GoM on Jammu and Kashmir
The government on 28 August 2019 constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into development, economic and social issues in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh that will come into existence on 31 October 2019. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister for the PMO Jitendra Singh and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan are part of the group.
- The GoM will look into issues concerning Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370, granting special status to the state, and its bifurcation into Union Territories.
- The group will suggest various development, economic and social steps to be taken for the two UTs.
- Under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019, which was passed by Parliament this month, the two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — will come into existence on October 31. The first meeting of the GoM will be held in the first week on September.
- On 27 August 2019, Secretaries of at least 15 Central Ministries and Departments met to discuss ways to carry forward the process of bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into UTs and bring back normalcy as early as possible.
- The meeting assessed the implementation of central schemes in Jammu and Kashmir and initiatives to be taken to expedite return of normalcy.
- Development programmes and division of assets and manpower were the key areas of discussion in 27 August 2019 meeting.
- The meeting also discussed measures to be taken for stocking essential commodities, particularly in the Ladakh region, before the onset of the winter.
What Article 370 means
- Under this article, the centre needs the state government's concurrence to apply laws — except in defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications.
- It means the state's residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians. As a result of this provision, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.
- Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare an emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression.
- The Article 370 — which comes under Part XXI of the Constitution, which deals with "Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions" — grants J&K a special autonomous status. Constitutional provisions that are applicable to other Indian states are not applicable to J&K.
- The provision was drafted in 1947 by Sheikh Abdullah, the then prime minister of J&K appointed by Maharaja Hari Singh and Jawaharlal Nehru.