The year 2019 proved to be a turning point in the history of Jammu and Kashmir as it ended the 70-year old long uncertainty surrounding the Himalayan region, and introduced a new era of peace, progress, prosperity and development in the erstwhile princely state.
In June 2019, the J&K Government launched Back-to-Village-I, a massive public outreach programme. The idea was to take the administration to the doorsteps of the people living in rural areas so that their grievances could be redressed.
Despite terrorists and separatists issuing threats to people to stay away from the programme, masses came forward and made the first phase of the B2V-I a grand success.
On August 5, 2019, the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. The bold move of Prime Minister Narendra Modi led dispensation integrated J&K completely with the Union of India and ended all the disputes once for all.
Since then, J&K has not looked back. It has kept on moving and that too at a very fast pace. After B2V-I the government conducted two more phases of the programme and assured a common man in J&K that he need not worry, the government is awake to his concerns and wants to make his life easy.
After the grand success of first three phases, the Jammu and Kashmir Government launched the fourth phase of Back to Village programme on October 27 this year to bridge the gap between the administration and the people.
The initiative took the governance at the doorstep of people in villages, including far-flung areas, across the Union Territory.
The Back to Village programme during the past three years has evolved as an occasion to celebrate inclusive development, Jan Bhagidari and public awareness. It has proven to be a unique and ambitious exercise of the government knocking at the doors of people to ascertain their welfare and issues.
The very spirit of the Back to Village programme revolves around the ‘people first’. The main objective of the administration is to reach out to the people to get the exact feedback from the “Ground Zero”.
25000 Govt employees reach out to 15 lakh people
During the B2V-IV over 25,000 government employees, including 4,500 gazetted officers, were deployed to Panchayats. More than 15 lakh people participated in the event.
During the week-long programme the target was set to issue 2 to 2.50 lakh certificates under various services, one lakh Ayushman Bharat Golden Cards and around 10 lakh land passbooks.
Other targets included identifying 60,000 to 65,000 youth (15 youth per panchayat) for self employment assistance and one lakh youth (20 youth from every panchayat) for skill training.
Stalls of common service centres were set up, besides camps for specially-abled persons were held in panchayats.
E-shram Cards, Apki Zamin Apki Nigrani, working of Paani Smitis, Painting of Digital J&K in every Panchayat, testing of quality of water, inspection of Amrit Sarovars and Youth clubs; inspection of Patwari& VLW offices; minimum one sports and one cultural activity in every panchayat were among the deliverables of the B2V-IV programme.
The officers were directed to focus on youth, skill development, self-employment, strengthening of PRIs, Nasha-Mukt Panchayat, 100 per cent saturation of welfare schemes for sustainable and inclusive development.
Like the first three phases of the Back to Village programmes, the fourth phase too was an instant hit among the people as they came out in large numbers and discussed their grievances and issues with the visiting officers. Instructions were passed to the concerned departments on the spot to resolve all the problems confronting the common people.
Former rulers acted like monarchs
The concepts like Back to Village were unheard of in Jammu and Kashmir till 2018, until politicians ruled the
Politicians used to behave like monarchs as they used to hold durbars within their cozy offices or their palatial homes. The people had to queue up either outside the Civil Secretariats, highest seats of power, in Jammu and Srinagar or outside the residences of powerful politicians to get heard.
The leaders, who ruled J&K for 70-years, never asked the officials to conduct field visits and meet the people directly.
The concepts like Jan Bhagidari and Jan Abhiyan reached J&K only after the Centre took control and started managing the affairs directly.
When the first phase of B2V was launched the officials and the officers were provided special training and they were counseled. They were made to understand that everyone cannot reach them and for governance to improve, they have to leave their office chambers and meet the people on the ground.
The officials and the officers who were entrusted with the job didn’t disappoint. They went to the people and ensured that the targets that were set were achieved.
During the past three years, the administration has tried its best to watch over the interests of the common man and help them to prosper. Officers have established close interaction and cooperation with the people as well Panchayat Representatives to monitor quality of delivery of public services. They have worked hard to remove the bottlenecks and impediments in the field.
J&K top priority for PM Modi, Amit Shah
The very concept of governance in J&K has changed. All the activities are being directly monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Home Affairs.
Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are taking keen interest in how J&K is being managed. The leadership has addressed the alienation by bringing a common man in J&K closer to the system.
Former J&K chief ministers didn’t have the political will and determination to set things right.
Had they worked towards addressing the issues of a common man, separatists and terrorists, sponsored by Pakistan, would not have succeeded in wreaking havoc in Jammu and Kashmir for 30 long years.
Within a short span of three-years, the government led by Prime Minister Modi has achieved what the political regimes led by the local leaders could not in 70-years.
LG Sinha sets new benchmarks
The success of four phases of Back to Village programmes has proven beyond doubt that erstwhile regimes had no time for the people, who had elected them to address their issues.
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has set new benchmarks of governance and has shown it to everyone that any system can work efficiently if it’s handled properly.
People, public representatives, and government departments are playing an important role in the peace and development process. Every stakeholder is contributing his bit and all sections of society are reaping the fruits of development.
People have reposed their faith in the system and have successfully foiled the attempt of anti-social elements and the neighbouring country to disrupt peace in Jammu and Kashmir.