The Government of India has said it would be launching a slew of developmental initiatives and infrastructure programmes for the newly reorganised union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The biggest booster package will come from the government’s flagship schemes, including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to provide affordable housing for everyone, rural road connectivity, self-help groups reachability, skill development programmes and Smart City programme.
The ministry of housing and urban affairs is likely to declare Ladakh capital Leh a smart city accelerating the growth and development in the tourist spot. Jammu and Kashmir has already been assigned two smart cities in Jammu and Srinagar. However, with the bifurcation of the former state, the government might explore the possibility of exploring the possibility of designating Leh as a smart city candidate.
Related Article: Post Article 370 Changes, Modi Govt Plans Investor Summit In J&K
The Smart City Mission plans to build at least one smart city in every state or union territory, a senior official told Economic Times. The ministry is now looking at the urban local body structure in Leh and might give it a smart city tag.
The government also plans to reach out to women of these UT through self-help groups (SHGs). Currently, 64% of the blocks in J&K have self-help groups, and the government is targetting complete coverage by the end of 2020. This would require involving 7 Lakh to 8 Lakh women in SHGs and providing them with a source of income. The government also plans on launching skill development courses for the youth to boost tourism.
With the change in policies and administration, the ministers are expecting a change in the pace of implementation of projects as well. Previously, the biggest problem the government faced was transferring funds to the state’s finance department, which involved risks such as mis-utilisation or underutilisation.
The former J&K state government had committed to building 31,788 houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen) but had only completed 16,439 out of these. The development turnaround time is likely to be reduced without the involvement of the intermediary state government.