Governor, Satya Pal Malik chaired the meeting of the State Administrative Council (SAC) at Raj Bhavan Jammu on Thursday.
Advisors to the Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, and K K Sharma, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to the Governor, Umang Narula were present at the meeting.
The SAC deliberated upon the various proposals submitted by Administrative departments for its consideration and approval.
SAC approves Phase-I of Gulmarg Master Plan-2032
The State Administrative Council (SAC) approved the Gulmarg Master Plan – 2032, Phase-I, with Phase-II of the plan to be completed by end of June 2019.
It is pertinent to mention that in absence of any Master Plan for Gulmarg and its surroundings, its ecological fragile ecosystem had suffered unstructured development, encroachment and conversion of green cover into impervious surfaces.
The Master Plan envisages developing Gulmarg into an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable ace tourist destination. The Master Plan envisages maximizing the contribution of Gulmarg and its surrounds to the State’s economy, preserve its rich natural and cultural heritage, and at the same time provide the best hospitality, excellent value for money and memorable experiences to every visitor, develop Gulmarg as one of the preferred all-weather international tourist destinations, ensuring community participation without compromising on its ecological balance. for all new constructions and reconstructions, the norms as laid down in Master Plan shall strictly be adhered to without any compromise
The main features of the Master Plan Gulmarg-2032 inter-alia include that Tangmarg Area in the vicinity of Gulmarg shall be developed as Satellite-Tourist-Township with a flexible set of Development Control Regulations (DCRs) to attract developers for high-end tourism infrastructure.
This concept is aimed at reducing further footprint of development in Gulmarg which has very limited carrying capacity. A significant part of GDA especially Gulmarg, Khillanmarg, Botapathri and nearby areas included in the territorial jurisdiction of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary/Biosphere reserve etc will not be used for any high built up infrastructure development other than what is proposed in view of ecological constraints and sensitivities involved. Instead, such areas have been proposed for leisure- tourism, eco-tourism, and adventure tourism.
The expansion of existing footprints of tourism infrastructure shall be allowed in accordance with the norms laid down in the Master Plan document, besides it also provides for Facade control/design guidelines along with DCRs which are very important for imageability of the destination.
Bed capacity of Gulmarg has been further supplemented by extra accommodation in the form of the tourist resort in the south-West of Bowl and hutments and Camping sites on the western end of Leopard Valley besides eco-tourism areas as per the proposals contained herein. The Master Plan also envisages the development of tourist resorts in Tangmarg making it the night stay destination and limiting the bed capacity in Gulmarg below its holding capacity.
The Plan envisages designation and development of Botapathri, Khillanmarg and other areas en-route to Botapathri as model ecotourism sites in collaboration with the local communities, Wildlife Department, Forest Department and GD, development of Drung as heritage village with limited tourist activity through the development of guest houses with the urban design features of vernacular architecture and banning of any kind of compound walling in the area, development of Maahayeen, Qazipur, and Ferozpur as model villages with focus on country guest house accommodation and low intensity tourist activities, development of Baba Reshie area as heritage area with facilities for pilgrim tourism besides preserve villages in the region and facilitate the local communities to develop ecotourism and guesthouses.
The Master Plan also envisages biodiversity parks of Kashmir Himalayan Flora in Gulmarg; separate entry and exit points to avoid traffic congestions and Pony Management to arrest horse dung posing a serious problem in the resort as most of it is littered creating an unpleasant landscape.
The preparations of Master Plan-2032 were initiated pursuant to the orders of the Hon’ble High Court in PIL titled Mohammad Rafiq Zargar Vs. State and Others. The preparation of the Master Plan Gulmarg was preceded by Environmental Impact Assessment and GIS mapping of the Gulmarg part of the local area. The Draft Master Plan-2032 prepared by the Town Planning Organization, Kashmir has been extensively examined by the Tourism Department for the last 5 years with Hon’ble High Court closely monitoring its preparation.
The Draft Master Plan was also put in public domain for inviting objections/suggestions. The Tourism department constituted a Committee of Officers to examine the suggestions. Suggestions, as were found to be useful in the context of the development of Gulmarg as an economically, Socially and Ecologically viable tourist spot, were factored in the final Draft Master Plan. Suggestions were received from different stakeholders including Gulmarg Development Authority.
Phase-I shall include the existing limits to the extent possible and phase-II shall cover the remaining areas as per the modified SRO and finalized by June 2019.
While formulating the Draft Master Plan, adequate care has been taken to ensure compliance with all laws, incorporate suggestions as have been received as far as possible and cover forest and other areas, especially wildlife. The Master Plan does not intend to regularise any violation or construction made in contravention to the permission granted earlier or any construction without valid permission.
