J&K – The issues around the state

Sep, 17, 2019

[op-ed snap] The reality check


The satisfaction about the abrogation of Art 370 in the rest of India stems from years of frustration at the failure of our efforts to establish durable peace in Kashmir and the perception that its special status was a mistake. 

What the future holds

  • Three principal arguments have figured in our national discourse: 
    • It has altered the terms of our engagement with Pakistan
    • better central control over a sensitive region 
    • ushering in an era of peace and development in J&K, whose progress was hampered by its special status

Lessons from the past

  • Pakistan’s questioning of J&K’s accession to India will not stop as the issue didn’t start with Art 370.
  • We took the issue of Pakistan aggression in J&K to the UN, but the power politics of the day turned it into one of the futures of the territory. 
  • In the Simla Agreement, we agreed to hold bilateral negotiations for “a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir”. We have not renounced this agreement. 
  • Since the late Eighties, when widespread terror and violence broke out in Kashmir, we have talked to Pakistan on this issue for various reasons:
    • International pressure
    • To manage the relationship and reduce violence 
    • The expectation that Pakistan could be moved in a positive direction through dialogue
  • The role of international pressure has diminished considerably. J&K’s special status figured nowhere in these considerations.


  • On the return of PoK, we reiterated in every round of dialogue with Pakistan the finality of J&K’s accession. 
  • The remaining issue for discussion is the vacation of its parts under Pakistan’s illegal occupation.
  • It is thought that our government’s move was aimed at forcing Pakistan’s hand to settle for the existing territorial status quo.
  • But it is negated by the chorus for the recovery of PoK being our next step. 
  • Its recovery militarily will pit us against China, besides Pakistan, because of its deep interest in the so-called Gilgit-Baltistan, with its entry to the CPEC.


  • The central government will have direct control over law and order in the Union Territory of J&K. 
  • J&K’s statehood and special status were never serious impediments to operations by security forces against internal turmoil or their deployment for the defence of our external boundaries. 
  • The instrumentality of the Governor’s/President’s rule was available, when necessary. 

Problems with the move on 370

  • A key asset in a sensitive region is the loyalty of the local populace. The scrapping of the special status will not make much difference to the life of people in the Valley. 
  • The abrupt move, break-up, and downgrading of the state will feed into the already prevailing sense of alienation and religious radicalisation, which Pakistan has been exploiting.
  • Peace as a prerequisite for the settlement of citizens from the rest of India in J&K and investment by them, faces serious challenges in the Valley and any turmoil there will not leave the Jammu region untouched. 
  • Influencing public opinion requires a massive effort to engage with the people, which has been missing in the last few years. 
  • Mainstream parties are marginalised and actively discredited by the government.
  • Pakistan’s security establishment finds Kashmir as a means to for its institutional interest of keeping a stranglehold on the country’s polity and has using terrorism to keep the Valley on the boil. These considerations had nothing to do with J&K’s special status and will not disappear with its withdrawal. 
  • Pakistan has opportunistically sought to exploit the Indian move to bring international focus on Kashmir. 

Way ahead

  • Addressing it requires a different set of measures.
  • Devote our energies to building not only immediate but durable peace in the Valley. 
  • This requires engagement with the people.
Aug, 16, 2019

J&K Public Safety Act


  • A former IAS officer was recently detained under the J&K Public Safety Act (PSA).

J&K Public Safety Act (PSA)

  • The Jammu and Kashmir PSA) which received the assent of the J&K Governor on April 8, 1978.
  • The Act was introduced by the government of Sheikh Abdullah as a tough law to prevent the smuggling of timber and keep the smugglers “out of circulation”.
  • The law allowed the government to detain any person above the age of 16 without trial for a period of two years.
  • It allows for administrative detention for up to two years in the case of persons acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State, and for administrative detention up to one year where any person is acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.
  • Detention orders under PSA can be issued by Divisional Commissioners or District Magistrates.
  • Section 22 of the Act provides protection for any action taken “in good faith” under the Act.
  • No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act.

Issues with the act

  • It is often referred to as a “draconian” law.
  • However, right from the beginning, the law was misused widely, and was repeatedly employed against political opponents by consecutive governments until 1990.
  • After the emergence of militancy, the J&K government frequently invoked the PSA to crack down on separatists.
  • In the aftermath of the killing of a sympathized terrorist in July 2016, hundreds of youths in the Valley were detained under PSA, with extendable detention periods.
  • In August 2018, the Act was amended to allow individuals to be detained under the PSA outside the state as well.
Aug, 14, 2019

Explained: India’s Asymmetric Federalism



  • The Union government has withdrawn the special status conferred on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) under Article 370 of the Constitution.
  • It has also divided the State into two regions and declared them as Union Territories.
  • Thus, the government has made a significant alteration in the unique form of federalism that it has been practicing in respect of the sensitive border State.
  • Instead, it has put in place an alternative form of federalism in which the two new units will be administered by the Centre.

How is this debate concerned with federalism?

  • Nations are described as ‘federal’ or ‘unitary’, depending on the way in which governance is organised.
  • In a unitary set-up, the Centre has plenary powers of administration and legislation, with its constituent units having little autonomy.
  • In a federal arrangement, the constituent units are identified on the basis of region or ethnicity, and conferred varying forms of autonomy or some level of administrative and legislative powers.
  • As the current political status of J&K — as two UTs — is a form of demotion from the sort of autonomy it enjoyed, it becomes an issue concerning federalism.

Why is India called ‘quasi-federal’?

  • The Supreme Court has commented on the nature of the Indian Union in several judgments.
  • It has noted that the essence of a ‘federation’ is the existence of the Union of the States, and the distribution of powers between them.
  • In S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India, it notes the commonly invoked model of federalism is the United States, by which it is clear that it is a federation of States.
  • In India, Parliament has the power to admit new States, create new States, alter their boundaries and their names, and unite or divide the States.
  • Even though the States are sovereign in their prescribed legislative field, and their executive power is co-extensive with their legislative powers, it is clear that “the powers of the States are not coordinate with the Union”.
  • This is why the Constitution is often described as ‘quasi-federal’.

Demotion into a UT

  • In the latest exercise, the unprecedented act of converting a State into a UT has also been performed.
  • The concurrence of States is not needed for the formation and unmaking of States and UTs.
  • Further, the Supreme Court noted the existence of several provisions of the Constitution that allow the Centre to override the powers of the States.

Exercise of residuary powers

  • In legislation, there is a Concurrent List, unlike in the U.S., which outlines the powers of the federal government, and leaves any matter not mentioned in it as the legislative field for the States.
  • In India, the residuary powers of legislation, that is the power to make law in a field not specified in the Constitution, is vested in Parliament, whereas in the U.S., residuary powers are with the States.
  • Further, in fiscal matters, the power of the States to raise their own resources is limited, and there is a good deal of dependency on the Centre for financial assistance.

Why is it said that India has asymmetric federalism?

  • The main forms of administrative units in India are the Centre and the States.
  • But there are other forms, too, all set up to address specific local, historical and geographical contexts.
  • Besides the Centre and the States, the country has Union Territories with a legislature, and Union Territories without a legislature.
  • Just as the Centre and the States do not have matching powers in all matters, there are some differences in the way some States and other constituent units of the Indian Union relate to the Centre.
  • This creates a notable asymmetry in the way Indian federalism works.

All federal units are not equal

  • When the Constitution came into force, the various States and other administrative units were divided into Parts A, B, C and D.
  • Part A States were the erstwhile provinces, while Part B consisted of erstwhile princely states and principalities. Part C areas were the erstwhile ‘Chief Commissioner’s Provinces’.
  • They became Union Territories, and some of them initially got legislatures and were later upgraded into States.
  • Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa belong to this category.

Even equals are distinct

  • Puducherry and Delhi have legislatures, while the other territories under the Centre do not have legislatures or a ministerial council to advise the administrator.
  • Even between Puducherry and Delhi, there is a notable difference. Puducherry has legislative powers on any matter mentioned in the State List or the Concurrent List, insofar as it applies to the Union Territory.
  • Delhi, which has the same field, has three further exceptions: police, land and public order are outside its purview.
  • However, Parliament has overriding powers over any law made by the Assembly in the Union Territories.
  • Puducherry has one more unique feature. Despite being a single administrative unit, the Union Territory is ‘non-contiguous’. That is, its territory is not limited to one extent of land.
  • Besides Puducherry and its adjoining areas, it has enclaves located within other States: Karaikal (within Tamil Nadu) Yanam (within Andhra Pradesh) and Mahe (within Kerala).

