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Expert Group to study development deficit in hard areas: Dr Drabu

Monitor News Bureau

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JAMMU, Jan 17: Minister for Finance Dr Haseeb Drabu today announced constitution of an Expert Group to study the reasons for development deficit in the State’s hard areas and suggest measures for boosting infrastructure development in such neglected areas.
“The Government would also make development deficit in remote areas of the State, a part of the terms of reference of the proposed State Finance Commission so that a holistic view is taken on the issue and the allocation of resources is made accordingly,” the Finance Minister said while replying to the discussion on Budget 2018-19 in the upper house.
He said there are many hard-to-reach areas in the state, extending from Kupwara to Kathua, which have faced neglect over the years and need special attention and focussed development with additional resources.
He said the Finance Commission to be constituted by the government will also come up with the recommendations to uplift these areas.
Acknowledging the problems being faced by the people in the hard-to-access areas of the State, Dr Drabu announced a special duty allowance of 10% of basic pay for the state government employees posted in such areas adding that the government will also work to bring these hard areas at par with the other ‘developed’ areas.
Regarding implementation of 7th Pay Commission Recommendations for the employees of PSUs and Autonomous bodies, the Finance Minister said the government has no objection if these organizations implement the pay commission recommendations subject to availability of resources.
To bring more beneficiaries under the ambit of various social security schemes, Dr Drabu said that additional funds to the tune of Rs 15 crore each shall be added to the existing corpus for Old Age and Widow Pension.
He also announced that the widowed daughters of the government employees will also be eligible for pension as earlier announced for their married daughters.
Dr Drabu also proposed merger of Marriage Assistance and various other scholarship and welfare schemes for girls to make these more comprehensive and productive. He said the government will come up with a consolidated welfare scheme for which the additional incentive shall be added with Aadhar linkage to avoid possible duplication.
The Finance Minister said that the state government in the last three years has been putting in financial resources for generation of employment in the state.
He also proposed to revisit the Fixed Travel Allowance (FTA) provided to engineers working in the government departments to make it rational saying that currently FTA for these employees is a meagre Rs 30 per month.
The Finance Minister further announced increase in the refreshment of the government employees during assembly session for overtime work. He said it would be enhanced from the existing limit of Rs 7500 to Rs 10000.


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Kashmir

3 militants killed in Anantnag gunfight

Press Trust of India

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SRINAGAR: Three militants were killed on Wednesday in an encounter with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, officials said.

The encounter broke out at Pazalpora area in Anantnag on a specific intelligence provided by the district police.

 
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Governor chairs Ist meeting of Jammu Cluster University Council

Monitor News Bureau

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SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 15: Governor Satya Pal Malik, Chancellor of the Cluster University of Jammu, today chaired the first meeting of the University Council here at the Raj Bhavan.

Advisor to Governor, Khurshid A. Ganai, Pro-Chancellor was also present in the meeting.

While taking overview of the activities of the Cluster University, the Chancellor and Advisor called for creation of University’s own campus with the establishment of schools of excellence. At the outset, the Chancellor stressed that the Cluster Universities are created with the vision to have a strong commitment to nurturing collegiality and leading collaboratively with unremitting dedication to improve transparency and efficiency. He further said that the Cluster University inherits an academic mission whose goals are lofty, yet firmly grounded in an ethos of dynamism and academic responsibility and the mission is to create a community of lifelong learners that fosters Research, Development, Quality, Innovation, experimental learning, community engagements, academic leadership and administrative support.

 

The Members made several tangible suggestions to make the Cluster University Jammu a real hub of educational activities. They said that Cluster University is a new concept in Jammu and Kashmir and it needs to be empowered so that it becomes choice of students over other Universities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Prof Anju Bhasin, Vice-Chancellor, Cluster University of Jammu made a detailed presentation on the activities and various initiatives taken by the University. The presentation focused on the functioning of the administrative, academic, financial, examination, evaluation and other sectors. She also reported the status of student enrolment in the University, and measures for the development of students and faculty.

Listing some achievements by the University, the VC apprised that 12 new 5 year integrated courses, Honours programme in each of the colleges at UG level and new self-financing innovative, cross disciplinary skill based courses have been introduced. She further highlighted the important reforms introduced by the University which includes Academic Calendar defined for year-1, year-2 and year 3, flexibility to students to choose elective courses, admissions through centralized process, holding of examination in time-bound manner etc.

Financial Commissioner Finance (Financial Advisor Universities), Dr. A.K. Mehta, Financial Commissioner to Governor, Umang Narula, VC, Cluster University of Srinagar, Prof. Sheikh Javid Ahmed, VC, Jammu University, Prof. Manoj Kumar Dhar, Secretary Higher Education, Talat Parvez Rohella, Dean Faculty of Education, Prof. M.A. Lone, Dean Academic Affairs, Prof. Poonam Dhawan, Dr. Jatinder Khajuria, Registrar Member-Secretary, Prof. Anil Gupta, Principal S.P.M.R College of Commerce, Jammu, Prof. Sangeeta Nagri, Principal, College of Education, Jammu, Prof. Koushal Smotra, Principal, GGM Science College, Jammu and Prof. Ravinder Tickoo, Principal, GCW, Gandhi Nagar, Jammu attended the meeting.

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Centre mulling political initiative in Kashmir

Agencies

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Srinagar, Oct 15: After restoring mobile phone connectivity in the Valley on Monday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration is now working on a mechanism to initiate political engagement which is likely to involve mainstream political parties.

The move is expected to lead to the release of more political leaders from detention though a decision releasing former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti is not on the table yet, Indian Express reported on Tuesday.

Quoting sources, the report said the Centre was keen on beginning political dialogue within the Valley to bridge the trust deficit between the state administration and Kashmiris following the August 5 decision to scrap the state’s special status and bifurcate J&K into Union Territories.

 

The political mechanism currently under discussion is likely to involve second-rung leaders from regional parties in the Valley to form a political council that can initiate dialogue with people and assuage their fears in the wake of the August 5 decisions, report said.

Part of this council’s mandate is alleviating the sense of alienation and anger in the Valley. Also on the table are certain special provisions that will protect local jobs and the settlement of outsiders in the Valley in order to protect its demographic character and culture.

“Delhi is keen on initiating political engagement. The contours of it are still under discussion. Among the ideas is involvement of the existing political class which as of now does not include the Muftis and the Abdullahs,” the report quoted a senior official privy to the developments.

“Gradual release of significant political actors will be taken in the weeks to come. The Home Minister has already said that statehood will be returned. A decision on who these political actors will be is yet to be taken,” the report added.

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