JAMMU - The "prophets of doom" predicting "volcanos" in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 have "fallen silent" and the Centre is committed to implement all central laws in the Union territories of J&K and Ladakh, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Saturday.
Urging people to cooperate with the government in the implementation of the Central laws, Singh sought to assure them that all central laws are "citizen friendly" and meant to "benefit the last man in the queue" and "liberate the lower strata of society from the exploitation by the vested interests".
"Let each one of us understand and keep reminding ourselves and those around us that the Article 370 is gone and gone forever. It is not going to come back. Even the prophets of doom who were talking of eruption of volcanos and occurrence of earthquakes have fallen silent," Singh said inaugurating a two-day regional conference here.
The conference 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' with focus on 'jal shakti' and disaster management was organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in collaboration with the governments of Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh, who also released a special issue of e-magazine, 'Minimum Government Maximum Governance' based on successful innovations in the governance in J&K and Ladakh, said Article 370 has "gone as a whole and not in pieces".
"With the abrogation of Article 370 and the creation of the two UTs, it is the resolve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that we have to implement all central acts over here.
"There are 854 Central acts which need to be implemented here. We just have less than 200 of them. We have to make up for all the lapses of the last seven decades because these are all citizen-friendly acts which are meant to reach the last man in the queue and to liberate the lowest strata of the society from the exploitation at the hands of the vested interests," the minister of state in the Prime Minister's office said.
He said some laws, like the Prevention of Corruption Act, have already been implemented to facilitate the settlement of corruption cases within two years and the rest are in the pipeline.
Singh said the Centre has taken a very important responsibility at hand and "we are going to take it forward. The Lt Governor has a mandate to do so. These acts are being notified one after the other. Rest assured it is going to happen sooner than later."
"As patriotic, right thinking and responsible citizens, it is our responsibility to cooperate with the government and the lieutenant governor and his administration.
"I will also tell you whether you cooperate or not, this is going to happen. We have made the commitment because we have no right to deprive the common people of J&K and Ladakh of these citizen-friendly laws," he said.
Referring to the demands raised by different sections including the lawyers who are on indefinite strike since November 1 against the government's decision to divest judicial courts of its powers to register various documents by creating a new department, he said, "We are not going to succumb because there will be no end to it if one demand is met.
"You have a strange kind of fringe elements, representing vested interests and raising voices. Let us be very clear about it, we have to swallow the bitter pill," Singh said.
"We should feel happy that Article 370 was abrogated after 70 years of struggle. This government has gone beyond the imagination of the masses who had actually buried these aspirations," said Singh.
Referring to the Fundamental Right to Free Education under Article 21A of the Constitution and a slew of other central laws like the Dowry Act, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, the Minimum Wages Act, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents Act, vigilance law, the Central Administrative Tribunal, the Information commission Act, Singh said, "We do not have the majority in the Rajya Sabha. I am personally sitting with the Opposition to convince them to get these amendments through."
"We will have to sacrifice our petty interests for the bigger purpose which the prime minister has created for us... we should be celebrating the new set up that has happened after October 31 and feel proud that we are the part of this and we have contributed to it," he said.
The government of India allocated Rs 8,227 per citizen in the country last fiscal but J&K citizens were allocated Rs 27,358, which was nearly four times the average allocation for the citizens in the rest of the country, said Singh, adding "but we still are weeping".
"In Fact we should be feeling guilty why we could not make use of it," he said.
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