Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held after completion of the ongoing delimitation process and statehood will be restored once situation in the union territory becomes normal, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday.
Virtually releasing India's first "District Good Governance Index", he said Jammu and Kashmir is a priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and multipronged efforts are being made for the all round development of the union territory.
"As far as the democratic process is concerned, the delimitation process has started. After its completion, we will hold the (assembly) elections.
"Some people have said many things, but I want to tell you that I had given assurance in Parliament that the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir will be restored. Once situation in Jammu and Kashmir becomes normal, the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir will be restored," he said.
Shah said some people want to create confusion in the minds of the people of the valley and he wants to request everyone not to fall into their trap.
He said democracy has reached the lowest level of the society after implementation of the panchayati raj system and that is why some people are worried.
He said Jammu and Kashmir can be developed only through democracy, and people can be happy and youths can get jobs also through democracy.
"But to sustain the democracy, peace is necessary in Jammu and Kashmir. I want to appeal to the youths of Jammu and Kashmir not to get instigated by the statements of vested interests. I want to tell the youths to have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have faith in Jammu and Kashmir administration," he said.
Shah said some people were spreading lies for their narrow political interests.
"I want to appeal to everyone, especially the youths to ask these people some questions. Those who are saying that the valley's land will be usurped, they should be asked whose land has been taken away so far. By spreading such lies, they are trying to put barrier in the development of Jammu and Kashmir.
"Those who were saying that violence will enhance. They should be asked whether violence has gone up or reduced. They had said no investment will come, but the fact is that already Rs 12,000 crore investment has come. Tourists arrivals have also gone up and Jammu and Kashmir is matching towards development," he said.
Shah said many changes have taken place in Jammu and Kashmir under the initiative of the local administration and the guidance of the prime minister.
"I want to tell everyone, especially youths, youths of the valley, to give attention towards development, be part of the development process," he said.
The home minister said till August 2019, when the Article 370 was abrogated, Jammu and Kashmir was electing 87 MLAs and 6 MPs and only three families were ruling the erstwhile state.
"Now, 30,000 people's representatives (panchayat members) are serving the people. The benefits of the implementation of Panchayati Raj Act is before the people of Jammu and Kashmir. There has been speedy development after the implementation of the act," he said.
The home minister said some political parties were hurt that the panchayati raj system has been implemented and these people have said that law and order situation has deteriorated after the abrogation of Article 370.
Some people have gone to even to the extreme and said that until the Article 370 is restored, law and order in Jammu and Kashmir can never be good, he said.
"I want to tell all of them that there has been 40 per cent reduction in terror related incidents and 57 per cent reduction in deaths since Article 370 was abrogated. It shows that peace has no connection with the change. Peace has connection with the administration. When people get good administration, people get involved with the administration," he said.
Lauding the Jammu and Kashmir administration's efforts, Shah said that the union territory stood within the fifth rank among all states and union territories in implementing central government development schemes like providing electricity, LPG gas connections, toilets, 100 per cent vaccination, oxygen supply, setting up oxygen plants.
"People are getting direct benefits. Therefore, naturally, middle men are upset. Modi is clear that people of Jammu and Kashmir should get clean administration without any intervention of the middle men," he said.
Shah said Jammu and Kashmir has tremendous potential for tourism.
But the way some leaders are making statements, it shows that they don't want the growth of the tourism.
"I want to tell them there is no impact from your statements. In this winter, there has been record tourists arrivals in Jammu and Kashmir. This number will keep growing in the coming days," he said.
The home minister said everyone knows that tourism has direct connection with the employment, but by making such statements, a conspiracy has been hatched so that there is less tourists arrivals and the youths get less employment opportunities.
"I want to tell those people who had to go to Pakistan or other foreign countries for study medicine that since independence till 2014, Jammu and Kashmir had just four medical colleges with 500 seats. Now, nine medical colleges were built, 15 nursing colleges were set up, 1,100 MBBS seats and 600 paramedical seats are available," he said.
Shah said there was just Rs 12,000 crore investment in Jammu and Kashmir in 70 years. But in just one year, Rs12,000 crore investment has come and Rs 2,000 crore ground breaking has been done so far. All together Rs 50,000 crore investment will come.
He said that budget of Jammu and Kashmir has been increased from Rs 9,000 crore to Rs 21,000 crore. "No other state has got such two and half time more budget. It shows that Jammu and Kashmir is a priority for Modi," he said.