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PDP-Congress coalition government 2002: The Common Minimum Programme

Sonia Gandhi names Mufti Sayeed as Chief Minister of PDP-Congress coalition, as Ghulam Nabi Azad looks on. New Delhi, October 26, 2002

Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly elections of 2002 threw a hung verdict. Though the ruling National Conference lost elections but it emerged as single largest party with 28 seats. In the House of 87, 44 seats were required to form the government. National Conference decided to sit in opposition. The Congress had bagged 20 seats while five Independent members also pledged their allegiance to it. Smallest of all players, the Peoples Democratic Party, formed in 1999 and facing first ever Assembly elections, expressed interest in an alliance with the Congress but put condition of leading the coalition under Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as Chief Minister. Intense negotiations continued for two between in Srinagar and New Delhi. Finally, on October 26, 2002, Sonia Gandhi announced Congress party’s decision of forming coalition with Peoples Democratic Party under rotational arrangement of three years each. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the president and founder of the PDP, was to lead the coalition for first three years. The two parties arrived at a Common Minimum Programme of governance.

Following is the full text of the document

Objectives:

1: The Goal of the Coalition Government is to heal the physical, psychological and emotional wounds inflicted by fourteen years of militancy, to restore the rule of law in Jammu & Kashmir State, to complete the revival of the political process which was begun by the recently concluded elections, and to request the Government of India to initiate and hold, sincerely and seriously, wide ranging consultations and dialogue, without conditions, with the members of the legislature and other segments of public opinion in all the three regions of the State, to evolve a broad-based consensus on restoration of peace with honour in the State.

2: Ensuring safety of lives and properties, restoring dignity and honour of all persons in the State will be the foremost concern of the Government. The Coalition Government will take all possible measures within its power, to protect all the people in the State of Jammu and Kashmir from violence and militancy, whether originating from within or outside the State, and to encourage those youngmen from the State who have resorted to militancy to return to their families and the mainstream, with the belief that they will receive security and justice according to law. At the same time, the State Government will fully cooperate with the Government of India in combating cross-border militancy originating from Pakistan.

Restoring Peace and Normalcy and Curbing Corruption:

1: The Government shall review all cases of detainees being held without trial for long periods. It shall release all detainees held on non-specific charges, those not charged with serious crimes and those who have been held on charges that are such that the period they have spent in jail exceeds their possible sentence.
2: The Government shall review the operation of all such laws that have been used in the past decade to deprive people of their basic rights to life and liberty for long periods of time, without due legal process. Where the Government deems that some special powers need to be retained, it will ensure, by instituting careful and transparent pre-screening and monitoring procedures, that such powers are used sparingly and those entrusted with them are held accountable for any misuse.
3: All cases of custodial killings and violations of Human Rights shall be investigated and persons responsible for them will be identified and punished appropriately.
4: The Government shall strengthen the State Human Rights Commission to make it an effective instrument for addressing the grievances of the people of the State.
5: The Government shall formulate a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation package for those families affected by militant violence over the past decade. The ex-gratia relief at Rupees one lakh per deceased person in militant violence will be raised to Rs. 2 lakhs. In recruitment to Government posts, preference will be given to one member of each family where an innocent member has been killed in the militancy related violence.
6: The Government shall implement special schemes to rehabilitate former militants who have forsworn violence and rejoined the mainstream.
7: The Government will reach out to the children, widows and parents of the deceased militants and make endeavours to provide education to the militancy-affected orphans.
8: The Government reaffirms that the return of Kashmiri Pandits to their motherland is an essential ingredient of Kashmiriat. The Government will seek the cooperation of all elements in the society to create an atmosphere conducive to their safe return, will take all necessary steps to ensure their safety and devise effective -measures for their rehabilitation and employment.
9: The Government will approach the Government of India for providing adequate financial assistance for the relief and rehabilitation of the migrants from various disturbed areas of Jammu and Ladakh as well.
Persons living close to the line of control and the international border face special difficulties due to recurrent tension and cross border violence. Permanent shelters will be constructed in all vulnerable areas to prevent loss of life. The Government will also devise a scheme to provide, wherever feasible, alternative land to such families in safe zones.
10: The Government shall pursue the matter of due compensation to those people from the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir who have suffered loss of crop and cattle due to security operations near LOC and the International border.
12: The Government shall give top priority to ridding the State administration of corruption and nepotism, especially in the award of Government jobs and contracts and places in institutions of higher learning. It will endeavour to make the selection process to all those positions and institutions fully transparent.
13: The Government shall establish an institution or “Ehtisab’ for enquiring into complaints received against Chief Minister/Ministers and MLAs. The appointment to this post shall be made by the Chief Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice of the State High Court and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
14: A Commission will be setup to make recommendations for reform of the Police Administration to make it a more effective and humane instrument for investigation of crimes and for enforcement of law and order. The Government will ensure that the personnel in Special Operation Group (SOG) are assimilated/relocated within the regular police establishment.
15: The Coalition Government considers that there are enough laws in existence to deal with militancy. Therefore, it will not implement POTA in the State.

