Decision To Schedule Election In J&K ECI’s Prerogative: MHA

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityananda Rai | File Photo

New Delhi- Conducting Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir is the prerogative of the Election Commission (EC) and the poll body has initiated the process to revise the electoral rolls there, the Centre informed Parliament on Tuesday.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said this in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on when the situation in Kashmir would be brought to normal so that the democratic process can be started in the valley.

“The Election Commission of India has initiated revision of electoral rolls of voters of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The decision to schedule elections is the prerogative of the Election Commission of India,” Rai said, replying to the question from Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) member A Ganeshamurthi.

The minister said the government had constituted a delimitation commission, which has notified orders on March 14 and May 5 on the delimitation of the parliamentary and legislative assembly constituencies of the Union Territory.

Thereafter, the EC has initiated the process to revise the electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir.

Replying to another question, Rai said the government has a policy of zero tolerance against militancy and the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved significantly.

There has been a substantial decline in the number of militant attacks, from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021, he added.

The minister said the government has taken various measures to restore normalcy in the Kashmir valley, including putting in place a robust security-and-intelligence grid, proactive operations against militants, intensified night patrolling and checking at “nakas”, security arrangements through appropriate deployment and a high level of alertness maintained by the security forces.

Moreover, he said the government has taken several steps for the all-round development of Jammu and Kashmir, including the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Development Package 2015.

Flagship programmes, the establishment of an IIT and an IIM, two new AIIMS and fast-tracking of infrastructure projects in roads and power are being initiated, Rai said.

Besides, a new central scheme is being implemented for the industrial development of Jammu and Kashmir with an outlay of Rs 28,400 crore, which would provide employment to 4.5 lakh people, he added.

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