What is special status? How did it work in J&K?

  • The foremost example of asymmetry among Centre-State ties was in the way J&K related to India until August 6, 2019, the day the President declared that its special status ceased to be operative.
  • Under Article 370, the State was allowed to have its own Constitution, its own definition of ‘permanent residents’, the right to bar outsiders from holding property, and the privilege of not having any Indian law automatically applicable to its territory.
  • Indian laws had to be specifically permitted by its Assembly before it could operate there. It was allowed to have its own Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes.
  • The President was empowered to notify, from time to time, the provisions of the Constitution that could be extended to the State, with or without modifications.

Are there any other examples of decentralisation of power?

  • There is another significant tier of administration under the larger framework of asymmetric federalism.
  • The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution contains provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. These create autonomous districts and autonomous regions.
  • Any autonomous district with different Scheduled Tribes will be divided into autonomous regions. These will be administered by District Councils and Regional Councils.
  • These Councils can make laws with respect to allotment, occupation and use of land, management of forests other than reserve forests and water courses.
  • Besides they can regulate social customs, marriage and divorce and property issues.
  • In Assam, the Karbi-Anglong Autonomous Council, Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council and the Bodoland Territorial Council have been set up under the Sixth Schedule. Another six autonomous councils have been formed by Acts of the legislature.
  • Ladakh has two autonomous hill development councils (Leh and Kargil). The Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council is in West Bengal.
Aug, 14, 2019

Delimitation of Constituencies in J&K


  • The Election Commission held internal discussions on the delimitation of constituencies ahead of elections to the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Resizing new constituencies

  • According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the UT of J&K would be increased from 107 to 114.
  • The total population would be divided over the 114 seats to get an average number of electors per constituency.
  • The Act also specifies that delimitation will be based on the 2011 census till 2026.


Delimitation Commission of India

  • The Delimitation commission or Boundary commission of India is a commission established by the Government of India under the provisions of the Delimitation Commission Act.
  • The main task of the commission is redrawing the boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census.
  • The representation from each State is not changed during this exercise. However, the numbers of SC and ST seats in a state are changed in accordance with the census.
  • The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.
  • The Commission is a independent body whose orders cannot be challenged in any court of law.
  • The orders are laid before the Lok Sabha and the respective State Legislative Assemblies. However, modifications are not permitted.
  • Delimitation commissions have been set up four times in the past — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 — under Delimitation Commission Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
  • The most recent delimitation commission was set up on 12 July 2002 after the 2001 census with Justice Kuldip Singh, a retired Judge of the Supreme Court as its Chairperson.
Jul, 24, 2019

Explained: Why President Trump possibly offered to mediate on Kashmir issue


  • US President Donald Trump threw a bombshell at India during a meeting with visiting Pakistan PM Imran Khan.
  • He bluffed by saying that PM Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir.

An offer unwanted

  • How this will impact the present uneven relations between US-India remains to be seen. It will be for diplomats to manage the fallout if any.
  • The most likely assessment on both sides may be that the episode should be buried quietly, and both countries should move ahead.

India stands for Bilateralism

  • India’s insistence on bilateralism has historically stemmed from the distrust of outsiders meddling in its internal affairs.
  • The framework for bilateral resolution of problems between India and Pakistan was written into the 1972 Shimla Agreement, reiterated 27 years later in the Lahore Declaration.
  • The world was out to demonstrate that India’s secular nationhood project was doomed, and that outside mediators viewed the Kashmir view through Pakistani eyes.
  • India has sought outside help from the world, not for mediation, but to rein in Pakistan’s meddling of terror in Kashmir.

Why no international mediation?

  • Soon after Nehru took Pakistan’s invasion in 1947 to the UN, he had had second thoughts about it.
  • Subsequent UN missions, including the Dixon Mission led to the Dixon Plan of 1950 for partition of some areas of J&K between India and Pakistan.
  • Plus they proposed for a plebiscite in the Valley.
  • This strengthened India’s determination to shut the door to international mediation.
  • Since then, India has resisted attempts at internationalizing the Kashmir problem and mostly succeeded in making it clear to the world that there is no place for a third party in the room.

US was always consulted

I. During Kargil War

  • In 1999, one year after India and Pakistan went nuclear, it was US intervention that brought the Kargil crisis to an end.
  • The Vajpayee government had been in touch with the Clinton administration to get the Sharif government to call off the intrusion in Kargil even as it fought Pakistani forces.
  • Pakistan then took Clinton’s help for a face-saving ceasefire with India that would include a settlement on Kashmir.
  • It had to agree to an unconditional withdrawal of Pakistani forces from Kargil back to the Line of Control.
  • Clinton denied a face-saver of mediation over Kashmir, and reaffirmed US commitment to the bilateral Lahore Declaration signed earlier.

II. UNSC issues

  • After 9/11, which ushered in a UNSC-backed international architecture against terrorism, India has looked increasingly to the global community for help against Pakistan terror flourishment.
  • India always insisted global community to put pressure on the Pakistan Army and political leadership to desist from permitting anti-India terrorist activity on its territory.
  • Asking international players for help on Pakistan on one issue and expecting them to respect India’s red lines on other kinds of involvement has worked more or less.

Why did Trump comment so?

1) US credit mongering as usual:

  • The US president claimed to have defused the India-Pakistan stand off that arose from the Pulwama attack. The US is said to have played a part in release of Abhinandan.
  • The US also played a role in forcing China to agree to the designation of Jaish chief Masood Azhar.
  • And most recently, Trump took credit for the arrest of Hafiz Saeed. Perhaps, the President of the US thinks he has already resolved much of the problem.

2) Failure in the Middle-East:  He may think there is a better chance of resolving a knotty international issue – all US presidents like this on their CVs and an isolationist Trump may not be above this.

3) Afghan Talks:  He may also believe that if his administration has succeeded in dragging the Taliban to the table in Afghanistan, so can it do the same with India and Pakistan.

Jul, 02, 2019

J&K Reservation Bill


  • Recently Rajya Sabha has passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Bill.
  • Passed by Lok Sabha last week, the Bill partially amends a Presidential Order of 1954 in order to amend the state’s Reservation Act.

About the Bill

  • The Bill amends the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and replaces an Ordinance promulgated on March 1, 2019.
  • The earlier Act provided for reservation in appointment and promotions in state government posts, and admission to professional institutions for certain reserved categories.
  • The Act provides for reservation in appointment and promotions in certain state government posts to persons belonging to socially and educationally backward classes.
  • It defines socially and educationally backward classes to include persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control.

Amendments to the Bill

  • With the constitutional amendments, the benefits of reservation available to the residents along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have been extended to residents living along the International Border (IB).
  • This benefits residents in Jammu, Samba and Kathua.
  • Through the Presidential Order, the Cabinet applied the 77th Constitutional Amendment of 1995 to J&K, giving benefits of reservation in promotion to SCs and STs in government service.
  • The Cabinet also applied the 103rd Constitutional Amendment of 2019 to J&K, which gave 10% reservation to Economically Weaker Sections among people in the general category.

What is the 1954 executive order?

  • The 1954 order is an executive order issued by the President under Article 370 to extend provisions of an Act of Parliament to J&K State, which can be done only with the concurrence of the state government.
  • The Constitution of India applies to Jammu & Kashmir by virtue of Article 370, which provides a mechanism for the way it applies.
  • Article 370 defines state government as ‘the Maharaja’ and/or the ‘Sadar-i-Riyasat’ aided by a council of ministers.

Then what is the controversy?

  • At the centre of the controversy is the question whether the Governor, in the absence of an elected government, has the authority to give consent to extend a law of Parliament and change the constitutional arrangement between J&K and the Union.
  • While bringing the ordinance, the Union govt. said the amendments were recommended by the State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by J&K Governor.
  • While no one in J&K has opposed the decision to provide benefits to SCs, STs and EWS, there has been opposition to the route taken by the Centre and its nominee the J&K Governor.
  • It is accused that Union Govt. “breached” Article 370 while issuing the amendment to the 1954 Presidential Order.

Issue with Governor’s authority

  • The issue of the Governor’s powers was defined by the Supreme Court in Mohammad Maqbool Damnoo versus State of J&K (1972).
  • While dealing with the replacement of an elected Sadr-i-Riyasat with the Centre-appointed Governor, the court observed that a Governor is “head of government aided by a council of ministers”.
  • It is not as if the state government, by such a change (replacing elected Sadr-i-Riyasat with Centre-appointed Governor) is made irresponsible to the state legislature.

