The Rajya Sabha on Monday cleared The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to replace the ordinance to merge the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cadre of civil services officer with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre. The bill was introduced in the Upper House of the Parliament last week and it was approved with voice vote before Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.
“The complete integration of both UTs along with one nation one constitution, holistic development and public welfare are being ensured at each level. Through amendment of this bill, the merger of J&K cadre with AGMUT cadre is an important step in that direction,” Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said in Rajya Sabha .
He said that the Constitution of India is now fully applicable in Jammu and Kashmir, and that the bill will enable availability of officers in Jammu and Kashmir who have experience of running union territory administration.
He said around 170 central laws are being implemented in Jammu and Kashmir.
“For smooth implementation of these laws, application of schemes and effective execution of projects and for better strength of cadre, officers with experience of UT administration are very important.
“Through merger of J&K cadre with AGMUT Cadre, services of All India Services officers of AGMUT cadre can be taken in Jammu and Kashmir union territory,” Reddy said.
Opposing the Statutory Resolution and Legislative Business (Bill for Consideration and Passing) – the Jammu and Kashmir (Amendment) Bill 2021 Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was perhaps his last speech in the House and he didn”t want to use harsh language but contrary to the government”s tall promises behind converting J&K into UT, development had been stalled, industry couldn”t enter the region and unemployment was on the rise.
Azad”s Rajya Sabha tenure will end on February 15.
He said that the House was informed by the PM and Home Minister that J&K has been given the status of UT for sometime and after that statehood of Jammu and Kashmir will be restored.
“I want to ask Home Minister Amit Shah if the present cadre was working well then what was the need to merge it? You had promised that the statehood will be restored….But bringing this bill creates a suspicion that GoI wants to keep J&K permanently a union territory,” Azad said.
Participating in the debate, BJP leader Shamsher Singh Manhas said no development could take place earlier despite maximum central funds going to Kashmir as compared to Jammu, Leh and Ladakh.
However after the union territory was made, the situation in the region was improving as there was peace there and developmental works were underway, he said.
But to carry forward the development work in a speedy manner, more officers are required and the bill aims to achieve this purpose, he added.
Sharing similar views, BJD leader Amar Patnaik said that the bill aims to solve the issue of All India Service officers in the two new UTs. It is not the first time such a bifurcation is happening. It was done earlier too, when the states were divided into smaller states, he said.
J&K PDP leader Mir Mohammad Fayaz expected the return of the earlier status in the region instead of the bill.