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, February 3, 2013

Not to Worry - This Episode Will be Soon Forgotten

The Center, for a change, sees through various nefarious actions of so-called pro-India legislators and politicians trying to secure personal goodwill with voters by making New Delhi a scapegoat. But this too shall pass ...

‘Reckless promises’: Centre Takes JK Ministers, Legislators to Task

‘These Hollow Announcements Deceive The Electorate And Foment Hatred Against Union Of India’

Imran Muzaffar (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: In a virtual snub, the Government of India has asked ministers and legislators in Jammu and Kashmir not to make ‘reckless’ announcements regarding allocation of funds for developmental works in political rallies and public functions.

The Centre has also lambasted the ministers and legislators in J&K for “fomenting hatred against the Union of India” by making such announcements which later turn out to be mere gimmicks and are aimed at “deceiving the electorate.” “The ministers and legislators have no right to announce blindly the allocation of funds over public issues whatever they may be. They must not deceive the electorate by throwing surprises for political ends. It is only after proper estimates that such announcements should be made,” reads a Planning Commission of India memo dashed to the state government.

The ‘dictatorial memo’ has ruffled many feathers in the state’s corridors of power with ministers and legislators, according to sources, expressing displeasure over such an “authoritarian diktat” from the Commission. “But they can hardly face up to the PCI instruction and no minister or legislator now onwards can have the power to announce fund allocation without estimates and without following proper guidelines,” an official privy to the PCI communication told Greater Kashmir.

The Centre, the official said, has asked the J&K Government to “make its ministers and MLAs understand” that their “blind announcements” on funds allocation in political rallies and other public functions were badly affecting the financial administration in the state. “They have been asked to prepare well thought out estimates and financial drafts genuinely before making announcements regarding allocation funds for any public works. Also the J&K Government has been asked to sensitize its ministers and MLAs through workshops and seminars so that they can understand the nuances of allocation of funds,” he said. “Rather than trying to throw surprises in public meetings by blindly announcing funds for various works, ministers and MLAs must concentrate on pending works and ensure accountability in the previously-allocated state and central funds invested into various projects,” the memo, according to sources, reads.

The development comes after the Planning Commission of India spotted loopholes in allocation of funds in J&K, the official said. “The Planning Commission is currently gauging how the state governments are allocating funds for various projects. In case of J&K, it has observed that whenever a minister or MLA goes, he/she announces funds blindly on works that may either cost less or more from the exchequer. The Planning Commission observes that all this is affecting the governance and lands the state government in grave financial mess,” he said. The GoI has also lambasted ministers and MLAs for fomenting hatred against the Union of India by making such announcements which later turn out to be mere gimmicks, the official said. “The MLAs have also been directed to allocate and utilize the constituency development funds properly,” he said. “The GoI has expressed dismay over how the MLAs and ministers were allocating the funds.

The GoI has said this way ministers and MLAs instill in people hatred against the Union of India. They have been asked to not deceive the electorate,” the official said. The Planning Commission has observed that in J&K much of the exchequer was being exhausted without proper estimates. “The GoI has also decided to formulate an expert panel to audit the allocation of funds in J&K during the last two fiscals,” the official said.

Principal Secretary, Planning and Development Department B R Sharma did not respond to repeated telephone calls from this newspaper.

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