An amendment to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha today by voice vote.
The amendment seeks to merge J&K’s cadre of Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS) and Indian Forest Services with that of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT).
This bill was introduced in the Upper House on Thursday, February 4th by Minister of Home Affairs, G. Kishan Reddy. It aims to replace the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021.
Citing the reasons for providing, “uniformity in the governance of all Union Territories” and to, “enhance their efficiency” this bill will amend Section 88 of the 2019 Act and unify the pool of All India Services personnel of Jammu and Kashmir with that of the AGMUT.
Furthermore, the bill provides for an additional amendment to Section 13 of the existing Act which entailed making the provisions contained in article 239 A, which are applicable to Puducherry, applicable to Jammu and Kashmir as well. To that end, the amendment adds, “or any other article containing reference to elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the State.” after the words, “article 239 A” in the Act.
This move seems to be further cementing Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Territory despite a statement made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Avinash Rai Khanna to The Print in August 2020 which reiterated that, “Statehood for Jammu and Kashmir is a commitment that the BJP government has made,” noting that the party will fulfill that commitment when “the situation becomes better.”
The Rajya Sabha session in which this amendment was done, also featured Reddy listing various development goals for Jammu and Kashmir. These included train connectivity, 100% electricity for households and 100% piped water connectivity by 2022. He also detailed the plan for constructing 5,800 Kilometres of road by 2021 and to engage in, “continuous recruiting” of local youths to curb fast-growing unemployment in the region.