Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha addressed the 76th Independence Day ceremony at Srinagar which was his third Independence Day speech as the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Here is the full text of his speech:
Wishing you all a very Happy Independence Day in ‘Amrit Kaal Khand’.
I salute our beloved tricolor and pay tribute to all those freedom fighters and martyrs, who made the supreme sacrifice to protect this land of Pir-Vaer. My heart is filled with ever-lasting gratitude towards the brave soldiers of Maa Bharti.
Today is a day of sacred remembrance. This land is made of blood and sweat of countless freedom fighters and martyrs. They kept our flag flying high and paved the way for our development and progress. Conquering the numerous challenges with a spirit of unity, zeal, dedication and a firm resolve, India is marching ahead to a glorious future with ideas and ideals of our forefathers.
Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji started the “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign for bringing 130 crore countrymen under one flag, one identity and one emotion in the 75th year of India’s independence. This festival is an occasion to take a pledge to make India strong and prosperous. Today’s resolve and the energy of the new generation will guide us in building a new India of 2047.
Today I pay tribute to the brave soldiers of Army, Para Military Forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police, who have kept the unity and integrity of India intact with their amazing valor and sacrifice. We have decided that a Gaurav Stambh shall be established in Srinagar in memory of the brave soldiers who have sacrificed their lives defending our beloved motherland. I have full faith that the immortal flame of Gaurav Stambh and the museum of our brave hearts will be the center of inspiration for the new generation. I am proud of brave hearts of Jammu and Kashmir Police who have received 125 gallantry medals on the eve of Independence Day. Their sacrifices will always inspire us.
The sacrifices of our brave soldiers are invaluable, but concrete measures are necessary for providing succor to their families for living a dignified life. The Government has increased the compensation amount for the families of army personnel of Jammu and Kashmir martyred in the line of duty from Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh. The administration has decided to bear the cost of Jammu and Kashmir Police’s martyr wards up to class 12th. Agniveers after military service shall get 10 percent reservation in the recruitments to be conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir Police. On the occasion of Independence Day, I also announce the reorganization of Village Defence Committees. I have full faith that the sons of Mother India will work with the spirit of sacrifice and dedication to protect the honour of world’s largest democracy.
Dear brothers and sisters, India, the mother of democracy, wants peace and welfare of the entire humanity, but we are also ready to defend our freedom, sovereignty and integrity with full zeal. A befitting reply is being given to those who are trying to mislead our youth with a nefarious proxy war. A final blow is being dealt to the terror ecosystem operating at the behest of the neighboring country. We will push the last nail in the coffin of terrorism. Strike, stone pelting and protests have become things of the past. I appeal to the 1 crore 30 lakh citizens of Jammu and Kashmir to speak with one voice against terrorism and atrocities on the innocent.
In this Amrit Kaal of independent India, Jammu and Kashmir is soaring to a new height. A strong, peaceful and prosperous union territory is witnessing rapid growth over three successive years, which is unprecedented in the history. The nightmare of seven long decades is over and a fear-free, corruption-free new Jammu and Kashmir is emerging to take on the future challenges.
Last year, on this auspicious day, I had invoked revered Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji’s wisdom for social justice and all-round progress with spirit of insaniyat, jamhooriyat and kashmiriyat. We have to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of citizens by becoming self-reliant, by displaying unflinching integrity, dedication and unwavering devotion to the values enshrined in the Constitution. After 25 years we should be remembered fondly by our future generations just like we recall the contributions of the great men who laid the foundations of a New India.
Panchayati Raj Institutions are working with determination for the development of every individual and safeguarding the interests of all sections of the society. By assimilating each other’s customs and traditions, by mutual understanding and mutual adjustment of all religions and sects, the message of Kashmiriyat is being spread to the whole world. Every section of population is being made an equal partner in the developmental journey of Jammu and Kashmir. There are limitless possibilities and challenges before us. To achieve the goals of economic equality and social justice, innovative entrepreneurs, intellectuals, educationists, farmers, youth and women shall have to come together. The elixir of freedom is the launching pad for the quantum leap into the glorious future. This is an occasion when we, as citizens of India, have to take a pledge to protect and expand the achievements of 75 years.
