The Hindu Editorial Analysis : State of the Union

State of the Union

Context:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address on his decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, and divide it into two Union Territories.
  • While Jammu and Kashmir remains in total blackout, the Prime Minister delivers a much-needed speech. On one hand, it underlines the significance of the step and promises future prosperity to the region, on the other hand, it clears India’s stand to the international community.

The Jammu and Kashmir reorganization Act 2019:

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019 is an act of Parliament which succeeded the Presidential order to revoke the special status of the state granted under Article 370.
  • The Act mandates that the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be bifurcated into two union territories namely, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature while the Union Territory of Ladakh will not have a legislature.
  • The Union Territory of Ladakh will be composed of Kargil and Leh districts while all other districts will stay in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir
  • The Jammu and Kashmir high court will remain as the high court for both the Union Territories.
  • As provided under Artice 239 of the Indian Constitution, the Union Territory will be governed by the Lieutenant Governor of the state who is appointed by the centre for the term of five years.
  • The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a council of a minister which will comprise of not more than 10 per cent of the total membership of the state legislative assembly.
  • The council of ministers will aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in only certain subjects of the state list. The subjects like ‘police’ and ‘public order’ will be governed by the central government.

Prime minister’s address to the nation:

  • The prime minister promised the status of full state to Jammu and Kashmir once the socio-political life gets back to normal. The Union Territory of Ladakh will, however, remain as such.
  • Assembly elections will be conducted in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. People will get to elect their representatives and chief minister.
  • Ladakh will develop as a centre of solar power, eco-tourism and adventure tourism. The herbs of the region will be exported and will get worldwide recognition. Kashmir will become famous for its products like Kashmiri Shawl.
  • Jammu and Kashmir will be developed as a hub of sports and academic activities. The scientific community was urged to think of ways how they could include the region in their new initiatives.
  • Issues like ‘separatism’, ‘nepotism’ and ‘corruption’ will now be directly addressed without facing any obstacle in the form of Article 370. Various development policy will be formulated and implemented by the union as well as municipalities.
  • The Prime Minister urged the people from every walk of the profession to contribute to the progress of the region. The industrialists were called out to open firms and the filmmakers to shoot films in the region. Doing so will not only provide employment to the native youth but also a greater degree of engagement with the people of the rest of India.
  • Pakistan has been using Article 370 as a tool to spread terrorist activities. Around 42000 people have been killed in the last three decades. The laws made by the Union Parliament can now benefit the Kashmiri people.

A Critique:

  • The argument of prevalent nepotism and corruption in the state doesn’t hold much ground because the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is no worse than many other states of the country. It is a pan India problem. Revocation of Article 370 solely on the basis of the prevalence of these issues is not well-founded.
  • Article 370 in its true essence, as envisioned earlier, has already been eroded gradually in the last three decades. A formal revocation has the potential to intensify separatist sentiments among general public.
  • The bifurcation of the state, by the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, has been achieved without taking the opinion of the people of the state. The centre’s superimposing powers on a state has always been a much-discussed concern in the Indian polity.

Conclusion:

  • Prime Minister masterfully articulated the necessity to integrate Jammu and Kashmir into the Union and also provide a glimpse into the brighter future of the region that the government has envisioned. However, the main issue on which people are of divided opinion remains unaddressed: the undemocratic manner in which the whole process had undergone. Can national integration be achieved at the expense of fundamental democratic values?

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