Union Budget: Jammu, Ladakh in focus

Rs 500 cr rehab programme for Kashmiri migrants IIT for Jammu

Kicking off the program for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, the Government of has kept Rs 500 crore for the plan in its maiden Union Budget presented in the Parliament on Thursday.
For the poll-bound J&K, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) for Jammu region was major attraction in the Budget apart from mega solar project in Ladakh for which an initial allocation of Rs 500 crore has been made. A Pashmina Development Program for Kashmir and a separate programme for development of other crafts of the state, with an allocation of Rs 30 crore, were among the slew of measures announced by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting first budget of the BJP-led Government.
The Narendra Modi Government has flagged rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrant Pandits as its priority. Days after the BJP came to power, the Union Government officials held a series of meetings with their counterparts from the State to discuss the contours of the plan.
Though the State Government had already submitted a revised Rs 5800 crore rehabilitation package to New Delhi for approval, the State Government after consultations with New Delhi last week asked the Revenue Department to re-fix the modalities of the plan.
The IIT, for Jammu, is the second prestigious institution after Central Universities for Jammu, and Kashmir, were cleared by the Congress-led UPA Government. Though that time the original proposal was to grant central varsity for Kashmir and IIM for the State, New Delhi cleared another Central University for the winter capital after protests in Jammu against the Government of India’s decision.
Jammu figures among the list of five more IITs announced by Jaitley in his Budget speech. The other IITs will be opened in Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. “As regards J&K, Union Budget lacks sensitivity in approach and substance in allocations,” PDP leader and noted economist Haseeb Drabu wrote on his Facebook page, in reaction to the allocation for the State.
For Kashmir, the Jaitley proposed to start a Pashmina Development Program and a separate programme for the development of other crafts of the State. An allocation of Rs 30 crore has been made in the budget for 2014-15 and the Ministry of Textiles would roll out the plan later.
 In a bid to strike balance between three regions of the state, Jaitely announced to set up an ultra mega solar project in Ladakh which is among the four such projects to be set up in other parts of the country also. For this, an initial allocation of Rs 500 crore has been made. In good news for the sports-loving people, Jaitley, citing abundant sporting talent available in J&K, announced up-gradation of related facilities in the state. This, he said, has been necessitated as present set-up is “inadequate” to hone this talent.
A sum of Rs 200 crore has been allocated for up-gradation of indoor and outdoor sports stadia to international standards both in Jammu and Kashmir. In a related development to promote sports in the Himalayan states, it has been proposed to start annual sporting event in which states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Uttrakahand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and North-Eastern states would participate. In addition, countries like Nepal and Bhutan would also be invited.
Union Minister of State (independent charge) Jitendra Singh, who hails from Jammu, has appreciated the budgetary proposals involving the State. He thanked the Finance Minister for accepting his demands related to J&K particularly setting up an IIT in Jammu.

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