Rajnath, Sitharaman’s tours as part of outreach in pipeline
HM to review Govt working, security scenario
JAMMU, Oct 5: Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir from October 23-25 close to end of Union Government’s mega Public Outreach Programme by 70 Central Ministers and there were reports that two more senior Ministers, whose names didn’t figure in the itinerary of visiting Ministers released so far, might also tour the Union Territory by the end of this month.
A total of 70 Central Ministers are expected to visit Jammu and Kashmir during the ongoing eight-week long Public Outreach Programme-II and tour schedule of 66 of them has been released so far. Click here to watch video
The schedule didn’t contain the names of senior Ministers like Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and few others.
However, sources told the Excelsior that Shah is now expected to join the Public Outreach Programme in Jammu and Kashmir from October 23-25.
While his tour schedule is yet to be released, he is expected to spend first two days of his visit in the Kashmir Valley and last day in the Jammu region. He is likely to visit some remote areas of South Kashmir.
This will be Shah’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of special status of erstwhile State and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. However, he has regularly been holding meetings with MHA officials, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and senior officials of Jammu and Kashmir administration in New Delhi.
“Shah is also likely to meet top brass of security agencies and review law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir with them,” sources said.
He will review functioning of the Jammu and Kashmir Government and projects undertaken in the Union Territory, both under Centrally Sponsored Schemes and local funding.
However, there is still uncertainty over three more big names in the Union Council of Ministry as to whether they will become part of Public Outreach Programme-II or not. They hadn’t been part of the Public Outreach-I also which was undertaken by the Central Government in January 2020. They include Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Sources said efforts are on to finalize tours of Rajnath and Sitharaman to Jammu and Kashmir while the visit of Jaishankar seems unlikely as part of Public Outreach Programme-II.
However, rest all Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State have been visiting Jammu and Kashmir since September 9 and the tours will continue till the end of October.
As per the sources, the Ministers on their return to New Delhi after visiting different parts of the Union Territory will submit their reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office just like 2020. The MHA and PMO had then forwarded issues raised by the people and pointed out by the Union Ministers in their reports to the Jammu and Kashmir for addressing them.
“Some of the issues which pertained to the Central Ministries were addressed by the Government of India while rest were referred to the J&K Government,” sources said.
Expressing confidence that the Public Outreach Programme-II will also prove successful just like the Outreach Programme-I, they said such tours by the Ministers had also proved highly successful in the North East also resulting into redressal of public grievances to quite an extent.
In 2020, 36 Central Ministers had visited the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir from January 18-24 and toured several far off areas as well. They had submitted their recommendations to the MHA as well as PMO then and issues raised by the people were addressed by the Central and the UT Governments.
The Public Outreach-II was earlier schedule to take place in the months of July and August but was deferred because of the Monsoon session of Parliament followed by 75th Independence Day celebrations.
It may be mentioned here that during past few days, 13 Parliamentary Standing Committees (PSCs) comprising around 300 Members of Parliament (MPs) have visited the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh while around half a dozen more PSCs are on way to the two Union Territories.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla was also on a week-long tour of Ladakh and Kashmir while a number of Ministers have also visited Leh.