Arguments by regional parties

  • One of the main regional parties has challenged the amendment to the Presidential Order of 1954.
  • The regional parties contend that “concurrence” means the concurrence of an elected government, and not that of a nominated government.
  • Elected govt. is a must for any amendment to the Presidential Order of 1954, and that this is thus in contravention of Article 370.
  • They contend that the government means an elected government and that the President cannot seek concurrence of the Governor because “the Governor is a representative of the President”.
Jun, 21, 2019

‘Back to the village’ Outreach Programme


  • The Jammu and Kashmir state government has launched its ambitious outreach programme, ‘Back to the Village’.

 Back to the Village

  • As part of the program, bureaucrats will spend the next 36 hours in different panchayats, gathering feedback from people on development of their areas.
  • The eight-day programme is being organised across all Panchayats of the state.
  • Under the ‘Back to the Village’ programme, government officers will be spending two days and one night in different panchayats.
  • During their stay, they will hold meetings with elected ‘panches’ and ‘sarpanches’, hold ‘gram’ (village) and ‘mahila sabhas’ (women assemblies) in addition to other grassroots level interactions.
  • The programme will involve the people of the state and government officials in a joint effort to deliver the mission of equitable development across all our rural areas.
  • The feedback obtained during the exercise will help the government in assessing and subsequently tailoring the various central and state government schemes to improve delivery of village-specific services.

Objectives of the programme

  • The outreach initiative is primarily aimed at energizing the 4,483 panchayats and directing development efforts in rural areas through community participation and to create in the rural masses an earnest desire for a decent standard of living.
  • The basic objective of this programme is to move governance from its seat of operation to the doorsteps of the people in villages.
  • It will focus on four main goals viz. energising panchayats, collecting feedback on delivery of government schemes and programmes, capturing specific economic potential and undertaking assessment of needs of villages, besides affording an opportunity to gazetted officers to visit the villages.
Jun, 13, 2019

[pib] President’s (not Governor’s) Rule in J&K


  • Based on the prevailing situation in the state as stated in the report of Governor of J&K, the Union Cabinet has approved the extension of President’s Rule in J&K for a further period of six months under article 356(4) of the Constitution of India.

Why not Governor’s Rule?

  • Under Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, there is no provision for further continuation of Gov. Rule after six months.
  • Hence, on the recommendation of Governor, the President issues a proclamation promulgating President’s Rule in J&K under article 356 of the Constitution of India.

What is Governor’s rule in J&K?

  • In all states of India, the state government’s failure results in President’s rule.
  • The process is slightly more nuanced in Jammu and Kashmir where not the President’s but Governor’s rule is imposed.
  • The Constitution of India grants special status to J&K among Indian states, and it is the only state in India to have a separate Constitution and regulations specific to it.
  • Under the provision of Section 92 of the J&K Constitution, Governor’s rule is imposed for six months, but only after the consent of the President of India.
  • The President’s rule in other states of India is imposed under Article 356 of the Constitution of India.
  • Under the Governor’s rule, the State Assembly is either kept in suspended animation or dissolved.

History of Governor’s Rule

  • The Governor’s rule was imposed on the state for the first time in March 1977, when the Congress withdrew support to a government led by the late Sheikh Abdullah.
  • Among notable differences with other states, till 1965, the head of state in J&K was called Sadr-e-Riyasat, whereas in other state, the title was Governor, and head of government was called Prime Minister in place of Chief Minister in other states.


President’s Rule

Jun, 05, 2019

Explained: OIC’s reference to J&K, and India’s response to it



  • India has rejected the reference to J&K by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at its meeting last week.
  • OIC has no locus standi in matters relating to J&K being an integral part of India.
  • India reiterated that OIC should refrain from making such unwarranted references.

OIC stance on Kashmir

  • The OIC met in Mecca affirmed its support for the people of J&K for the realization of their legitimate right to self-determination, in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.
  • It condemned the recent outbreaks of violence in the region and invited India to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions to settle its protracted conflict with its neighbour.
  • It also called for the expedited establishment of a UN commission of inquiry to investigate into the alleged HR violations in Kashmir.
  • It called on India to allow this proposed commission and international human rights organizations to access Indian-occupied Kashmir.
  • The Conference approved the appointment of Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Aldobeay as its Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir.

About OIC

  • OIC — formerly Organisation of the Islamic Conference — is the second largest inter-governmental organisation in the world after the UN.
  • It describes itself as the collective voice of the Muslim world, and its stated objective is to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world.
  • It has reserved its membership for Muslim-majority countries.

India: Still not even an Observer

  • Russia, Thailand, and a couple of other small countries have Observer status.
  • Last year, Bangladesh had suggested that India, where more than 10% of the world’s Muslims live, should be given Observer status, but Pakistan had opposed the proposal.
  • However, EAM Sushma Swaraj had addressed the Inaugural Plenary of the 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC in Abu Dhabi on March 1 this year.
  • Indian counterpart was after invited by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Foreign Minister of the UAE as the Guest of Honour.

OIC on Kashmir

  • The communique issued in Mecca is not new or unusual.
  • The OIC has been generally supportive of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, and has repeatedly issued statements criticizing the alleged Indian “atrocities”.
  • At the 2018 meeting in Dhaka, however J&K figured in only one of the 39 resolutions adopted, that too, along with 12 other states or regions worldwide.
  • Pakistan had complained about the Dhaka Declaration and accused Bangladesh of circulating the text very late.

India’s response

  • India has consistently and emphatically underlined that Jammu and Kashmir is an “integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India.
  • The strength with which India has made this assertion has varied slightly at times, but never the core message.
  • OIC having no locus standi on J&K itself is stronger statement.

Championing relations with OIC giants

  • Individually, India has excellent relations with almost all member nations of the OIC.
  • Ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, especially, have looked up significantly in recent years.
  • The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh MBZ Al Nahyan, was a very special Chief Guest at the 68th Republic Day celebrations in 2017.
  • This was the first time that India laid out the Republic Day red carpet for a leader who was neither a Head of State nor Head of Government.
Apr, 23, 2019

Green issues in J&K


  • Even as Articles 370 and 35A generate considerable heat in Jammu & Kashmir, crucial issues of ecology and environment remain conspicuously ignored by all.

Geopolitical fallouts impacting environment

  • Shrinking glaciers tops this list. Through summer these glaciers charge the Valley’s water bodies, like streams and canals used in irrigation and rivers that flow into Pakistan.
  • The state also witnesses two of its major lakes — Dal and Wular — become smaller.

I. Shrinking waterbodies

  • Dal, the mascot of Kashmir’s famed natural beauty and a major tourist puller, has shrunk around 36 per cent in almost four decades.
  • According to a study by Srinagar’s Directorate of Environment, Ecology and Remote Sensing, it has shrunk to 1,620 hectares in 2008 from 2,547 hectares in 1971.
  • Wular, which is the largest fresh water lake in Asia and was designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990, is worse than Dal.
  • Since 1911, the overall water spread and marsh areas have shrunk by more than 50 per cent.
  • The water-holding capacity of the lake that helps prevents floods and drought is fast diminishing.

II. Conversion of farmlands

  • Over the past three decades, Kashmir has also witnessed a steady conversion of farmland into ones used for non-agricultural purposes.
  • As a result, food grain deficit, which in 1950-51 was 32 per cent, has now shot up to 81.5 per cent.

III. Issue over Indus Water

  • Recently, India threatened to stop J&K rivers from entering Pakistan after the Pulwama attack.
  • According to the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), Pakistan gets water from three J&K rivers — Jhelum, Sindh and Chenab — and India gets the right to completely divert water from Punjab rivers — Satluj, Ravi and Beas.
  • Shrinking glaciers threaten to reduce the discharge in J&K rivers, which will reduce the distribution of waters between neighbours.
  • If there is less water available to meet J&K needs, even lesser will flow to Pakistan. This may impact the country’s agriculture and its economy.

IV. Issue over Hydropower

  • Another related issue is hydro-power generation, again a politically touchy issue.
  • Under IWT, the Valley can only generate electricity from run-of-the-river power projects.
  • So, the depleting discharge in rivers will mean a progressive decline in generation capacity.
  • But, as of now, J&K faces severe shortage of electricity, an irony for a state that exports power to the rest of the country.
  • According to an estimate, around 84 per cent of the 3593 megawatt of energy generated in J&K goes to  the northern grid and the state buys a chunk of  it back  for a hefty cost.

Kashmir is  in Despair

  • The state doesn’t even have an agency to address its water problems as IWT already takes care of the larger issue — the rivers.
  • About receding of glaciers, the state can hardly do anything. One of the factors that may be accentuating the shrinkage, apart from climate change, is Amarnath Yatra.
  • But regulating pilgrimage to protect the fragile environment is too politically sensitive an issue to be addressed.

