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GIST OF RAJYA SABHA TV (RSTV): J&K and Ladakh - Road Ahead

Published: 9th Nov, 2019


Three months after the bold decision of scrapping Jammu and Kashmir's decades-old special status under Article 370, the strife-torn state ceased to exist on 30th October midnight. India now has two new Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh - while it has one less state. The big change of status for Jammu and Kashmir comes 86 days after the Centre moved to scrap the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The new Union Territories will be headed by Lieutenant Governors GC Murmu and RK Mathur, respectively. They took oath on Thursday. This is for the first time in the history of India that a state is being converted into two Union Territories. The total number of states in the country will now be 28, while the total UTs will go up to nine. The UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Puducherry while Ladakh will be a UT without legislature like Chandigarh.


  • Jammu and Kashmir was enjoying special status under Article 370 and 35A of Indian constitution. It was not fully integrated with the Indian Union and had a separate constitution.
  • On August 5th 2019, the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was abrogated by bringing amendments to Article 370 through Presidential Order, 2019 and the state was bifurcated into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature and Ladakh without a legislature by Reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir Act, 2019.

Edited excerpts from the debate

Question: What are the changes that have actually taken place on ground in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir after the reorganization Act came into force?

  • Central Government has taken charge of both the newly created UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. They shall be ruled by the President of India and Part VIII of the constitution kicks in as UTS are created under this chapter. Under Article 239, President is authorized to administer the UT through the designated officer appointed by him known as lieutenant Governor. So it is the LG that is going to administer the newly created UTs.
  • Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir have been done away with.
  • The UT of Jammu and Kashmir is going to have a legislative assembly with strength of 107 members where 24 seats are reserved for PoJ&k. On the other hand, the UT of Ladakh is to be directly administered by the central government. The reason for this is that Ladakh is near Chinese border and to counter the Chinese aggression it is necessarily that it be administered by the central government directly.
  • The state symbols — the state flag and emblem — will cease to exist. J&K till now used to have a separate flag owing to the provisions of Article 370 in the Constitution of India.
  • Government buildings and vehicles of senior officials would have both the tricolour and the J&K flag until now. Only the national flag will be used from now on.
  • There will also be not more than nine ministers and a chief minister in the J&K assembly. Earlier there used to be a bicameral legislature and it will be replaced by unicameral legislature.
  • The next elected chief minister of J&K, however, will not have authority in three key areas — law and order, transfers and appointments, and the newly created Anti-Corruption Bureau. These will be looked after by the newly made position of L-G as the governor’s post has been dissolved too.
  • The existing state cadre of officers from Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) and Kashmir Police Service (KPS) will remain unchanged. However, the new appointments will be made from the AGMUT cadre.
  • State government employees will be divided to work for the two UTs. They have been given a choice to work for either of the two UTs.
  • 153 state laws will be repealed and a total of 166 state laws — specially meant for the state — will continue to remain in force.

Question: What are the implications of the reorganisation for the people on the ground in the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh?

  • Ladakh will be the biggest beneficiary of this reorganization for two reasons. There has been no violence and insurgency in Ladakh as has been seen in Kashmir since last three decades. The ladkahis will not have to move to Srinagar or Jammu where administrative decision makers are located to get their problems solved.
  • There are certain sections of people like refugees from West Pakistan, Walmikis and others who have been discriminated in Jammu and Kashmir over years. Refugees have rights to vote in Parliamentary elections but not in Assembly elections which is the denial of their fundamental rights. This new constitutional arrangements will take into consideration all these injustices and deliver justice to them.
  • A fear psychosis has been built in the minds of people of Kashmir largely by vested interests that Article 370 is the life and breath of the state of Jammu and Kashmir which was a myth. Jammu and Kashmir will exist and thrive without Article 370 too. But here lies a duty on central government to convince the people that the new constitutional arrangement is for the good of the people.

Question: Law and public order will be in the hands of central government but land is given to the legislative assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. This arrangement is different from what exists in India where law, public order and land is administered by central government. Why this different arrangement is adopted for Jammu and Kashmir?

National Capital territory of Delhi has been given the special status under Article 239AA of the constitution and Delhi being the central capital, the central government wants to retain its control over it. However, it is not the case with Jammu and Kashmir. The government is actually sending a message that the government is not only concerned about the territory but about the people. Otherwise a message will percolate in Kashmir that Government is interested in the interests of real or tourism or other businesses being extended to Jammu and Kashmir. It will also have a psychological impact on the people of Kashmir. It will help in developing the UTs in accordance with the aspirations of the people.

 Question: What is going to be the top priority of the newly appointed Lieutenant Governors of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh?

  • Maintenance of Rule of law: Maintenance of peace should be the top priority of the LGs.
  • Development opportunities: The people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh must be provided opportunities for education, employment and excellence.
  • Restoration of Democratic processes: Delimitation of constituencies should take place as quick as possible and only then elections will happen.
  • Integration in Kashmir be achieved in the minds of people of Kashmir after the legal integration has taken place.
  • Rehabilitation of Kashmir Pundits

Question: What are the biggest challenges in the short-term and in the long-term before LGs?

Politics is going to take back seat and development will be the focus. The challenge in Ladakh is the cold climate and that is something natural that we can’t change. The big challenge in Jammu and Kashmir will be eradicating corruption and to streamline administration as there are no basic amenities provided in Kashmir and Jammu ranging from public goods to infrastructure for private sector.

Question: What will happen to the bureaucracy already there and how the new civil servants will be recruited?

Ladakh should be allowed to create its own bureaucracy that will add emotional as well objective engagement in the state programmes and objectives. The grievances of Ladakhis have not been only about their lack of political representation but also about the lack of representation in the bureaucracy. The perception in the people of Jammu and Kashmir should change and rather they should learn from Ladakhis that the integration with the mainstream India will be in their favour in the longer run.

Practice Question: What are the major challenges for the government of India in the newly created union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh? Suggest some measures to overcome them?


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