J&K – The issues around the state

What is Darbar Move?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Darbar Move

Mains level: Cases of two working capitals in Indian states and issues with them

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court asked the Centre and the Union Territory (UT) administration to take a final call on the continuation of the 148-year-old practice Darbar Move i.e. shifting of capitals between Jammu and Srinagar.

Possible mains question:

Discuss the feasibility, benefits and constraints caused by multiple administrative capitals in Indian states with special context to Jammu and Kashmir and the state of Andhra Pradesh. (250W)

Darbar Move

  • Darbar Move is the name given to the bi-annual shift of the secretariat and all other government offices of Jammu and Kashmir from one capital city to another.
  • From May to October, governmental offices are housed in the state’s summer capital, Srinagar, and the other six months in its winter capital, Jammu.
  • The tradition was started during Dogra rule in 1872 by Maharaja Ranbir Singh.
  • It involved shifting of the Maharaja’s government to Jammu to escape the harsh winters of the Kashmir Valley, which, in the 19th century, used to result in the Valley being cut off from outside the world.
  • It is advocated that the continuation of the practice helped in the emotional integration between two diverse linguistic and cultural regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

A costly practice

  • Ahead of the Darbar Move, Srinagar usually receives a facelift every year. Over 10,000 employees shift capital annually.
  • Roads around and leading to the Civil Secretariat, the seat of the government, are being renovated now.
  • Besides, the government offices and quarters have been renovated and the streetlights restored.
  • Hundreds of trucks are usually plied to carry furniture, office files, computers, and other records to the capital.
  • Over the years, there have been voices raised against the century-old practice which involves heavy funding towards ensuring the smooth conduct of the move.

Why scrap Darbar Move?

  • If this practice is rationalized, the amount of money, resources and time which could be saved, could be utilized towards the welfare and development of the Union Territory.
  • It could be utilized for the protection and propagation of culture and heritage of the communities.
  • No reason or justification at all is available for requiring the judiciary to shift with the ‘Darbar Move’. The same negatively impact justice dispensation and impedes judicial administration.

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