This spiritual place has bestowed the world with wisdom and mantra of composite culture for centuries. The mountain peaks here symbolize the devotion of Shankaracharya and the flowing rivers celebrate the devotional songs of Lal Ded. The leaves of Chinar embody the spiritual ecstasy of Nund Rishi and the deodar trees reverberate the melodies of Habba Khatoon. Abdul Ahad Azad Sahib has written:“Chalaan chumm sharr hubaban, izteraban, valvalan ander,Yivan chumm zindagi hund soz safaran manzilan ander”.“My wishes are fulfilled in love, in impatience, in passion, I get the essence of life in journeys, in destinations.”
Jammu and Kashmir is not just piece of land but a symbol of cultural and spiritual heritage of the country. Kalhana has written in Rajataringini “Sandhya Devi Jalan Yasmin Dhate Nisalile Giri – “The taste of water of Sandhya Devi testifies the existence of virtue and absence of sin. The Goddess appears in the form of a swan in the lake situated on the holy Bhedgiri from the source of the Ganges.”
This is the land of Mother Saraswati, abode of all virtues and the enlightened dream of Chaitanya. From Mount Harmukh to the summits of Vindhyas, from Jhelum to Prayag Sangam, from Bhedagiri to Baba Kedarnath, every breath, every heartbeat carries the fragrance of Hindustan and the aspirations for the supreme glory of the tricolor. There may be thousands and lakhs of obstacles and challenges, but each and every Indian should unite to fight these challenges and be the architect of the future of India – this is the resolution of Independence Day.“Ek ankur phoot kar bola ki main haara nahi hun,ek ulka-pind hoon, taara nahi hoon, mrityu par jeevan vijay udhyoush karta, mainamar lalkar hun charaa nahi hunmainamar lalkar hun charaa nahi hun” “A sapling said that I am not defeated,I am a meteorite, not a star. Life is victor over death,I am an immortal challenger not a whimper,I am the immortal challenger, not a whimper.”
Dear brothers and sisters, three years ago, the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji laid the foundation for modern and equitable socio-economic development in Jammu and Kashmir. Under his guidance, J&K has been making remarkable achievements for the holistic development of the region. Despite many odds and challenges, we have been able to complete a whopping 50,726 projects in the last financial year.
Over the last three years, the pace of execution of developmental schemes has increased by five times on account of a resurgent institutional framework. Districts are the basis for implementation of policies and programmes; district CAPEX budget has been increased four-fold to Rs. 22,126 crore for completion of various developmental projects. Grass root democratic institutions like Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies have been empowered to actively participate in the decision-making process to cater to the needs of common citizens. There are around 20,000 such works/projects under execution presently which have been solely identified by the people.
In the last two years, the government has endeavored to develop areas which had remained neglected till now. Dalits, tribals and socio-economically backward classes have benefited from an equitable governance system, so have the women of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The Union Territory has achieved new horizons of success in the field of business, economy, education, culture and sports.
The aspirations of the youth of Jammu and Kashmir have been synchronized with the aspirations of the country today. Their dreams are not confined to personal development, but transcend to create a good future for the society, nation and the entire humanity. The youth of today aspire for an equitable society free from poverty, unemployment and exploitation.
As many as 30 thousand government jobs have been provided to the youth in last three years with complete transparency. Certain complaints were received about the irregularities which are being probed. We will ensure stringent punishment to those found guilty. The administration has also planned recruitment drive to fill the vacant positions this year. Self-employment opportunities have been provided to 5.2 lakh young boys and girls under various programmes.
Under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program, Jammu and Kashmir has been successful in establishing 21,640 manufacturing and service units in the last financial year, thereby emerging as the best performing region in the country. Under this Programme, 1.73 lakh new job opportunities were created, which is the highest among all the states and Union territories of India.
Under Mission Youth, opportunities are being provided to young boys and girls to become entrepreneurs through schemes like Mumkin, Tejaswini, Rise Together and Parvaaz. We have made significant strides towards making urban and rural women financially independent through Hausla, Saath, Umeed and House Stay programmes. As many as 5 lakh rural women have been empowered through Self Help Groups, thereby neutralizing the sense of insecurity and despondency. The administration is sensitive to the problems faced by women in government jobs and has decided to establish crèche facilities in all the districts and offices in Jammu and Srinagar.
