Executive Summary of the Delhi Policy Group Report on Jammu and Kashmir
18 Aug, 1998 · 136
Executive Summary of the Delhi Policy Group- April 1998
Our recommendations are organized in four sections: Center-State relations; governance; Security; and foreign policy. Center-State relations have been at the heart of the differences between the State and the Government of India. These differences have been compounded by difficulties relating to governance. Governance covers a number of areas but principally developmental issues and administration broadly conceived including the judicial and legal system. The dispute over Center-State relations and bad governance have contributed to, or at least rationalized, the resort to violence by the militants. The internal and external security problems of the State are the most serious immediate challenges, even though the situation has greatly improved. Finally,
Center-State Relations and Regional Balance
Center-State relations can be restored to health by a six-point plan. First, we believe that the nomenclature, Sadar-I-Riyasat and Wazir-e-Azam for the Governor and Chief Minister, respectively, as was the case until the early 1960s, should be restored.
Second, the State should be given a role in the selection of the Governor. Three methods are available for doing so: election by the State legislature; or, preferably, selection from a panel of names to be submitted by the Legislature; and legislative approval of a name submitted by the President.
Third, Article 356, which deals with the breakdown of the constitutional machinery in a State and which has been widely criticised in other States, should not be misused. The team recommends that elections should be held within a maximum of six months from the use of Article 356 provisions. If this is not possible for reasons of instability, the report endorses the view of the 1983
Fourth, we recommend that the State services be revitalized. A number of steps can be taken. These include increasing the quota of promotes from the State services to the Central services for a period of twenty years, improving selection and training, and speeding up promotions.
Fifth, on the basis of Article 324 (4), we recommend that a Regional Election Commissioner for
Sixth, we recommend the following measures to ensure a harmonious balance between
· The provinces of
· The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council should be strengthened, granted police powers, and the Deputy/Development Commissioner should be made directly accountable, in letter and in spirit, to the LAHDC.
· Long-neglected ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities must have seats reserved for them in the legislative assembly. Pundits, Gujjars and Bakerwals should particularly be given a voice in the legislature.
· The five-tier federal structure proposed in the 1970s by the Sheikh Abdullah government should replace the present Panchayati Raj three-tier structure. This would include the gram sabha, the block samiti, the zila parishad and regional legislative councils for the three provinces with adequate reservations for minorities in the provinces.
We believe that three are four essential pre-requisites to ensuring good governance in Jammu and Kashmir: first, a strong and stable economic infrastructure that can help to unleash the entrepreneurial potential of the people of the State as well as as generate employment; second, an accountable, streamlined and people-sensitive administrative machinery; third, a speedy grievance redressal system that includes an upright and effective judiciary; and fourth, a revival of Kashmir’s traditionally tolerant society and its expression in the form of Kashmiriyat. All four have been absent in the State through most of this decade. Only once these are in place can we hope for an economically viable and politically and socially stable
We strongly believe that plans for the economic resuscitation of the State must remain rooted in its strong agricultural and especially horticultural base. Strengthening the cooperative movement should be an important element. Power generation is a key priority, with the State capable of generating close to 15,000MW of hydroelectric power. It could then become an exporter of power. However, we also feel that the transmission and distribution of power must gradually be shifted to the private sector. Central assistance towards power generation is vital, and
Education, up to the post graduate level, is free in
While only 30,000 people were directly dependent on tourism during the peak of traffic in 1987-88, tourist inflows can add do have a huge multiplier effect. More important, the return of tourists can be of great psychological importance: economic and political normalcy is often equated with the presence of tourists. Regular tourism may not immediately revive, but the State can actively pursue Yatra and adventure tourism. Vaishno Devi in
The State services, particularly the Kashmir Administrative Service and the
The State Government had announced the formation of a human rights commission in 1996, but the Commission has still not begun working. It is vital that the Commission be activated as soon as possible and be as independent of the government as is possible. Such a commission will provide the ordinary commission a much-needed institutional outlet for the redressal of grievances.
The judiciary needs to be restructured, especially at the district and sessions level. We recommend that the State Government, in consultation, with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoint a legal reforms committee. For the long term, the State Government should consider establishing a
The print and electronic media have flourished since 1989, but have been beset by a lack professionalism. We feel that the
Only the revival of
The security threat to
Second, a Unified Headquarters has served the counterinsurgency effort well and should be maintained. It requires a dedicated staff drawn from different services, should meet more often, and should be organized at four levels-the state, sub-State, Divisional, and District levels. At the District level, we recommend that the authorities oversee the implementation of policies and monitor development projects. This will require District HQs to have some financial authority.
Third, the deployment of forces in a counterinsurgency (CI) grid should continue on a more or less permanent basis.
Fourth, the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) should be the main counterinsurgency force. The officers of the RR should be drawn from the regular Army, and the force should be organized on a regimental basis. The BSF should be used as a subsidiary force, and if it is continue in its counterinsurgency role it should have a special wing for these duties. This wing should should have younger personnel, should be specially organized and trained for their special duties, and should adopt a regimental system. The J&K Police force must be ultimately bear the brunt of policing. It must be enlarged, its training must be improved, and its morale needs to be repaired. Rational promotions and improved housing are among the measures required to boost morale.
Fifth, the Indian Army must keep up with the growing technological sophistication of the militants. Four areas deserve priority: acquisition of a light combat weapons, better crowd control weapons, specialized communication and transmission detection systems, and lightweight personal protection gear.
Sixth, local resistance must be strengthened by the settiing up of Village Defence Committees and Village Defence Guards who are given a modicum of training, arms, and communications facilities.
Seventh, various weaknesses in the intelligence system must be remedied. Finally, the ‘friendlies’ and surrendered militants must be rehabilitated. Protected housing, stipends, and employment in the paramilitaries, police, forest protection force, and Village Defence Committees are measures that have already been taken or are under active consideration. We support these. Additionally, a programme of skill enhancement and self-employment loans is vital for the long term.
The second part of a programme of cooperation with
The third area cooperation is economic.
Fourth, track two contacts at a variety of levels should be encouraged by
Finally, India should take advantage of the geopolitical situation after the Cold War to build new relationships with third parties who called help bring Pakistan round to accepting the division of Jammu and Kashmir as part of an overall settlement. Key third parties include the
These recommendations are ambitious. They cover a number of areas. Some are vital in the near and medium term; others clearly are long term endeavors. However nothing less than a through and systematic programme of action will suffice if the troubles of
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