July 2018 News

Border People Our Strategic Assets, Important To Maintain Security: Rajnath

12 July 2018
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today described border population in Jammu and Kashmir as 'asset for the country' and important element to maintain border security as he directed the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and officials of the State Government to improve social and economic infrastructure in the border areas to ensure that these people continue to live in the border villages. Rajnath passed these directions while presiding over the review meeting of Border Area Development Programme (BADP) for Jammu and Kashmir and other border States with top officials of MHA and Field and State level officials responsible for implementation of the BADP in New Delhi this afternoon. 'Border population is strategic asset to the country and important element to maintain border security. All out efforts must be made to improve social and economic infrastructure in the border villages to ensure that the border dwellers continue to live in these villages,' Rajnath said in his address to the officials of the MHA and those engaged with implementation of the BADP. Asserting that the Central Government accords utmost top priority to social and economic well being of border population and provide them all facilities like connectivity, safe drinking water, schools, hospitals and other facilities to ensure sustainable living in the border areas, Rajnath Singh assured the border people and the border States of continued assistance to strengthen infrastructure and development activities under the BADP. During his visit to border areas of Jammu on June 7 and 8, Rajnath had announced series of welfare measures for the border dwellers including increase in compensation to next of kin of people killed in Pakistan shelling and firing from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, hike from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 for death of cattle, removal of ceiling for compensation of maximum three cattle, deployment of Bullet-Proof bunkers, construction of individual and community bunkers for Rs 413.5 crore and 'Seema Bhavans'. Rajnath announced that outlay under the BADP has been increased from Rs 990 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 1100 crore in 2017-18, which will help boost infrastructure and connectivity to the border villages and improve condition of the border dwellers. The high-level meeting was among others attended by Union Ministers of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir and Kiren Rijiju, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Special Secretary (Border Management), B.R. Sharma besides officials from several border States including Jammu and Kashmir, who were involved in implementation of the Border Area Development Programme. Official sources said Rajnath had interaction with Field and State level officers implementing Border Area Development Programme (BADP) during which he discussed relevant issues regarding implementation of BADP and to make it more effective. 'For comprehensive and all-round development of border villages, it has been decided to develop 61 model villages for which Rs 126 crores have been released to the State Governments. Additional funds will also be made available as per requirement,' an official statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs said, adding that each model village will provide all basic facilities like Primary Health Centre, primary education, community centre, connectivity, drainage, drinking water, etc. to enable sustainable living in the border areas. On the occasion, Rajnath launched 'BADP Online Management System' for better planning, monitoring and implementation of various projects under the Scheme. 'Border States can submit their respective Annual Action Plans online and receive approvals from Ministry of Home Affairs in electronic mode which will bring in transparency in the sanction process and improve quality of planning and implementation,' the MHA statement said. BADP covers 111 border districts in 17 States to meet special development needs of border population with focus on people living within 50 kilometers of the International Border. A total of Rs 13,400 crore have been released since the programme was initiated in 1986-87. Senior officers from all 17 States and District Magistrates from 25 border districts attended the programme. Presentations were given by State Governments of Jammu & Kashmir and other States highlighting major achievements under the BADP and steps taken by the State Governments to improve quality of life for border population. Rajnath also interacted with around 25 District Magistrates who spoke about the specific issues relevant to their districts.