Mehbooba releases PDP’s ‘Aspirational Agenda’

Srinagar: Promising to remodel JK’s political and economic structure, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today said the party would pursue the Self-Rule framework for the resolution of the Kashmir issue and the issues confronting Jammu and Kashmir.
Releasing the party’s Manifesto for 2014 Assembly Polls christened “Aspirational Agenda” at a press conference here this morning, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, if it comes to power, PDP would strive towards making Jammu and Kashmir politically empowered, economically self reliant, environmentally safe, socially cohesive and culturally vibrant.
She said besides putting in place a mechanism for politico-economic remodeling of the State, PDP would initiate tangible measures for reforming the government to ensure effective governance, revive the civil society and provide greater opportunities to the youth to make them self-reliant.
Mehbooba said her party would use Article 370 to restore the original special status of the State as this special provision of the Constitution of India is required to empower the people of J&K and help deal with the issues of identity, borders and governance. “Article 370 impacts everything in JK, from political discourse to personal responses, from economy to emotions, from society to sensibilities and from institutions to ideologies,” she said.
Mehbooba said PDP would also work towards closer ties across the Line of Control, making borders irrelevant in JK, reviving JK’s traditional connectivity with the rest of the world, promoting economic and social integration of the region, creation of a regional Free Trade Area and Common Economic Market as enshrined the party’s Self Rule framework.
Mehbooba said PDP would review the issues relating to notifying of ‘Disturbed Areas’ to pave the way for revocation of AFSPA. “We would also review all the cases against the youth and stop use of inhuman crowd control methods like the pellet guns,” she said and added a special toll free hotline would be created in the Chief Minister’s office for young state subjects who are in distress outside the state.
She said the party would initiate tangible measures for reintegration and re-absorption of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmiri milieu. “PDP would also workout one-time settlement compensation for PoK refugees and pursue the resolution passed by JK assembly in 2005 for grant of ST status to the Pahari speaking people,” she said and added that a legislative framework would be worked out for empowerment of all minorities including Sikhs and Christians. She said a separate Scheduled Tribe Ministry would be set up for the welfare of Gujjars.
Mehbooba said her party would renegotiate all natural resource sharing agreements with the Centre, in particular water resources and the hydro-power projects. “We would seek share in the profits of NHPC emanating from J&K waters,” she said and added the party would also seek a review of the royalty agreement
She said while rehabilitation of flood affected and flood impacted will be the first priority of PDP, under the party’s economic policy framework, economic structure of J&K will be aligned with its own resources, skills and society. “Economic policy will not be formulated for government’s activities but for private businesses and enterprises,” she said and added that special economic zones would be created for different regions of the State including crafts and tourism for Jhelum Valley, hydropower for Chenab Valley, non conventional energy for Indus Valley, biotechnology for Pir Panchal and manufacturing and trade for Jammu. For the journalists, the PDP will establish a Press Club in Srinagar, she said.
She said the core areas for focused attention would be power, horticulture, manufacturing, trade, tourism and crafts with various new initiatives being launched to promote these sectors.
To rejuvenate rural economy, Mehbooba said PDP would create Model Business Villages for horticulture and agriculture produce. She said each MBV will have high density orchard/production unit, storage/designing facility, picking and grading line/grinding unit and packaging and processing unit/marketing setup. She said three organic valleys would be setup in the state; one each in Chenab, Jhelum and Nubra Valleys to promote world-class organic farming.
Mehbooba said Srinagar and Jammu would be developed as smart cities with rapid transport system and other basic amenities besides creating more satellite cities in the State.
Mehbooba said connectivity intra and inter-region connectivity would be the thrust area of PDP government and the party would pursue construction of tunnels on Mughal Road, Anantnag-Sinthan-Kishtwar Road, Srinagar-Kargil Road, Bandipora-Gurez road, Kupwara-Karnah road. Besides, she said a separate tourism development authority would be setup for promotion of tourism along Mughal Road circuit.
She said special educational and health zones would be created in various parts of the State to facilitate setting up of quality education and health institutions to create employment and generate wealth.
Other initiatives enumerated in the Manifesto include institutionalizing vending business through legal framework, enhancing children rights relating to education, health & nutrition, provide special access to physically challenged, financial security for women and employment through entrepreneurship.
Besides, PDP Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, senior party leaders and MPs, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh and Tariq Hameed Karra, legislator A R Veeri, chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar, Dr Haseeb Drabu, Altaf Bukhari and Moulvi Imran Raza Ansari were also present on the occasion.