The Centre is set to announce a slew of development measures for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh soon to boost the local economies and generate employment, according to officials aware of the development.
The measures include a paramilitary and military recruitment drive in the two newly-formed Union territories and efforts to develop the food processing and dairy industries, an official aware of the details said on condition of anonymity. The government is considering recruiting as many as 50,000 young people for the paramilitary forces from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla on Tuesday held a high-level inter-ministerial meeting to discuss the measures to be rolled out. “A meeting was held with various departments to access the implementation of central schemes in Jammu and Kashmir and initiatives to be taken to expedite the return of normalcy,” a home ministry spokesperson said without giving details.
The Centre stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and divided it into two Union territories earlier this month. Restrictions were imposed on people’s movement and telecom connectivity was suspended as a pre-emptive measure to prevent unrest and protests against the move.
The government has said that curbs are being removed in a phased manner. High schools in areas unlikely to witness agitations will be opened from Wednesday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration said.
Officials said the proposed development measures will be presented before the Union cabinet soon. The measures to be announced are primarily aimed at achieving fast-paced development, helping the young acquire skills for employment, they added.
Officials said a pilot project is being launched in seven districts of the Kashmir Valley and two in the Jammu region and Ladakh. They added district-level “skill planning” committees will also be formed and will comprise industry representatives, academics and corporate entities. Developing the food-processing and dairy industries will be one of the keys areas of focus, they added.
Officials said the Centre was keen that the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh understand the benefits of the removal of Constitution’s Article 370 that gave the erstwhile state special status.
“The Centre is keen that the people understand that removal of special status is not detrimental but on the contrary beneficial for them and the next generation,” said a government official, who is a part of the exercise of rolling out the measures, on condition of anonymity.
The government is also considering opening career counselling centres. And with the help of the corporate sector, it also wants to hold “job melas,” or fairs, in the Union territories.