Lack of awareness

  • J&K faces mass unemployment, an underperforming economy (as the state imports 96 per cent of goods) and dwindling tourism.
  • In popular perception, the accent in public discourse on development and environment issues is perceived as a motivated digression from the ongoing secessionist campaign.
  • People see these development and environment related issues as secondary to the political issues of existential nature confronting the state.
  • Issues like water, power and development are seen as a consequence of the political conflict in and over the state and are hence not considered addressable unless the conflict itself is resolved.

Way Forward

  • J&K is important for environmental stability of the subcontinent.
  • So the issues of the state’s disappearing water bodies, receding glaciers needs to be openly discussed on their merit unencumbered by the political and religious sensitivities and the interests.
  • Neglecting green issues in public discourse and the consequent lack of effective administrative redressal can cost not only J&K but the entire region heavily.
Apr, 15, 2019

Explained: When J&K had its own PM and Sadr-e-Riyasat


  • Recent statements some politicians have brought the spotlight on two erstwhile positions in Jammu and Kashmir — J&K Prime Minister and Sadr-e-Riyasat (President of the state).

J&K Prime Minister

  • J&K had its own Prime Minister and Sadr-e-Riyasat until 1965, when the J&K Constitution was amended (Sixth Constitution of J&K Amendment Act, 1965) by the then Congress government.
  • It replaced the two positions with Chief Minister and Governor respectively.
  • The first PM of J&K, appointed by Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, was Sir Albion Banerjee (1927-29).

GoT in J&K

  • The state had nine more PMs before Independence. The first after Independence was Mehr Chand Mahajan (October 1947-March 1948).
  • He was replaced with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who until then had been Head of the Administration.
  • The next two J&K Prime Ministers were Khwaja Shamsuddin (1963-64) and Congress leader Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq (until March 30, 1965).
  • It was during Sadiq’s tenure that the Centre replaced the two posts. In fact, Sadiq became the first Chief Minister of J&K, serving until December 1971.


  • The J&K Constitution was adopted on November 17, 1956 but came into effect only on January 26, 1957.
  • On June 10, 1952, the “Basic Principles Committee” appointed by the J&K Constituent Assembly recommended that “the institution of hereditary rulership shall be terminated” and “the office of the head of the State shall be elective”.
  • The Constituent Assembly resolved that the head of state, named Sadr-e-Riyasat, would be elected by the Legislative Assembly for a term of five years and recognised by the President of India.
  • The Centre did not agree initially because it “impinged upon the provisions of Article 370” where the Maharaja, acting on the advice of the council of ministers, was recognised as the head of state.
  • After negotiations, the matter was resolved on July 24, 1952, when New Delhi agreed to allow J&K to recognise an elected Sadr-e-Riyasat instead of an appointed Governor.
  • Only a permanent resident of J&K could become Sadr-e-Riyasat. Once elected by the Legislative Assembly, the Sadr-e-Riyasat had to be recognised and then appointed by the President of India.

The amendment

  • The Sixth Amendment to the J&K Constitution, carried out in 1965, made a fundamental change to its basic structure.
  • Under Section 147, an amendment is to be assented by the Sadr-e-Riyasat after a Bill is passed by a two-thirds majority of the House, while Section 147 itself cannot be amended by the state legislature, and neither can an amendment that changes the provisions of Constitution of India as applicable in relation to J&K.
  • Sadr-e-Riyasat, however, was replaced with Governor across the J&K Constitution, except in Section 147 which could not be amended.
  • This has led to the existence of two kinds of heads of state in the Constitution — Sadr-e-Riyasat as well as Governor.
  • In 1975, a Presidential Order issued under Article 370 barred the J&K Legislature from making any change to the J&K Constitution regarding appointment and powers of the Governor.
Apr, 06, 2019

Explained: J&K govt blocking of a highway


A move for safer transition

  • The J&K govt. issued an order banning the movement of civilian traffic on a 270-km stretch (Udhampur-Baramulla) of the Jammu-Srinagar-Uri national highway for two days every week.
  • On Sundays and Wednesdays, the highway would be exclusively used for movement of military convoys.
  • The decision has been taken considering the security concerns that led to temporarily blocking part of the highway.
  • However this has an implication on civilian population.

Why is the highway important?

  • The Jammu-Srinagar-Uri national highway (NH-1A) runs 370 km.
  • The national highway is not just the only road link that connects Kashmir to the outside world but also the key highway that connects Srinagar with the southern and northern districts of the Valley.
  • The highway passes through five of the 10 districts of the Valley, and highways to at least two more districts branch out from it.
  • The highway, directly and indirectly, impacts a population of over 69 lakh.

The road-block to terror

  • The government has cited the recent suicide bombing of a security forces convoy in Pulwama — which killed 40 CRPF personnel — as the reason for restricting traffic.
  • This stretch would be closed for all forms of civilian traffic from dawn to dusk (4 am to 5 pm) on these two days, leaving it open exclusively for convoys of security forces.
  • While the highway would be closed on these two days, civilian traffic already faces restrictions through the week.

Implications of the road-block

  • It means a virtual lockdown of the Valley for two days every week.
  • According to official figures, over 10,000 vehicles move on the highway from both sides every hour, including around 5,000 light motor vehicles.
  • These include vehicles carrying students, patients, government officials and businessmen.
  • Closing the highway during daytime would mean that most government and private offices, banks, schools and colleges would remain shut on Wednesdays and the movement of people to hospitals would be severely restricted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Another viable option

  • Almost all colleges, higher secondary institutions and schools in five districts of the Valley are accessible only through this highway.
  • Besides, there are hundreds of villages and towns spread on both sides of the highway from Udhampur to Baramulla. The ban would effectively cut them off from other places on two days every week.
  • Whenever security forces’ vehicles are using the highway, civilian traffic is often halted for various lengths of time.
  • Had the government decided to move security convoys at night, the impact on civilian traffic movement could have been much less.
Mar, 28, 2019

[op-ed snap] A blow against Article 370


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Article 370

Mains level: Issues related to special status given to J&K under the Constitution and 2019 order diluting special status of state.



On March 1, 2019, the 77th and 103rd constitutional amendments were extended to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) by a presidential order, with the concurrence of the J&K Governor.These relate to reservations in promotions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the State services and special provisions for the advancement of economically weaker sections, respectively.

Background of 370

  • The constitutional relationship between J&K and the Indian Union has been the subject of numerous discussions in recent times.
  • This has rekindled the long-standing debate on the continued relevance of Article 370.

1.What is article 370?

  • As in Article 370, the provisions of the Indian Constitution do not automatically apply to J&K.
  • To extend constitutional provisions and amendments to the State, a presidential order to that effect has to be passed.
  • This order requires the concurrence of the State government, where the subject matter does not relate to the subjects specified in the Instrument of Accession (defence, external affairs, and communications).
  • For other cases, only consultation is required.

2.Erosion of Article 370

  • Accordingly, a 1954 presidential order extended various provisions of the Indian Constitution to J&K.
  • This order was made with the concurrence of the State government and also ratified by the State Constituent Assembly.
  • After the J&K Constitution came into effect in 1957, the State Constituent Assembly was dissolved.
  • Since then, more than 40 such orders have been made, through which most constitutional provisions have been extended to the State.
  • The sheer number of such orders, as well as the circumstances under which they were made, have considerably eroded J&K’s special status under Article 370.

History of diluton of 370

  • From the 1950s there has been a gradual dilution of the procedural norms followed by these presidential orders.

1.1954 Order

  • In passing the 1954 order, procedural propriety was followed in the fullest possible sense as the requisite concurrence was obtained not only from an elected State government but also the State Constituent Assembly.
  • The presidential orders made after the dissolution of the State Constituent Assembly — except a 1986 order extending Article 249, and the present 2019 order — can be seen as the first level of dilution.
  • This is so because for all these orders, while the concurrence of an elected State government was obtained, the State Constituent Assembly did not exist and, therefore, could not give its ratification.
  • Although the Supreme Court upheld this practice in the Sampat Prakash case (1968), it has been criticised as being beyond the scope of Article 370.

2.1986 Order

  • The 1986 order represents a second level of dilution.
  • This is because it was made when J&K was under Governor’s rule as per Section 92 of the J&K Constitution.
  • In the absence of an elected council of ministers, the Governor could not have validly given the requisite concurrence to the presidential order.
  • Even if the Governor acting without a popularly elected government can be considered as a “state government” for the purposes of concurrence, the Governor must at least have had some nexus with the State and some independence from the Centre.
  • However, this is not the case in practice, since the Governor is not only an unelected nominee of the Central Government but also holds office during the latter’s pleasure.