Adequate resources have been made available for the inclusive growth of the region. Government spending in the social and economic sector has been increased by 43.83% and 45.60% respectively. Efforts are being made to take the benefits of development to the last person standing in the queue.
The online services of all departments have been brought under the Public Services Guarantee Act with fixed timelines, so that the administration is accountable to the general public by cutting delays in the delivery of public services. We have decided to celebrate 5th August every year as the day of Resolution for Freedom from Corruption.
Jammu and Kashmir has been ranked at the top among the UTs in e-governance service delivery. 209 public services are being provided online and Rapid Assessment System (RAS) has been established to obtain direct feedback from the public about these services. The feedback received so far reveals the approval ratings for most of the services are above 80%. Through “Aapka Mobile, Hamara Daftar” initiative, we have lived up to our commitment to make public service delivery faceless and cashless.
Dear brothers and sisters, transport infrastructure is a pre-condition for economic and social transformation of any region. In the last two years, road and tunnel infrastructure has been prioritized and Rs 1 lakh crore is being spent to build a robust road network. Last year, Jammu and Kashmir has set a new record of constructing 6,450 km of road length. Jammu and Kashmir ranks third in achieving the target of longest road length in the country. Earlier 6 km of road length was constructed per day which has increased to 20 km of road length per day.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Jammu and Kashmir ranks fourth in the country. In the last two years, a total of 169 bridges have been constructed to strengthen the transport system and in the last financial year, 7610 km of road length has been macadamized which used to be around 2500-3000 km previously. Travel time between Jammu and Srinagar has been reduced from 12 hours to 7 hours.
In the 70 years since independence, Jammu and Kashmir was able to attract cumulative investment worth Rs 14000-15,000 crores whereas investment proposals worth Rs 56000 crores have been received in the past one and a half year only.
The results of the MoUs signed with reputed foreign investors like Emaar, Lulu and DP World shall soon be visible on the ground. 22 proposals worth Rs. 4400 crore have been approved for establishing a Medicity which shall also increase the number of MBBS seats in the UT by a whopping 1000. The golden period of industrial development of Jammu and Kashmir has been ushered in through the new industrial development policy of the Hon’ble Prime Minister.
Eight clusters of handicrafts and handlooms are being established to provide a global market for the rich heritage of handicrafts of Jammu and Kashmir. The Handicraft Department is completing the process of census of all artisans associated with handicrafts. Central Khadi and Village Industries Board have established 5851 units last year through which around 47,000 new job opportunities have been created. The Silk Weaving Factory in Srinagar, which was closed for many years, has been revived. Financial assistance given to handicraft artisans under the Artisan Credit Card has been doubled from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. 26 new units have been established under the karkhandaar scheme. For securing a place in the global market for valuable handicrafts and enhancing their exports, 7 Crafts – Carpet, Pashmina, Sozni, Khatamband, Walnut Woodcarving, Papier-mâché and Kani Shawl have been GI Tagged.
Dear brothers and sisters, the administration is working diligently to transform the archaic electricity network and systems in the Union territory. Work has already commenced on five major hydropower projects in collaboration with NHPC and in the next three years, we shall be in a position to generate the quantum of electricity cumulatively generated in the last 70 years. In the last two years, the transmission capacity has been enhanced from 8234 MVA to 11,016 MVA and the distribution capacity has been enhanced from 12,745 MVA to 16,574 MVA. 95,000 smart meters have been installed in Jammu and Srinagar cities and 6 lakh smart meters shall be installed by March 2023 for quality and reliable power. While the per capita energy consumption for the country as a whole is 1208 units, the same for Jammu and Kashmir is significantly higher at 1384 units.
Jammu and Kashmir has been ranked in the category of front runners in the Sustainable Development Index of NITI Aayog. Jammu and Kashmir is performing better than the national average on 12 parameters of health. Whereas, the neonatal mortality rate for the country as a whole is 24.9 per 1000 births, the same for Jammu and Kashmir has come down to single digit i.e. 9.8. Similarly, while the infant mortality rate for the country stood at 35.2, the same for Jammu and Kashmir is 16.3, the Under-5 Mortality Rate for the country is 41.9 and 18.5 for Jammu and Kashmir. Sex ratio at birth for the country as a whole stood at 929 and for Jammu and Kashmir, it stands at 976.
