The abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and its bifurcation into two Union territories will enable the region to benefit from the Centre’s education-related schemes, scholarships and grants, Union Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD), Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, said on Monday.
Presenting a 100-day report card of the second term of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, Nishank, in his home state, said that the move had given people in J&K a feeling of “freedom”.
“Aaj Jammu-Kashmir ke logon ko mehsoos hota hai ki unko azadi mili hai. Chand logon ke haathon me Jammu-Kashmir aisa gulaam sa ho gaya tha. (Today the people of J&K feel they have got freedom. The state had become like a slave because of a few people.)” Pokhriyal said.
Students in J&K will now be able to get benefits provided under the Right to Education Act and the mid-day meal scheme, he said. Free books, transport, scholarships and grants will also now be accessible to them, he added. New schools like the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya for girls will be opened in different parts of the region, he said.
“We have already initiated the process on a war-footing to take the benefits of Right to Education upto the ground level in the region. We are also opening a campus of IIM in Srinagar,” Pokhriyal said.
About the other programmes taken up by his ministry, Pokhriyal said students have already planted more than one crore plants under the ‘one child, one tree’ initiative and have so far saved at least 230 crore litres of water in the first 23 days of a water conservation-related programme.
Pokhriyal also defended the hike in penalties on traffic violations introduced in the new Motor Vehicle Act and said the move will help prevent road accidents.