Govt brings JK Bank under purview of RTI, CVC Guidelines, State Legislature
The State Administrative Council (SAC) approved the proposal for treating the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).
The SAC approved that the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009 shall be applicable to the J&K Bank Ltd like other PSUs besides the Bank shall follow CVC guidelines.
The J&K Bank Ltd shall be accountable to the State Legislature like other State PSUs. The Annual Report of the J&K Bank Ltd shall be placed before the State Legislature through the State Finance Department.
The Finance Department will issue appropriate directions in respect of these to the J&K Bank Ltd for the observance.
The J&K Bank Ltd established in 1938 is the only State Government promoted a bank in the country, with State Government currently having 59.3% shareholding.
As the State is a major shareholder in the J&K Bank Ltd, a need was felt that it should have a character of a PSU which is subject to general supervision and access for enhanced transparency in the transaction of its business to promote public trust.
The purpose of the SAC decision is not to question the day to day activities of the Bank management but a step towards strengthening better corporate governance.
48 posts created for ICPS, Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees
The State Administrative Council (SAC) accorded sanction to the creation of 48 posts in various categories for the Mission Directorate, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), Juvenile Justice Boards/Child Welfare Committees and Selection cum Oversight Committees established for the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act in the State.
The posts include 1 post of Mission Director for the Mission Directorate, 1 post each of Private Secretary, Junior Stenographer and Junior Assistant for the Selection-cum-Oversight Committee and 22 posts of Senior Assistants & 22 posts of Welfare Officers for the 22 Child Welfare Committees.
The provision of staff will strengthen the implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 and also end adhocism in the matter of appointment of Mission Director, ICPS.
ICPS a Centrally Sponsored Scheme is a promoter for the effective and meaningful implementation of Juvenile Justice Act/Rules. The scheme which runs on 90:10 pattern, contemplates an independent arrangement and architecture for the welfare of juveniles and their protection, both for children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
The existing apparatus was insufficient and not aligned to meet the growing challenges encountered by the Social Welfare Department particularly in respect to staffing which is not provided under the ICPS scheme or structure existing in the state which is the institution of Juvenile Justice Board and Welfare Committees formulated under the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Act/Rules.
The Social Welfare Department will outsource or engage on a part-time basis, contingent paid workers for the services of Peons or SafaiKaramchiaries for these units.
SAC approves enactment of J&K Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill-2018
The State Administrative Council (SAC) approved the enactment of the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2018’.
The Jammu and Kashmir Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and full participation) Act, 1998 has been modeled on the pattern of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and full participation) Act, 1995 (Central Act). The Parliament has enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 whereby repealing Act of 1995.
The Bill will address various matters related to PwDs with enhanced effectiveness. It will give leverage to various Centrally Sponsored Schemes/Programmes so as to secure and protect the interest of PwDs besides it will benefit these persons with a slew of interventions encompassing health, rehabilitation, and education.
The Bill envisages an increase in the types of disabilities from existing 7 to 21 categories i.e 14 new types of Disabilities have been incorporated with special provisions for high support needs and benchmark disabilities.
The reservation for the PwDs has been enhanced from 3% to 4%.
There is the provision of guardianship; Grievance redressal mechanism besides provision for insurance cover for employees with disabilities.
The Bill provides for constitution of State Advisory Board on Disability and District Level Committees on Disabilities.
The Bill further provides for the admission of PwDs in educational institutions without discrimination, their vocational training and self-employment and non-discrimination in employment. It also provides for free education of Children with Benchmark Disabilities and identification of posts in the establishments which can be held by respective category of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities and reservation of 4% of total number of vacancies in the cadre strength in each group of posts meant to be filled with Persons with Benchmark Disabilities.
The Bill provides for incentives to employers in the private sector to ensure that at least 5% of their workforce is composed of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities.
The Bill provides for a social audit of all general schemes and programmes involving the PwDs to ensure that schemes and programmes do not have an adverse impact upon the PwDs and the need and requirement of PwDs.
The Bill seeks to provide speedy trial for offences under the Act by the establishment of special courts and also provides for constitution of a State Fund for PwDs.
The new law will not only enhance the Rights and Entitlements of PwDs but also provide an effective mechanism for ensuring their empowerment and positive and meaningful inclusion into the Society.
SAC approves J&K Aadhaar Bill-2018
The State Administrative Council (SAC) approved the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2018’.
The Act provides legal and statutory backing to the use of Aadhaar and would address privacy and security concerns of the residents, who have to use Aadhaar identity created on the basis of their unique biometrics and demographic details, to avail the benefits of various schemes of the Government.
The primary purpose of the Act will be to make sure that biometrics of the residents are used for unique Aadhaar number generation which can further be used for authentication of identity of targeted beneficiaries of various public services and subsidies accruing out of public funds. This in the process will obliterate the chances of leakages and siphoning of public funds.
