New Political engagements preparing the ground for a ‘Naya J&K’

Relevance: Development of Jammu and Kashmir is essential for Internal security and ensuring smooth functioning of the Federalism.   

Context: For the first time since the state after abrogation of article 370, the Central government initiated political engagement with the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir.  

Key outcomes of the meeting 
  • Both the center and state agreed to strengthen grassroot democracy.   
  • Legislative polls will occur after the delimitation of constituencies.   
  • Restoration of Statehood in Jammu and Kashmir after the delimitation and elections. (But the timeline is still not clear).  
What are the challenges in development of Jammu and Kashmir?  
  • Decades of turmoil has created unique problems of governance and mistrust.  
  • The state of delivery of public service has not improved significantly. Also, the promised investment from corporate groups has not translated into reality.  
  • Challenges in arriving a comprehensive blue print: The challenge before Center and state is to formulate a blueprint for good governance, which is acceptable to both. For instance, some political parties are still against the revocation of Article 370.   
What are the present advantages?  

Global and domestic factors encouraged the Indian government and the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir to accommodate viewpoints of each other for mutual development.  

  • Ceasefire with Pakistan: Backchannel diplomacy between India and Pakistan led to a successful ceasefire on the Line of Control 
  • Lowest internal security threats: stray incidents of violence, terrorism and militancy are at their lowest levels in recent years.   
  • The change in Center’s approach: Federal relations are dynamic even in countries with almost inviolable rights of the States. India’s policy towards J&K also moved between tight central control to a gentler federal grip that provided space for autonomous self-governance.  
Suggestions 
  • Frame a comprehensive blueprint: The Center and State have to frame a blueprint for good governance with framework of healthy federal relations.  
  • The center must commit to a structured process of continuous engagement to bridge the trust deficit vis a vis the intentions of the Centre.  

Twenty-first century governance and empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir require a federal solution that is contemporary and built on best practices globally.  

Source: The Hindu: Article 1Article 2 and The Indian Express  

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