Mufti Sayeed For Inclusive Development Of All JK Regions

15 July 2015
Greater Kashmir

New Delhi: Calling for end to policy of 'one size fits all' on developmental issues, J&K Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, Wednesday urged the Centre to ensure flexibility for states in adapting national policies. He also complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 'promoting cooperative federalism' and establishing NITI Aayog which would take states on-board on key policy matters, including economic issues. 'The dream of becoming a strong nation will only be realized by building consensus with states and making them equal partners in country's development,' he said, speaking during discussions on proposed changes to Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, during the 2nd Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog. Chief Ministers of 16 states attended the meeting chaired by Modi. Sharing his state's perspective over the proposed changes in the Land Acquisition Act, the Chief Minister said, as per Agenda notes, some states and ministries have reported difficulties in the implementation of the 2013 Act. 'It may as such be desirable to build some flexibility in the Act. However, the most important consideration is that the investment climate should not be vitiated,' he stressed, highlighting the 'enormous challenge' the state is facing on the development and security fronts. Referring to the perception being created about proposed changes to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 being anti-farmer, the Chief Minister urged upon the Prime Minister to take all political parties on board, including the opposition which has raised concerns over the changes recommended in the Act. Mufti said J&K has been grappling with the challenge of development in extremely difficult and trying circumstances for more than two decades now. He said 'what is needed to ensure inclusive development of all regions and segments of our society is an overall policy framework based on a complete consensus.' The Chief Minister had earlier in March also, during the meeting of NITI Aayog's Sub Group of Chief Ministers on rationalization of Centrally-Sponsored Schemes, urged the Centre to see from the same lens for forging a better match between policies and needs of the states, an official spokesman said. Pointing out difficulties faced by the state in acquiring land for flagship projects like laying of Railway Lines and construction of Highways, Mufti stressed upon dovetailing the component of employment with compensation for land to provide some sort of economic security to the people who donated major chunks of land, their only source of livelihood. During his recent meeting with the Union Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu, at Srinagar, the Chief Minister had called for considering the claims of several persons for employment in Indian Railways in lieu for land they donated for laying of railway lines across the state. Referring to the state's flexibility over the changes being proposed in the 2013 Act, Mufti said J&K has its own J&K State Land Acquisition Act, 1990 (1934 AD). 'Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, is not applicable in J&K. Our state has been a frontrunner in bringing historic legislations on land reforms and anti-defection. We may still want to adopt some best practices in light of the changing situation,' the Chief Minister said, indicating that the state also has the option to use its powers to amend its own State Land Acquisition Act so that it is in tune with the aspirations of the people, besides meeting the state's developmental needs. The Chief Minister said while there were no disagreements over the issue of compensation, relief and rehabilitation, there were some concerns on consent and social impact assessment in the proposed changes suggested in the Act.