3.2019 Order

  • the third level of dilution brought about by the 2019 order is almost the final blow.
  • In December 2018, the President assumed all the functions of the State government and the Governor through a proclamation under Article 356.
  • In an order passed on the same day, the President directed that all powers assumed by him would be exercisable by the Governor as well, “subject to the superintendence, direction, and control of the President”.

Problems with 2019 order

  • During Governor’s rule, as was the case in 1986, the Governor is at least on paper expected to act independently.
  • However, in the present case involving President’s rule, the Governor is reduced to a mere delegate of the Centre and is expected to act as per the aid and advice of the Central Government.
  • A presidential order made through obtaining such a Governor’s concurrence is tantamount to the Centre talking into a mirror and makes a mockery of Article 370.

A.Federalism is being compromised

  • The manner in which the 2019 order was made also goes against the spirit of federalism, which is a salient constitutional principle.
  • President’s rule is an exception to the general constitutional scheme that envisages representative government at the State level to accommodate regional aspirations.
  • Extending constitutional provisions to the State during this exceptional state of affairs is suspicious.
  • In the absence of popular will backing it, the 2019 order clearly falls foul of the principles of constitutional and political morality.


Commenting on the 1986 order, the Sarkaria Commission had observed that “every action which is legally permissible may not be necessarily prudent or proper from the political stand-point”. Not only is the recent presidential order against federalism generally and the spirit of Article 370 in particular but it also violates the letter of the Constitution.


Mar, 01, 2019

[pib] Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019


Mains Paper 2: Governance| Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the ordinance

Mains level: Impact of reservations in J&K


Reservations to J&K people

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of Jammu & Kashmir Government to issue “The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019′ by the President of India.
  • It provides for amendments in the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 to bringing persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border within the ambit of reservation.
  • It will pave the way to extend reservation in jobs, promotions and education to people living 10 km from the International Border (IB) in Jammu.
  • Earlier the benefits were only reserved for people living 10 km beyond the Line of Control (LoC) and affected by shelling and firing from across the border.


  • People living near the International Border have been brought at par with those living near the LoC for reservation in State Government jobs by amending the J&K Reservation Act, 2004 through an Ordinance.
  • Earlier, the provision of 3% reservation was available only for youth living within 6 kms of LoC in J&K.
  • Now, this provision will be applicable for people living near the international border also.
  • This has been a long-pending demand of the population living near the international border, as they have been facing the brunt of cross border firing in J&K.


  • 10% reservation for economically weaker sections made applicable in J&K also.
  • Benefit of promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which include Gujjars and Bakarwals amongst others, has also been made applicable to the State of J&K.
  • After a long wait of 24 years, the 77th Constitution Amendment of 1995 has now been applied to the State of J&K.

Why such move?

  • The reservation benefits under the 2004 act are not extended to the persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border.
  • Due to continuous cross border tensions, persons living alongside International Border suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness.
  • Shelling from across the border often compels these residents to move to safer places and is adversely impacting their education as Educational Institutions remain closed for long periods.
  • Hence, it was felt justifiable to extend the reservation benefits to persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border on the similar lines of the persons living in areas adjoining Actual Line of Control (ALoC).
Feb, 09, 2019

Govt. grants divisional status to Ladakh


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Development processes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ladakh Admin Division

Mains level: Decentralization of administrative control


  • Jammu and Kashmir Governor has granted Ladakh a divisional status, thus creating three administrative units of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh in the State.

The Ladakh Division

  1. The J&K government has approved the creation of a separate administrative and revenue division for Ladakh.
  2. It will comprise Leh and Kargil districts, with headquarters at Leh.
  3. Earlier, Ladakh was a part of the Kashmir division.
  4. Ladakh will now get its own Divisional Commissioner and Inspector General of Police.
  5. Ladakh’s Kargil and Leh districts already have separate hill development councils for local administrative powers.
  6. The move leaves the Kashmir valley geographically the smallest division at 15,948 sq. km, Jammu division at 26,293 sq. km and Ladakh, the biggest division, at 86,909 sq. km.

Why such move?

  1. The remoteness and inaccessibility of the area makes it eligible for establishing a separate division.
  2. During the winter months, the entire Ladakh region remains cut-off from the rest of the country for almost six months.
  3. A section in Leh also has been demanding Union Territory status.
Feb, 04, 2019

[pib] Ladakh now connected to National Grid


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: About the transmission line

Mains level: Electrification in the remotest areas


  • The PM has dedicated the 220 kV Srinagar- Alusteng – Drass- Kargil – Leh Transmission System to the Nation.

Srinagar- Alusteng – Drass- Kargil – Leh Transmission Line

  1. Built at a height of around 3000-4000 meters, this approx. 335 km long transmission line has been constructed by POWERGRID.
  2. In this project has Gas Insulated Sub-stations built at Drass, Kargil, Khaltsi and Leh will help to ensure 24×7 quality power in all weather conditions.
  3. Funding provisions have been in the ratio of 95:05 (95% Govt. of India share and 5% J&K state share).

Benefits to the region

  1. The implementation of this project was aimed to supply power to the people of Ladakh in harsh winters and evacuation of surplus power of Kargil & Leh Hydel stations of NHPC in summers.
  2. This will not only help evacuate power in summers, but will also supply power to the region in winters when temperatures dip and hydro electricity generation do not match up.
  3. With quality electricity available at reasonable rates, hospitality industry in Ladakh will get a boost, as their reliance on diesel sets will reduce.
  4. This will also attract tourists looking for affordable stay in all weathers.
Jan, 24, 2019

SC to take ‘in-chamber’ decision on pleas against Article 35A


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Article 35A

Mains level: Governance challenges in J&K


  • The Supreme Court has said that it will be taking an “in-chamber” decision on the listing of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35-A, which provides special rights and privileges to permanent residents of J&K.

When dialogues fail

  1. In August last year, the court indicated that it would consider the question of whether Article 35A was violative of the Basic Structure of the Constitution.
  2. However, at that time, the Centre and J&K government had sought an adjournment on the ground that an interlocutor was carrying on dialogues with the State’s stakeholders.


  1. The special status was bestowed on J&K by incorporating Article 35A in the Constitution.
  2. Article 35A was incorporated by an order of President Rajendra Prasad in 1954 on the advice of the Nehru Cabinet.
  3. Parliament was not consulted when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Constitution through a Presidential Order issued under Article 370.
  4. Article 368 (i) of the Constitution mandates that only the Parliament can amend the Constitution by introducing a new article.

Art. 35A

  1. Article 35A gives the J&K State Legislature a carte blanche to decide the ‘permanent residents’ of the State and grant them special rights and privileges in State public sector jobs, acquisition of property within the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare programmes.
  2. The provision mandates that no act of the State legislature coming under the ambit of Article 35A can be challenged for violating the Indian Constitution or any other law of the land.

What’s so problematic with it?

  1. It is argued that four representatives from Kashmir were part of the Constituent Assembly involved in the drafting of the Constitution and the State of J&K was never accorded any special status in the Constitution.
  2. Article 370 was only a ‘temporary provision’ to help bring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and strengthen democracy in that State.
  3. The Constitution makers did not intend Article 370 to be a tool to bring permanent amendments, like Article 35A, in the Constitution.
  4. The petition said Article 35A was against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it created a “class within a class of Indian citizens”.
  5. It said restricting citizens from other States from getting employment or buying property within Jammu and Kashmir is a violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Jan, 07, 2019

[op-ed snap] In 2019, a new Outreach


Mains Paper 3: Security| Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic aspects of Polity, Developmental Schemes for J&K.

Mains level: The newscard discusses issues, related to the J&K, in a brief manner.


  • Given the developing regional geopolitical environment at the end of 2018, the feasibility of any movement towards “meaningful” engagement with Pakistan in 2019 appears remote. This will have the maximum impact on the situation in J&K.
  • The governor’s administration gamely attempts transformational governance without the baggage of politics, what it could be missing out on are the much-needed and oft-demanded initiatives of public outreach.