J&K has emerged as a role model in the entire country in COVID vaccination and COVID management. In the last financial year alone, 159 projects in the health sector have been completed at a cost of Rs. 670 crore. In the current financial year, we have set a target of completing 220 health care projects at a cost of Rs. 1757 crores. Under the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Scheme, 80% of population of Jammu and Kashmir has been covered, and the government is spending Rs. 1.7 crore per day on health care of general public.
The average water coverage for Jammu and Kashmir is 57.86% which is much higher than the national average of 50.30%. All schools, Aanganwadi centers and health care institutions have been provided with tapped water connections and the government is committed to realize the dream of providing water to every household by next year.
PMDP projects were stalled for a long time due to policy paralysis, but in the last two years alone, 30 out of 53 projects have been completed by eliminating all bottlenecks. Out of the remaining 23 projects, 12 projects shall be completed in this financial year. The construction of the world’s highest railway bridge on Chenab River is going on in full swing and the dream of connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari with railways will be realized by next year.
Farmers are the backbone of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. In the last two years, the government has taken a multitude of policy decisions for improving their conditions. J&K has been ranked 3rd in the whole country for monthly farm income. Jammu and Kashmir ranks 5th in the country in the category of better performing states for reforms in agriculture and allied sectors. More than 2500 hectares of agricultural land has been brought under High Density Plantation and the global market has been provided for the Kashmiri fruits and vegetables under Parwaz Scheme. The Shahpur Kandi project, which was pending for four decades, is finally being executed at a cost of Rs. 2793 crores. The project shall be completed by March next year and shall irrigate 32,173 hectares of land.
Dear brothers and sisters, some radical reforms and initiatives have been initiated in the Revenue Department. Under the Aapki Zameen Aapki Nigrani Project, revenue records like Jamabandi, Girdwari, Mutation and Mousavi have been made digitally available to common citizens who can access these records without visiting the office of Patwari or Tehsildars, besides filing applications for rectification. So far, 16 lakh citizens from all 20 districts have availed this facility.
Land passbooks are being issued to all land owners in three languages viz. Urdu, Hindi and English. De-mystification of land records is also being carried out so as to ensure that people can have access to their records in popular languages. This facility is being provided in the Jammu and Srinagar districts in the first phase of the project. With these land passbooks, land owners have been empowered to use their land as a financial asset for obtaining loans easily from banks and other financial institutions.
Under the Svamitva Scheme, Jammu and Kashmir has become the first UT in the country to issue ownership cards. Srinagar is the first district in the entire country to achieve 100% saturation under this Scheme. Since independence, till now only 300 Patwar-khanas were functional in government buildings in Jammu and Kashmir. Under a special campaign launched in March this year, 1662 Patwar-khanas have been established in government buildings in a month’s time. To ensure transparency and accountability in the revenue administration, the government has prescribed specific timings for patwaris to attend to the public. To prevent any manipulation of revenue records, the process of seeding mobile and Aadhaar numbers with revenue records has been initiated. By bringing 24 services of the Revenue Department under the Public Service Guarantee Act, provision of these services to the public has been ensured in a time bound manner.
Under the Forest Rights Act, the tribal brothers have been vested with rights over water, forest and land thereby securing the future of their coming generations. The government shall complete more number of hostels for the tribal youth than the cumulative number constructed in the last 44 years. Scholarships are being provided to 1.69 lakh tribal children and top 100 performing children are being provided coaching for NEET and JEE. Similarly, 100 promising children from the tribal community shall be provided coaching for the Civil Services Examinations.
The Central and UT Government is fully committed to the rehabilitation and welfare of Kashmiri Pandits. Sincere efforts are being made at the administrative level and the people should also come forward for achieving this objective. Out of 6000 jobs, appointments have been made on 5502 posts and recruitment for 458 posts has been initiated which shall be completed soon. We have been able to address the demands of employees appointed under Hon’ble PM Package to a great extent. The construction of 6000 transit accommodations for facilitating their return under PMDP which was very sluggish, has received a new impetus. 1000 units have been completed and 1100 units more will be completed by this year. Further, the Government has set a target of completing the remaining 3900 units within one and a half years. All PM Package and minority employees have been deployed in safe places. Jobs and housing, although important, are not the only solutions for their rehabilitation and welfare, so other efforts are also being made. Kashmiri Pandits and other displaced communities facing the brunt of displacement have been given justice by implementing the Jammu and Kashmir Displaced Immovable Property Act, enacted in 1997, with effect from last year. Till June this year, 8000 complaints have been received, on the basis of which, 2414 kanals of land have been retrieved from illegal occupation by taking action on 6500 complaints thereby providing justice to these 6500 families after three decades.