Under this Act, the Unique Identification Authority shall generate Aadhaar, ensure security, confidentiality of identity information and authentication of records of individuals. The Authority shall also take all the necessary measures to ensure that the information in the possession or control of the Authority, including information stored in the Central Identities Data Repository, is secured and protected against access by the adoption and implementation of appropriate technical and organizational security measures. Like the central act, the State Aadhaar Act restricts data sharing, search and download. This Act rules out the possibility of the surveillance, as well as the possibility to identify people for some collateral purpose.
The Bill takes into consideration the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case titled Justice K. K. Puttaswamy and another V/s Union of India and others. The Bill has been modelled primarily on the Central Act, however, certain provisions have been added to address state-specific issues.
It has been specifically provided in clause (9) of the Bill that Aadhaar number shall not be an evidence of citizenship or domicile or being a permanent resident of the State.
Post of Accounts Officer created in Legal Metrology Department
The State Administrative Council (SAC) accorded sanction to the creation of one post of Accounts Officer in the Pre-Revised Pay Band of Rs 9300-34800 +GP 4800 in the office of Controller, Legal Metrology Department.
With the creation of the post of Accounts Officer, the workload of the Legal Metrology Department will be eased and it will help the organization to have a better interface with the Administrative Department, AGs Office and in running the financial matters.
As the budget allocation of the Legal Meteorology Department has shown manifold increase in the past years, it necessitated the creation of a post of Accounts Officer for dealing with financial matters of the Department smoothly.
SAC approves J&K Right to Information (Amendment) Bill-2018
The State Administrative Council (SAC) approved enactment of the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
The Amendment will facilitate the appointment of State Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioners during the Governor’s Rule or Presidents Rule.
Presently, the position of State Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and State Information Commissioner (IC) are lying vacant in the three-member Commission. The Commission has been facing difficulties in absence of the requisite strength.
SAC approves rationalization of norms for sale of timber in CTSDs to consumers
The State Administrative Council (SAC) approved the proposal of the J&K State Forest Corporation to rationalize the norms for sale of timber in Concessional Timber Sale Depots (CTSDs).
The new norms were approved in pursuance of the recommendations of the Committee constituted under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary for the purpose. The main feature of the rationalized timber sale norms inter-alia includes that the existing practice of classifying timber sale depots into A, B and C zones shall be dispensed with. This concept was relevant earlier in view of no or poor road connectivity and feeble economy which have undergone a sea change now.
The concessions to villagers, whose village boundary lies within three miles (5 kilometers) of the demarcated forest boundary, provided that the forest is not separated by the village by an unfordable stream at its winter level, shall continue to be granted under the Kashmir Forest Notice and Jammu Forest Notice. Similarly, Zamindars residing between 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 kilometers) of demarcated forest boundary shall also get timber as provided in the Kashmir Forest Notice and Jammu Forest Notice, subject to silvicultural availability of trees and capacity of the forest to meet the demand.
The power to revise/ fix the rates for sale of timber shall be delegated to the Steering Committee of the J&K State Forest Corporation headed by the Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, Forest, Environment and Ecology Department, and having PCCF J&K, MD J&K SFC, CCF Kashmir, and Director Finance J&K SFC as its members. The Steering Committee shall revise the sale rates of timber annually based on the average auction rates of the previous year.
Timber shall be supplied at the average auction rates of the previous year less by 50 % for BPL consumers and less by 15 percent for non-BPL consumers. For the purpose of determining eligibility under the BPL category, the records maintained by the Department of Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs shall be relied upon.
The Steering Committee of J&K State Forest Corporation shall also fix the overall proportion of timber, species-wise, to be allocated to CTSDs and auction sale depots of SFC for maintaining a balance between the two sources of revenue.
Subject to timber availability, consumers may be provided timber once in 10 years to the maximum of 200 cft for new house construction. For repair of house up to 50 cft timber may be supplied in one instance, with a limit of 150 cft in 5 years. The principle of first come first served shall be strictly adhered to while supplying timber to consumers. The J&K SFC shall develop a web-based application for online registration of consumers and grant of sanctions.
SAC approves the establishment of Poultry, Hatchery project at Nagrota
The State Administrative Council (SAC) accorded approval to the construction of Poultry farm and Hatchery unit at Nagrota Jammu at a cost of Rs 26.27 Crore. The project will be funded under NABARD.
The farm shall have a poultry rearing space of 10,000 birds and poultry hatchery shall produce 10 Lakh Day Old Chicks, which shall be distributed among the farmers and shall play an important role in generating rural livelihood and also serve as a source of protein supplementation for the common people.