  • J & K Valley’s prolonged anti-India protest; rising insurgency in Kashmir, intense counter- insurgency operation has caused acute distress in the region. Demand for the political outreach emerged to prevent radicalisation of local youth which is the topmost concern for the Indian security establishment.
  • The political community is largely marginalised in the Valley heartland due to personal security issues and the local administration, despite having some experienced officials, cannot initiate social outreach measures.
  • Operations by security forces have resulted in neutralising a large number of terrorists, mostly local. But, they have created an almost similar number of terrorists through recruitment and infiltration, leaving us in sheer quantified terms, where we began in 2018.
  • There can be little doubt that the stabilisation of the security situation is necessary for the emergence of initiatives in political, social and economic spheres.
  • Prime Minister mentioned in his Independence Day declaration that ‘Neither by bullet nor by abuses but only by an embrace we can solve the problem of Kashmir’.
  • While the army’s Operation Sadbhavna (a military civic action initiative of 20 years) has helped in extending marginal outreach, the lack of mass engagement has prevented the development of any perception change and the creation of alternative narratives to counter the propaganda from Pakistan and the separatists.
  • The army’s initiatives are personality and formation based; the J&K Police is far too embroiled in policing issues. The CRPF, deployed in strength in the urban areas, has been insufficiently used.

What escalated the unrest in J&K?

  1. Radicalisation played a major role, though its impact was felt in other parts of the country as well, as several men were arrested for being inspired by the Islamic State.
  2. Brainwashing via the Internet played a key role.
  3. Poor and Unemployed youth can easily be targeted by radicalists.
  4. It was a concerted effort by some to radicalise the youth to spread violence.
  5. It’s been closely watched and took several steps to ensure that the youth don’t fall for such propaganda.


  1. Isolated efforts by different organisations prevent the emergence of a cogent strategy.
  2. There are four areas in this “outreach strategy” that need refinement and coordination by all stakeholder organisations. The intelligence agencies need to provide their support.

The first involves direct outreach-

  • A model for that exists from 2010-12 when the army successfully undertook the conduct of public meetings or “awami sunwais” in the field in areas where the reach of the administration had become marginal.
  • Local problems that were languishing over time were corrected by officials through direct contact with the people. It gave an opportunity to the leaders and the administrators to listen to the people.
  • A deliberate effort was made to engage with the youth through meetings at universities and schools, something that is difficult to imagine today.
  • The recruiting rallies for different central and state institutions must be exploited for such windows of engagement, as the youth is usually in a different frame of mind while seeking employment opportunities.

The second element is to engage the clergy and, through that route, seek its cooperation in messaging the youth and others on the uniqueness of the Indian system.

  • The clergy has a powerful hold over the public in any Islamic society — to the less informed, this need not necessarily give the perception that it is an unnecessary boost to the position of the clergy that might prove counterproductive later.

The third aspect of the strategy is the exploitation of social media, as much as the countering of online propaganda.

  • Surprisingly, intelligence agencies, the MHA itself and the army’s public information directorate, have all understood the concept but are hesitant to join forces due to lack of trust and the potential loss of individual space.
  • The army’s focused information warfare at the Corps and Command level is simply outstanding, but exists in isolation.
  • The need for 5,000 young civilian “information warriors” under the aegis of a joint organisation under the Unified Command in J&K. It will give the requisite continuity, technology and content support to the campaign.

The fourth, and final domain, is the setting aside of the mutual fears of the people of J&K and bringing the people of Ladakh into this ambit as well.

  • If the people of these regions have to live together as an entity of one state, they need to stop suspecting each other.
  • Through the ambit of the central and other universities in the state, we need to create a platform for the “meeting of minds” from all three regions and from different professions and callings.

Way Forward

  1. Operation All Out will no doubt continue successfully through 2019, but it should become a supporting campaign to the four initiatives outlined above instead of the other way around.
  2. J&K needs a coordinated effort from all stakeholder organizations.
Dec, 14, 2018

[op-ed snap] J&K Resettlement Law


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: J&K resettlement act, article 35A etc.

Mains level: Governance challenges in J&K


  • A challenge to an Act popularly known as the “Jammu & Kashmir resettlement law” has been listed for hearing by a Supreme Court Bench headed by CJI.

What is the Law ?

  1. The J&K Grant of Permit for Resettlement in the State Act, 1982, was passed to “provide for regulation of procedure for grant of permit for resettlement in or permanent return to the State of the permanent residents”
  2. It envisages grant of permit for resettlement of Pakistani nationals who had migrated to Pakistan from Jammu and Kashmir between 1947 and 1954 after India’s partition.
  3. Mass killing of Muslims in Jammu in 1947 and its ramifications are the main reason why the law was introduced.

The controversy

  1. The Bill was introduced in 1980 and became law on October 6, 1982.
  2. But then President Giani Zail Singh had already sent a presidential reference to the Supreme Court seeking its opinion regarding the law’s constitutional validity.

Constitutionality check

  1. Section 6 of the J&K Constitution has a provision for those who were stuck in areas that became Pakistan in 1947.
  2. They can return under a resettlement law enacted by the state legislature.
  3. There is a provision that those who migrated to Pakistan can return under a law of the legislature.

The challenge

  1. The Supreme Court in 2011 refused to intervene on the presidential reference, saying it has already become law
  2. Through this law, we would be inviting trained Pakistani terrorists.
  3. Apart from this, those people on return will reclaim property including agricultural land allotted to refugees from PoK.
  4. This will have severe implications on law and order.

Where parties stand

  1. Within J&K’s major political parties, there is an apprehension that the Governor’s administration would “dilute” the stance of elected state governments that have defended the law in court.
  2. They look at a precedent in the case relating to the challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution, which empowers the J&K legislature to define “permanent residents”.

Top Court’s Observance

  1. The Supreme Court wondered how “descendants” of those who had moved to Pakistan between 1947 and 1954 could be allowed to resettle.
  2. CJI said “How can it be extended to wives and other persons? It can only be such persons who had migrated. The Constitution does not contemplate return of those descendants.”
  3. If descendants of those who had migrated are allowed to return, “Several lakhs of those born in Pakistan will be able to come to India and this will affect the security of the country”.
  4. Citizenship is a subject in the Union list and hence outside the legislative competence of the state legislature.
Dec, 03, 2018

Explained: J&K Roshni Act


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Roshni Act

Mains level: Governance challenges in J&K


  • The State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by J&K Governor has repealed the J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, popularly known as the Roshni Act.
  • This was so because it failed to realize the desired objectives and there were also reports of misuse of some its provisions.

What was mandated in the Act?

  1. The Roshni Act envisaged the transfer of ownership rights of state land to its occupants, subject to the payment of a cost, as determined by the government.
  2. It set 1990 as the cutoff for encroachment on state land.
  3. The government’s target was to earn Rs 25,000 crore by transferring 20 lakh kanals (one-eighth of an acre) of state land to existing occupants against payment at market rates.
  4. The government said the revenue generated would be spent on commissioning hydroelectric power projects, hence the name “Roshni”.


  1. In 2005 the government relaxed the cutoff year to 2004.
  2. Subsequently with new govt coming to power the cutoff was relaxed further to 2007.
  3. The government also gave ownership rights of agricultural land to farmers occupying it for free, charging them only Rs 100 per kanal as documentation fee.

Allegations and Controversies

  1. Investigations into the land transfers subsequently found that land in Gulmarg had been given over to ineligible beneficiaries.
  2. However several government officials illegally possessed and vested ownership of state land to occupants who did not satisfy criteria under the Roshni Act.
  3. A report by the CAG estimated that against the targeted Rs 25,000 crore, only Rs 76 crore had been realized from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013, thus defeating the purpose of the legislation.
  4. The report blamed irregularities including arbitrary reduction in prices fixed by a standing committee, and said this was done to benefit politicians and affluent people.
  5. In November 2018, the High Court restrained all beneficiaries of the Roshni scheme from selling or carrying out any other transaction in respect of the land transferred to them.

War over Demography

  1. The decision to repeal the Roshni Act came after demands from a hardline religious group approached the High Court seeking court-monitored investigations into the transfer of land under the Act.
  2. The group assumed it as jihadi war in the form of demographic invasion of Jammu. This led to a social and economic boycott of the Gujjars and Bakerwals.
  3. This was the same group who supported the accused in the gangrape and murder of the 8-year-old Bakerwal girl in January
  4. The Gujjar and Bakerwal groups in Jammu have been upset with the repeal of the Act.
  5. They have said that while the rich and influential managed to grab the benefits, their applications had remained pending.
Aug, 24, 2018

[op-ed snap] Should Article 35A be scrapped?