Employment Oriented Development Strategy:

 

1: Our Government shall make sincere efforts to ensure that all the three regions of the State – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh receive an equitable share of resources available for development. It shall set up a State Finance Commission with a statutory status for this purpose and. the effort will be to ensure that the backlog of development and employment at the regional and district levels is made good within a specified time frame.
2: The Government shall press upon the Government of India for the inclusion of Dogri in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
3: The Government shall grant full powers to the Autonomous Hill Council for Leh, which has hitherto been deprived of its legitimate powers. Efforts will be made to persuade the people of Kargil to accept a similar Autonomous Hill Council for Kargil. The Government will press upon the Government of India to connect the Kargil airport to Jammu, Srinagar and Delhi.
4: Our Government will give top priority to the preparation of an employment oriented medium term development plan laying particular emphasis on the development of agriculture, horticulture, handicrafts, tourism, information technology, food processing and environment friendly industrial activities. Efforts will be made to evolve a development strategy, which provides at least one productive job per family.
5: Employment and welfare of the youth will receive special attention. Measures will be taken to help those youth who have fallen victim to drug abuse and narcotics due to frustration and unemployment.
6: High priority will be given to the development of power resources of the State and to extend the benefit of electricity to all villages of the State. The State Government will ask the Central Government to ensure that the power generation in the State should be available to the maximum extent possible for meeting the needs of the State.
7: Special emphasis will be laid on provision of basic minimum needs such as provision of safe drinking water, sanitation, rural roads, primary health care and elementary education and school buildings.
8: A new scheme will be prepared to universalize access to elementary education for all children. Services of unemployed graduates will be utilized for this purpose.
9: A comprehensive plan for the development of environment friendly tourism in all the three regions of the State will be prepared bringing the hinterland districts on the tourist map of the State. Special measures will be taken to facilitate and protect pilgrim related tourism.
10: Panchayati Raj institutions will be given both functional autonomy and adequate financial support for making them an effective instrument for decentralized development. Early elections will be held wherever they are due.
11: Keeping in view that women have borne the brunt of violence in more ways than one over the past decade, special welfare programmes will be designed for women such as widow pensions, subsistence allowance for women headed households and self-employment schemes for young women.
12: Special emphasis will be laid on promotion of welfare of backward communities including Gujjars, Bakarwals and Gaddis, scheduled castes and tribes. The Government will strive for the extension of scheduled tribes status to the Pahari speaking population of the State.
13: Effective measures will be taken to check unplanned and unauthorized growth of towns and cities. Jammu and Srinagar municipalities will be given the status of corporations to ensure orderly development of all civic facilities. Effective measures will be taken for orderly growth of towns and cities and for provision of basic civic amenities thereof.
14: All the three regions of the State have got religious minorities, which face special problems. The Government shall give full protection to the minorities and safeguard their rights. A Minority Commission will be constituted to look after the interests of minority communities.

 

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