NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the demands for grants for Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after the Opposition sought to corner the government for the hardships faced by the people in the region in the wake of the August 5 decision to withdraw the special provisions under the Article 370.
Union Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur had presented Rs 1 lakh crore Budget for J&K for the fiscal 2020-21, besides Rs `55,317 crore demands for grants for the five months period of the last fiscal.
Taking part in the discussion, Congress MP Manish Tewari slammed the Centre for the internet shut down in J&K and the consequent economic loss to the people there. “In times when people in the country access 4G and 5G, people in J&K could get 2G after months only after the intervention of the judiciary. On account of the internet shutdown, the people in J&K suffered a loss of Rs 16,000 crore,” charged Tewari, while stressing that the Budget discussion should have taken place in the J&K Assembly.
Replying to the discussion, Union Minister for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Lok Sabha had during 1990-93 also discussed and passed the appropriation bills for J&K. Tewari countered saying that the precedents referred by the minister pertained to the V P Singh-led government, which was supported by the BJP and the Left. Sitharaman said that the NDA government has addressed the long pending grievances of the Kashmiri Pandits, Dalit and women, besides ensuring that all laws of the country become applicable in J&K.
She said that the exports from the UT of J&K are now increasing. She also referred to the delegation of a newly formed political outfit from J&K telling the Centre that they earlier had no access to New Delhi and their voices were not heard. “We’ve eliminated corruption and brought transparency,” said Sitharaman, while adding that the UT is open for tourists, not terrorists. Earlier, while taking part in the discussion, the Shiv Sena Lok Sabha MP Arvind Sawant accused the Congress, which is an ally in Maharashtra, of being silent spectator when jawans were killed by terrorists and the tricolour was burned in Jammu and Kashmir.
Recognition for regional languages
The demand for constitutional recognition to regional languages was raised in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday by BJP’s Jagdambika Pal. The listing of three languages Bhojpuri, Rajasthani and Bhoti into the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution has been raised on different platforms including the Parliament time and again. Pal urged the Centre to consider the listing of these languages said that almost 20 crore people in 16 countries speak them.