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Article 35A

Mains level: Issues related to special status given to J&K under the Constitution


The debate over Article 35A

  1. Article 35A of the Constitution is now being vigorously contested with its constitutional validity being challenged before the Supreme Court
  2. Article 35A is often missed out as it does not find a mention in the regular sequential text of the Constitution and is reflected only in an Appendix of the Constitution

Origins of Article 35A

  1. Article 35A was born through a Presidential Order, the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order of 1954
  2.  Therefore, it was added to the Constitution without undergoing the procedure for constitutional amendments as laid down in Article 368
  3. The Presidential Order was issued in exercise of the power conferred under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution
  4. Whether such power also extends to inserting a new Article in the Constitution is contentious

What powers does Article 35A give?

  1. Article 35A declares that any law enacted by the J&K State Legislature on the issues of permanent residence, or special privileges and rights, or imposition of restrictions, or employment, acquisition of immovable property and settlement in the State, or aid from the State government shall not be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with any rights conferred on other citizens of India
  2. This means that such laws granting special rights to permanent residents would not be deemed a violation of the fundamental rights of other citizens

What does this lead to?

  1. Article 35A treats non-permanent residents of J&K as ‘second-class’ citizens
  2. Such persons are not eligible for employment under the State government and are also debarred from contesting elections
  3. Meritorious students are denied scholarships and they cannot even seek redress in any court of law
  4. The major sufferers are women who marry outside J&K. Though they retain their Permanent Resident Certificate, their children cannot be permanent residents which restricts their basic right of inheritance
  5. The refugees who migrated to J&K during Partition are still not treated as ‘State subjects’ under the J&K Constitution

What should be done?

  1. It is necessary to give confidence to the residents of J&K that any alteration in status quo will not take away their rights but will boost J&K’s prosperity as it will open doors for more investment, resulting in new opportunities 
  2. Article 35A, which was incorporated about six decades ago, now requires a relook, especially given that J&K is now a well-established democratic State

Way Forward

  1. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee firmly believed that the issues relating to J&K could be resolved following the principles of insaniyat (humanity), jamhooriyat (democracy) and Kashmiriyat (Kashmiri values)
  2. Hopefully, this issue will be resolved using the same principles
Aug, 10, 2018

[op-ed snap] Perils of historical amnesia: on Article 35A


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Article 35A

Mains level: Special status being enjoyed by J&K and efforts to remove it


Article 35A challenged in Supreme Court

  1. The controversial Article 35A of the Constitution is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court
  2. Its critics have argued that the Article affords Jammu and Kashmir undue powers, particularly by preventing non-State residents to own land in the State
  3. In reality, the fundamental purpose of Article 35A was the exact opposite: instead of giving the state a “special status”, it was designed to take autonomy away from it

History of Article 35A

  1. The Article was introduced in May 1954 as part of a larger Presidential Order package, which made several additions to the Constitution (not just Article 35A)
  2. The overall gist of this Order was to give the Government of India enormously more powers over the State than it had enjoyed before
  3. For the first time, India’s fundamental rights and directive principles were applicable to Jammu and Kashmir and the State’s finances were integrated with India
  4. The Order also extended the Indian Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over certain aspects of Jammu and Kashmir

Delhi Agreement

  1. In 1952, after the international clamour for an immediate plebiscite had somewhat subsided, Jawaharlal Nehru invited Sheikh Abdullah (then PM of Kashmir) to discuss how India and Jammu and Kashmir could be more closely integrated
  2. The result was the 1952 Delhi Agreement but it could not come into force

J&K is less autonomous than before

  1. It took 70 years for successive governments to steadily chip away at Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy to bring it to today when the only meaningful “special status” that it enjoys is Article 35A
  2. Almost all of State’s other autonomous powers have been subsumed by New Delhi
  3. Abolition of Article 35A should be seen as part of this larger decades-long process of the State’s integration into India, sometimes through legal means and sometimes through outright fiat

Way Forward

  1. The whole project of federal nation-building requires constant negotiation between the nation-state and its components
  2. Such efforts need to have an underpinning of at least some kind of transparent democratic process
  3. If Article 35A is to be removed, it must be removed as an expression of the will of the people, through a political process which includes the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the discussion
Jun, 06, 2018

Centre not to file counter-affidavit on Article 35A


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Article 35A, Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition

Mains level: Special status to J&K and associated issues


Status quo on Article 35A

  1. The Centre has decided not to file any “counter-affidavit” on Article 35A, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition
  2. According to it, this case is a matter of interpretation of the law and the Supreme Court should decide on it

About Article 35A

  1. Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to decide the “permanent residents” of the State, prohibits a non-State resident from buying property in the State and ensures reservation in employment for residents
  2. It grants a special status to Jammu and Kashmir

Background of Article 35A

  1. This particular provision was included in the Constitution by a Presidential Order
  2. It was incorporated into the Constitution by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet in 1954
  3. The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement between Nehru and the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah, which extended Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir
Apr, 04, 2018

Article 370 not a temporary provision, says Supreme Court


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Article 370 & 35A of the Constitution

Mains level: Issues related to the special status of J&K


Clearing air on Article 370

  1. The Supreme Court has said that Article 370 of the Constitution which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir is not a temporary provision
  2. The apex court said that in its earlier verdict of 2017 in the SARFAESI case, it has been already held that Article 370 was “not a temporary provision”
  3. Article 370 of the Indian constitution is an article that gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir
  4. The article is drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution: Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions

Article 35A also in question

  1. Other matters pending before the apex court relate to Article 35 A of the Constitution
  2. Article 35A of the Indian Constitution is an article that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents
Oct, 30, 2017

[op-ed snap] Dialogue as diversion

Image Source


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims Level: Not much

Mains level: The internal security issues related to the State of Jammu kashmir are always a part of discussion. Also, these topics are specially mentioned in the Mains syllabus.



  1. The article talks about the current situation of Jammu and Kashmir, and the recent decision of appointing an interlocutor for solving the Kashmir issue

Current issues related to the state of Jammu and Kashmir

  1. The use of brutal force to suppress the agitation by Kashmiris has aggravated the law and order situation the state
  2. Lapses in intelligence information about the separatists’ activities have not helped

Government’s new plan of tackling intelligence issues in the state

  1. Centre has appointed Dineshwar Sharma to plug the loopholes in gathering, analysing and disseminating intelligence information
  2. Why it is needed: There is a lack of quality information on the activities of the militants and encounters between the security forces and militants have remained alarmingly high since Burhan Wani was eliminated

Consequences of bad intelligence inputs

  1. In spite of the heavy deployment of security forces, the state does not seem prepared to contain insurgency and militancy
  2. People have suffered grievous losses mainly because security forces and political administrators have not been able to use intelligence inputs to their advantage

Expectations from Dineshwar Sharma

  1. Dineshwar Sharma’s selection as interlocutor is meant to shore up intelligence gathering so that militancy can be effectively suppressed
  2. The expectations created by Sharma’s appointment are unduly high
  3. Sharma has no experience in dispute resolution and there is clearly a mismatch between his professional expertise and the task that he has been assigned

Is government on the wrong path?

  1. The appointment of a police officer shows that the government still views the Kashmir dispute through the prism of national security and intelligence
  2. The fact is that the problem can only be solved politically
  3. This has been admitted by army chiefs and other security experts who have worked in Jammu and Kashmir

Development and employment issues in the state

  1. There is growing discontent among the Kashmiri youth
  2. At least 42 per cent of them are unemployed
  3. There has been no improvement in the education and employment situation in the state
  4. The central schemes for the youth in Jammu and Kashmir, namely the PM’s scholarships for poor students from the state and the Udaan scheme for generating employment have not been implemented in letter and spirit

No act on recommendations given by the interlocutors in the past

  1.  The UPA and NDA governments did not act upon the recommendations of the interlocutors and other committees constituted by the Centre
  2. This points to a lack of sincerity on the part of the political dispensation at the Centre to resolve the issue

The way forward

  1. The Congress and the BJP have often come together to evolve a consensus on vital issues
  2. The resolution of border disputes with Bangladesh by exchanging enclaves is an example
  3. Therefore, that the Indian establishment can resolve the Kashmir dispute provided it pursues the goal earnestly
Aug, 11, 2017

[op-ed snap] Do not touch

Image result for Article 35A

Image source


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Once you are done reading this op-ed, you will be able to attempt the below.

“Move to re-open debate on Article 35A is unwise — loose talk on J&K’s special status will only deepen distrust.” Critically analyse?

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Article 370, Article 35A

Mains level: India’s policy on Kashmir.



  • The government’s reply last month to the Supreme Court, saying that the questions raised in a petition challenging Article 35A require a larger debate

What is Article 35A?