All major social welfare schemes- Mission Indradhanush, Old Age Pension, Widow Pension, Disability Pension, Supplementary Nutrition, SC-Pre-Matric Scholarship, SC-Post-Matric Scholarship, Minority Pre-Matric Scholarship, Minority Post-Matric Scholarship , Merit cum Means Minority Scholarship Scheme, Sugar and Food Grain Subsidy, Poshan Abhiyaan, Nutrition Tracker, UJALA, Ujjwala, Saubhagya, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Kisan Credit Card have been saturated to 100% in the last three years. Under Saubhagya Yojana, 8.57 lakh beneficiaries have been covered by providing electricity connections. Under the Ujjwala scheme, 12.41 lakh rural women have been provided LPG connections and it is being ensured that all sections of the society benefit from the developmental efforts.
Realizing the vision of inclusive growth, Aspirational Block scheme has been launched in 44 blocks. Jammu and Kashmir is the first UT or state in the country to do so and also the first state or UT in the country to launch District Good Governance Index. Dear brothers and sisters, a record 12 million tourists who visited Jammu and Kashmir this year, testify the overall development and change that has taken place in the Union territory.
The Educational system of the UT has been overhauled and aligned as per the recommendations of the National Education Policy, 2020. Through the Aao School Chalein campaign, 1.7 lakh students from disadvantaged sections have been brought back to the class rooms. Jammu and Kashmir has secured first position in the loyalty program of teachers training. In the National Achievement Survey, the UT has been ranked No. 1 in primary education and third in middle school education in the country. With a view to provide quality education to the youth in remote areas of the UT, 25,000 additional seats at graduate level have been provided by setting up 50 degree colleges. This is the biggest addition in the Higher Education sector in the last 70 years. Uniform academic calendar has been introduced in all higher educational institutions.
Dear brothers and sisters, as we celebrate 75 years of our Independence, the world order is entering a new phase. All citizens, farmers, youth, labourers, women, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers, artisans and public representatives of Jammu and Kashmir have to fulfill their obligations with regard to a new resolution for the next 25 years of journey of Jammu and Kashmir.
Today, on this auspicious occasion, I want to call upon the people of Jammu and Kashmir that this is a golden opportunity to restore the pride and excellence of Jammu and Kashmir. Let us build a self-reliant Jammu and Kashmir for the coming generations and realize the dreams of our ancestors. Let us create a society where every citizen is a fellow traveler in the journey of development of the nation and lives a life full of dignity and honour, bereft of any discrimination. Let us build a social system which benefits every individual. Let us unite against the conspiracies and thwart the malafide intentions which have pushed Jammu and Kashmir into darkness for decades.
We must reiterate, today, our resolve to defend every inch of our territory and convert the challenges into opportunities. The future belongs to youth. Let us resolve to fully support young men and women in building a bright future for Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir is on the move. I call upon every section of the society to make their valuable contribution to a happy, peaceful and prosperous Jammu and Kashmir.
It is only on the strength of trust and coexistence that we can create a golden future for the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. Let us take a pledge to make Jammu and Kashmir Nasha-Mukt, Bhrashatachar-Mukt and Rojgaar-Yukt. Let us walk into the bright future of Jammu and Kashmir with the lines of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar ji-“Aazadi ka yeh taaj bade tap se Bharat ne paaya haiMat poocho iske liye desh ne kya kuch nahi ganwaya haiHai phoot rahi laalima timir ki toot rahi ghan kaara haiJai Ho! Ki swarg se chooth rahi aashish ki jyotidhara haiHo jahan satya ki chingari sulage, sulage, woh jwala baneKhoje apna utkarsh abhay, durdaant shikha vikraal baneAage who lakhsya pukaar raha, haankte hawa par yaan chaloSurdhanu par dharte hue charan, meghon par gaate gaan chalo,Meghon par gaate gaan chalo”