The state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is at the heart of India’s nation-building vision of a secular, decentralised and diverse Union. The Central Government has expended substantial political, economic, diplomatic and military resources in the state since its accession to India and even today, J&K remains one of the key national security preoccupations due to Pakistan’s belligerence.
With China and Pakistan having illegally occupied parts of J&K, makes this issue a difficult needle to thread and Pakistan’s ongoing three-decade old proxy war in the form of militancy alongwith communally charged propaganda makes its handling extremely complicated.
Transformation of any region is based on the nature of challenges the region presents to its people. Opportunities emerge from challenges and there is no dearth of the same in the Union Territory of J&K.
The democratic machinery in J&K has been strengthened by holding elections to block development councils and ongoing district development council elections, which are a vital component of local government under the three-tier governance model in India. The polls included seats reserved for women to ensure their participation in mainstream politics.
The panchayats, which represent the lowest level of local government in India, have been strengthened through the devolution of functions and funds of more than $200 million in the past year. This strengthening of grassroots governance has led to the union territory of J&K receiving three national awards for socio-economic development.
After New Delhi’s decision to reorganize the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories: (J&K and Ladakh), the Central Government has been working in J&K to implement its vision for all-inclusive development