  1. It was added by a 1954 presidential order issued under Article 370, the constitutional provision that mediates the relationship between the Union of India and Kashmir
  2. Article 35A empowers the state legislative assembly to specify permanent residents.

Who is permanent resident?

  • The 1956 J&K Constitution defines a Permanent Resident as one who, apart from being an Indian citizen, was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or a resident of the state for 10 years, and owns immovable property in the state. 


  1. Government’s new legal pro-activism against Articles 35A or 370 will lead to more alienation in the Valley.
  2. In the Valley, the government’s reply on 35A is being seen as paving the way for moves to do away with Article 370 that excludes J&K from most laws enacted by Parliament, except through presidential orders that have the concurrence of the J&K Legislative Assembly
  3. Court has also asked the Centre to respond to a petition challenging Article 370.
  4. All this has served to strengthen suspicions that the Centre is using the legal route to bring about the changes that it wants


Article 370

  1. Under the Part XXI of the Constitutionof India, which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions”, Article 370 is a temporary provision granting special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Article 370 specifies that except for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Communications the Indian Parliament needs the State Government’s concurrence for applying all other laws
  3. The Jurisdiction of the Parliament of India in relation to Jammu and Kashmir is confined to the matters enumerated in the Union List, and also the concurrent listThere is no State list for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  4. At the same time, while in relation to the other States, the residuary powerof legislation belongs to Parliament, in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the residuary powers belong to the Legislature of the State,except certain matters to which Parliament has exclusive powers such as preventing the activities relating to cession or secession, or disrupting the sovereignty or integrity of India.
  5. No preventive detention law made in India extends to Jammu & Kashmir.
Jul, 31, 2017

J&K violence dents economy, over 5% dip in credit growth in 9 Valley districts

Image Source


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: Particulars of Credit growth and its related concept

Mains Level: Article is important because it shows the effects of extremism and terrorism on the state of Jammu and Kashmir Economy.


Dented economic activity in Kashmir

  1. The unrest going on in Kashmir from last year, severely effected economic activity and credit growth across nine districts in the Valley
  2. According to data available with Reserve Bank of India, the credit growth across these districts fell below 5 per cent for the quarter ended March 2017
  3. Bankers say that biggest decline in economic activity on account of the unrest has been in districts such as Srinagar, Shopian, Anantnag, Pulwama and Kulgam

Increased NPA in the economy of Jammu and Kashmir

  1. On account of weak sentiment and lack of confidence among customers and banks, state has also witnessed a rise in bank NPAs over the last three years

Why is Credit growth important?

  1. High credit growth shows that individuals have a higher propensity to borrow and spend, and reflects the tendency of businesses to borrow and invest
Nov, 16, 2016

Life in Kashmir limping back to normalcy

  1. Normal activities are resuming with the Class 10 and 12 annual board exams starting
  2. The separatists have been issuing weekly programme of protests and strike. Schools had been shut due to violence
  3. The increased movement of transport and people gave a semblance of normalcy in the Valley
  4. People hurt: As many as 85 people, including two police men, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley
  5. Around 5,000 security forces personnel have also been injured in the clashes
Nov, 02, 2016

[op-ed snap] School life disrupted in Kashmir Valley

  1. Context: It is almost four months since unrest began in the Valley owing to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen ‘commander’ Burhan Wani
  2. Amidst the violence and curfew, 27 schools, mostly government run, have supposedly been set on fire
  3. Further discourse: Government plans to conduct State Board examinations in November
  4. Why disrupting schools: Disrupting the school calendar is one of the oldest tricks in the insurgents’ playbook. It sends out the signal that the administration is not in full control
  5. It heightens anxiety among the local population that their children’s life chances are doubtful, thereby reinforcing popular disaffection and alienation
  6. The occasional occupation of school buildings by the security forces makes them a symbol of the state, and a soft target for militants
  7. Steps to be taken: Government assurance of adequate security
  8. Abandoning the practice of using schools to solve logistical problems
  9. Isn’t it high time that an urgent plan is chalked out to return normalcy to the State?
Nov, 01, 2016

Court asks J&K govt. to protect schools

  1. Who: J&K HC came down heavily on the authorities for “failing to safeguard school infrastructure” in Kashmir
  2. Why: Taking suo motu cognisance of the mysterious burning of 27 schools
  3. Normal life has been affected in Kashmir for 115 days now
Oct, 26, 2016

Delhi team touches base with separatists

  1. Who: A five-member group led by former Union Minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha
  2. Purpose: The group held meetings with seperatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
  3. Previously: The seperatists had refused an audience to the visiting all-party parliamentarian delegation in September
Sep, 15, 2016

National security best left to Govt, Army: SC

  1. What? Supreme Court refused to entertain a petition to direct the government to stop funding separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Why? Centre and the Army are the best judges to decide on matters of national security and threat perceptions
  3. A stern message to courts: Such PIL petitions should neither be entertained nor encouraged
  4. The grant of funds to Jammu and Kashmir for purposes of security or otherwise is within the exclusive domain of the Central government
Sep, 14, 2016

Kashmir violence: Army begins operation 'Calm Down'

  1. Context: The continuing turbulence in the Valley
  2. What? The Army has quietly moved an entire brigade into South Kashmir as part of operation ‘Calm Down’ to clear it of militants and protesters
  3. Nearly 4,000 additional troops have been pressed into service to restore normalcy, but with clear instructions to use minimum force
  4. Why? Intelligence reports of a virtual ‘Jungle Raj’ prevailing in the area
  5. Militants and their sympathisers are calling the shots, holding protests and blocking arterial roads
  6. The troops, mobilised from reserves have fanned out in all the four districts of South Kashmir — Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam
  7. These districts have borne the brunt of the current spiral of violence in the Valley triggered by the encounter killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani
Aug, 30, 2016

Govt. to regulate pellet gun usage

  1. News: Govt is not in favour of completely withdrawing the use of pellet guns in the Kashmir valley, their use will be regulated instead
  2. Context: Expert committee headed by T.V.S.N Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), constituted to look into the alternatives to pellet guns, has been submitted report
  3. Background: More than 400 people have been injured due to pellet guns to control the violence which erupted after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter on July 8
  4. CRPF has been deployed in the valley to assist the state police for crowd-control
  5. CRPF informed the Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently that it had fired 1.3 million pellets from pump action guns from July 8-August 11
  6. Govt is facing severe criticism for using the pellet guns and several political parties have asked for its complete withdrawal
Aug, 23, 2016

SC pitches for a political solution in Kashmir

  1. SC: The judiciary has its limits & a political solution across party lines might probably bring peace to Kashmir
  2. Context: street clashes between security forces and mobs and curfew continuing to choke normality in Kashmir
  3. Right direction: Opposition parties’ talks with the Centre offer more chances of reaching a well-rounded solution than court hearings did
Aug, 17, 2016

J&K Resettlement Act: a brief background- II

  1. Validity challenged: In 1982, the Act was first challenged before SC and then Governor B.K. Nehru had refused to sign the Bill and sent it back to the Assembly
  2. Later Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then President of newly constituted BJP, had also filed a petition before the apex court seeking intervention
  3. The matter was considered by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 2001 on a presidential reference
  4. The apex court returned the reference back to President with a three-word pronouncement- ‘Returned, respectfully, unanswered’
Aug, 17, 2016

J&K Resettlement Act: a brief background- I

  1. It envisages grant of permit for resettlement of Pakistani nationals who had migrated to Pakistan from Jammu and Kashmir between 1947 and 1954 after India’s partition
  2. Criticisms: People of Jammu and Kashmir who migrated to Pakistan from 1947 could be considered for their return but their descendants could not be.
  3. The law is considered as draconian, unconstitutional and improper which threatened the security of the State
Aug, 17, 2016

J&K resettlement law: SC hints referring it to larger Bench

  1. News: SC may refer to a Constitution Bench a plea challenging the validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act if it finds that some issues needed interpretation of the Constitution
  2. Earlier: In 2008, a Bench hearing the matter had referred it to a five-judge Constitution Bench
  3. But the Chief Justice in the same year had over-ruled the decision and ordered the matter to be listed before a three-judge Bench
Aug, 15, 2016

SC on dissent in Kashmir

  1. SC: A distinguishing feature of any democracy is the space offered for legitimate dissent
  2. One cherished and valuable aspect of political life in India is a tradition to express grievances through direct action or peaceful protest
  3. Organised, non-violent protest marches were a key weapon in the struggle for Independence
  4. Background: The judgment was based on a petition filed by several activists, alleging that they were brutalised by the State Police when their protest espousing the case of Jammu migrants led to a clash with the police in 2007
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