Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No Surprise: J&K is a Non-Perfomer

In a State where the government gets away with little or no financial accountability, the development always takes a back seat

J&K Third Among Non-Performing States

Syed Junaid Hashmi (Kashmir Times)

Jammu: Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has dealt an iron blow on NC-Congress coalition government’s claims of economic development and prosperity by placing Jammu and Kashmir at number 3 among worst performing states.

This ranking is based on state’s performance vis-à-vis implementation of 65 centrally sponsored developmental schemes under restructured Twenty Point Programme (TPP)–2006 which became operational from April 1, 2007. More importantly, the ranking is poorest since the restructured programme was launched from the financial year 2007-08 and lowest which the state has achieved since the year 2002.

A comparative look at the state’s performance indicates that J&K was at number 7 among worst performing states during 2007-08 and slipped to number 6 during the turbulent period of 2008-09. But a further decline and present standing at number 3, only after Bihar and Assam, in this recently concluded and relatively peaceful financial year 2009-10 indicates the state’s inability to deliver where it matters and monitor effectively where it is required.

Yet, Jammu and Kashmir has something to cheer about. It has with it West Bengal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sharing worst performing slots and has managed to perform slightly better than Bihar and Assam, both of which are above J&K at number 1 and 2 respectively.

Interestingly, this ranking is based on monthly information provided by state official machinery in respect of 16 programmes and concerned central nodal ministries for remaining 4 programmes to the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Thereafter, for the purpose of ranking, performance of states for these 20 identified parameters is evaluated.

Under this evaluation mechanism for the year 2009-10, Jammu and Kashmir achieved 90 percent of set targets under Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), ICDS Blocks Operational programme and Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY). State’s performance in implementing Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) scheme was above national average i.e. hovering around 50 to 55 percent.

Jammu and Kashmir performed extremely poorly while implementing 9 centrally sponsored schemes viz. Self-help groups (SHG) scheme, Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) in rural areas, Sanitation programme in rural areas, Schedule Caste (SC) families assisted, Anganwadis Functional, Afforestation, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), electricity supplied and energizing pump sets.

Of these nine schemes, state’s performance was extremely poor in eight schemes while its performance was zero in energizing pump sets. Arithmetic calculations might not make much of a difference but larger fact remains that state machinery which is habitual of working at snail’s pace has seemingly decided not to hike up the tempo even if it means being penalised by Planning Commission of India over and over again.
Grading has also rebutted official claims of double paced development and infrastructure building. It needs no explanation that NC-Congress coalition government after taking over in January 2009 has been adjudged both incompatible and slipshod in implementing 65 schemes which are actually extensions of 20 different centrally sponsored programmes meant for human welfare and development of rural areas.

More importantly, at the centre, the progress as recorded and ranked by Union Ministry for Statistics and Programme is given due consideration while framing new policies by the departments/ministries concerned regularly. It is because of this reason that monitoring mechanism for Twenty Point Programme (TPP)-2006 was widened to include block level monitoring in addition to district, state and central level monitoring.

A peep back into history indicates that twenty point programme (TPP) was launched by government of India in the year 1975 and restructured in 1982, 1986 and again in 2006. The programme is meant to give a thrust to schemes relating to poverty alleviation, employment generation in rural areas, housing, education, family welfare and health, protection of environment and many other schemes having a bearing on the quality of life, especially in the rural areas.

The programmes and schemes under the TPP-2006 are in harmony with the priorities contained in the millennium development goals (MDGs) of the United Nations and SAARC social charter. Original nomenclature, namely the Twenty Point Programme, which has been in existence for more than three decades and carries the stamp of familiarity among the people and administrative agencies, has been retained.

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