the state which could generate revenues of Rs 10,000 crore, up from the existing level of Rs 1,000 crore. 'With its unique tourist selling propositions, the state can well afford to set an ambitious target of doubling the Indian tourist inflow to 15 million per year and enhancing the foreign tourist inflow to one million by 2010,' he said. This would demand thrust and additional infrastructure and high level of training to handle the higher volume of tourists, he said. A new policy of promoting seven key areas like swagat (welcome), soochna (information), suwidha (facility), surakhsha (safety), sahyog (cooperation), samrachna (infrastructure) and safai (cleanliness) would help boost tourism, he said. A stress on product diversification and dispersal of tourism activities to far flung areas can also enhance tourism, he said. Jammu and Kashmir Government needs an e-governance based accelerated management system to administer finance and to monitor and interface with central and world institutions, Kalam said. Dr Kalam said the nation is going through a major challenge of uplifting 220 million people who are below the poverty line out of the total population of a billion plus population. They need habitat, they need food, they need healthcare, and they need education and employment finally resulting in a good life, he added. 'Our GDP is growing at nearly 8 percent per annum,' he said and added that economists suggest 'our economy has to grow at the rate of an additional minimum of 2 percent per annum consistently, for over a decade, to uplift the people from below the poverty line.' He said 'our mission of transforming India into a developed nation is to meet the needs of all the billion people.' 'We have identified five areas where India has core competencies for integrated action- agriculture and food processing, education and healthcare, infrastructure for all parts of the country such as reliable and quality electric power and surface and air transport, information and communication technology and self-reliance in strategic sectors',he said. These five areas are closely inter- related and when effectively addressed, would lead to food, economic, energy and national security and lead to sustainable prosperity. He said emphasis should be on full utilization of natural and human resources of the region to meet the demands of modern society. 'We should also remember that about 50 percent of our population consists of young people, with aspirations for a better life. This is also true in the case of Jammu and Kashmir,' the President said. Dr Kalam lauded the security forces saying the nation is safe in their hands who are defending our frontier in the difficult environment and terrain at the highest altitude. 'They are giving the best part of their youth for the defence of the nation,' he added. Recalling his visit to Siachen Glacier on April 2, 2004, the President said he visited Kumar Post, the highest post held by the Indian Army on the Siachen Glacier. He said the post is located at 17,000 feet above sea level and at that time, it was snowing and the temperature was minus 35 degrees centigrade. 'When I reached the field station, three soldiers-Naik from Karnataka, Williams from West Bengal and Salim from Uttar Pradesh-shook hands with me. As soon as they shook hand with me, it become agni that transformed into warmth and penetrated into me', he said adding this warmth gave me the confidence that our nation is safe in their hands. 'Every time I visit Jammu and Kashmir, it brings to me the inherent strength of the state in the fields of spirituality unity, courage to face the problems and succeed, availability of technological competence in the area of agriculture and bio-diversity. He said he was inspired to see brave soldiers defending India's border at the high altitude. Greeting the members of the Legislative Assembly and Council in Hindi, Dr Kalam said everyone has to contribute to restore normalcy in the State. 'Aab Mai Aap Ko Pahlay Kuch Hindi Mai Kahta Hoon' ( now I will say something to you in Hindi), Dr Kalam said when he started to address the joint session. Dr Kalam greeted the members with Aasalam Alikum and Namaskar. 'I feel happy and am pleased to be with you in this beautiful State and my good wishes to you all,' Dr Kalam said. 'I am thankful to you for giving me an opportunity to address the joint session of the Legislature,' he added. The President said 'we all have to contribute to restore peace in the State which was necessary for overall development' Earlier, Governor Lt. Gen. (Retd) S K Sinha, Chairman Legislative Council Abdul Rashid Dar and Speaker Legislative Assembly Tara Chand welcomed President describing his address to the joint session of legislature a historic occasion and honour to both Houses of the State Legislature. Later, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad presented vote of thanks to Dr. Kalam for his thought provoking, unique and historic Address. Mr Azad also presented a memento to the President. In his address, Governor Lt. Gen (Retd) S K Sinha described the State Legislature as a symbol of self-rule and temple of democracy in the State. 'The quality and degree of the self rule in Jammu and Kashmir is more than in any other State  of the country', the Governor maintained. General Sinha complimented the treasury and opposition benches for preserving the democratic values, saying 'my Government and the opposition have been maintaining democratic decorum in the Legislature'. He signified importance of address to the State Legislature by the President and said 'this day will go down as landmark day in this legislature'. Giving full assurance to Kalam that his missions for prosperous Jammu and Kashmir would be deliberated upon in next session of the legislature, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the government would take all steps to realize it in letter and spirit. He was presenting vote of thanks to President for his address. 'This shows your deep concern and love for the people of the State that you have worked out a meticulous blue-print for prosperity of the state', Mr. Azad, adding 'every word of your speech not only touched the hearts of all of us present in the auditorium but surely have carried the people alongwith it watching your address live on Doordarshan'. He said if 'your might remains with us, the day is not far when the dawn of prosperity will dawn in the State'. Saying that Jammu and Kashmir is fortunate that a President of the largest democracy of the world, a globally renowned scientist, an intellectual of par-excellence, a philosopher of high repute and above all a highly dignified person with a tender heart which beats for people's cause especially for women, children and downtrodden is supporting the state with its full might and sincerity to pull it out of distress and lead towards peace and prosperity. He said 'your deep interest in the development of Jammu and Kashmir is a beacon light for all of us guiding to work with dedication, zest and missionary spirit for achieving prosperity for all the regions of the state'. Describing address of the President as historic, the Chief Minister expressed his gratitude and thanks on behalf of the legislators and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Later, Chief Minister led President to a photo exhibition displayed in the gallery of SKICC titled 'Nostalgic Kashmir' containing photographs of people, places, trades, rulers and landscape depicting the period from 1850-1950 organized by Wasim Showkat Wani. The President showed keen interest in the exhibition and looked each photograph.


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