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Centre kicks off major public outreach in J&K

70 Union Ministers to tour all 20 districts, take feedback from people.

The Centre on Thursday kicked off a major public outreach in J&K that will see around 70 Union ministers listening to people and their representatives for the next nine weeks in the Union Territory.

Initiating the wide scale exercise, Union Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Minister of State (MoS) Kailiash Choudhary and MoS Sushri Shobha Karandlaje met farmers, horticulturists, agriculture scientists and other at the Center of Excellence at Zawoora in Srinagar.

They took stock of the status of the government’s welfare schemes and their implementation in the UT.

"J&K is the crown of India. This region is shoulder-to-shoulder in the country’s progress and development towards self-reliance," Mr. Tomar said.

Officials said the horticulturists flagged many issues during their interaction with the Union ministers, including the absence of lending from other banks, start-up policy, Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for C-grade apple produce, Fasal Bima Yojan for apples etc. They were assured of the Centre’s intervention into the issues raised, officials added.

Mr. Tomar praised J&K L-G Manoj Sinha for his "visionary leadership". "People are fortunate to have such a leader like him for guidance,” he added.

The Union Agriculture Minister also inaugurated the Technology Park and e-inaugurated Gramin Krishi Mausum Sewa (GKMS) for facilitating farmers by issuing weather advisories.

70 ministers to tour UT

Mr. Tomar’s group of ministers was the first among the 70 Union ministers who are slated to visit all 20 districts of J&K in the coming nine weeks in batches, apparently to fill the political vacuum created in absence of elections for the Assembly since 2018.

This is the second such public outreach by the Centre since the reading down of Article 370 in 2019. Around 36 Union ministers toured the UT in 2020 too.

Officials said the Centre has tasked these ministers to take feedback directly from people, administration and representatives of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) on governance and development issues, especially the areas pertaining to the respective ministries.

Union Minister of State Dr. Jitendra Singh will be coordinating the outreach. "All 20 districts and tehsils will be covered by the visiting ministers ," an official said. The ministers will prepare a comprehensive report and submit it to the Centre for a follow up.

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