BY RAJNISH SINGH
New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) The historic decision to abrogate Article 370 which allowed special status to the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, and 35A find top place in the one-year achievement list prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Issued on completion of Modi 2.0 government’s one year, the 12-point achievement list, however, puts government’s efforts to contain the ongoing worldwide novel coronavirus pandemic on 5th position.
Over 1.73 lakh people are affected with the deadly disease with reports of 4,971 deaths across the country so far amid a nationwide lockdown which has continued for the last 67 days.
Opening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, strict action on terror and insurgency and focus on North East followed the abrogation of Article 370 in descending order.
The achievements talk about the Union Cabinet’s approval for further modification of the applicability of domicile conditions to all levels of jobs in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir under the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act.
Pride of the nation, the security forces, gets sixth position followed by Census of India-2021, national unity, women’s safety, visa facilities for foreigners, international cooperation, and a category that mentions important bills passed in Parliament, including the Citizenship Amendment Act, which together find the 12th position.
Empowerment of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) with extra territorial jurisdiction and declaration of Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim as terrorists after legislative amendment were counted among its achievements by the MHA.
The MHA also said the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust was set up by it to oversee the construction of the temple at Ayodhya following a Supreme Court order.
Referring to the “proactive measures” taken to control the novel coronavirus pandemic, the MHA said it was declared as a notified disaster on March 14 for the purpose of providing assistance under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) placed at the disposal of respective state governments, augmenting their resources.
It listed the lockdown measures which first came into effect from March 25 — a day after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a 21-day restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19. It was first extended till May 3, again till May 17 and till May 31 for the third time.
Explaining its measures in fight against the global pandemic, the MHA mentioned that it has set up a 24×7 control room in the North Block as a nerve centre for monitoring, grievance redress and daily status report collection from states and Union Territories (UTs). It is also attending to the queries of states and UTs or other ministries on lockdown measures.
The MHA also issued a series of guidelines to ensure uninterrupted movement of essential goods, providing food and shelter to the homeless and migrant laborers.
It dispatched Inter Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) to states severely affected by COVID-19 to make on-the-spot assessment of the situation and issue necessary directions to local authorities.
The MHA has issued SOPs to ensure inter-state movement of migrant workers and other people stranded at different places.
Movement of migrant workers during the lockdown has become a humanitarian crisis with thousands of them walking on roads and railway tracks, ignoring government pleas to stay back at the place where they are.
At least 16 such people were mowed down by a goods train in Maharashtra, while at least 100 others were killed in road accidents in different parts of the country.
India signed the Kartarpur Sahib corridor agreement with Pakistan on October 24, 2019.
Indian pilgrims of all faiths are now allowed to undertake round-the-year visa-free travel through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib (in Pakistan), one of the most revered shrines of Sikhs.
The MHA said the National Investigation Agency Act was an amendment under which the anti-terror probe agency was empowered with extra territorial jurisdiction for investigation of terrorism-related offences taking place outside India, in which Indian property or citizens are victims.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act was also amended, empowering the Central government to designate an individual as terrorist and seize his properties.
After the amendment, Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim were proscribed as terrorists.
The MHA said Left wing violence has been down from 2,258 in 2009 to 833 in 2018. The number of deaths dropped from 1,005 in 2009 to 240 in 2018 and the number of districts affected by Naxal violence reduced from 96 in 2010 to 60 in 2018.
The initial list did not include the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as an achievement.
However, the MHA later in the day issued a revised list of achievements incorporating the CAA and a few other legislations approved by Parliament in the last one year.
Meanwhile, a Home Ministry official said a few achievements of the MHA could not figure in the initial list.
The enactment of the CAA led to protests in different parts of the country and deaths of over 20 people in police firing and other violence.
The objective of the CAA is to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities — Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian — from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The other MHA-piloted legislations include the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 under which the SPG would now provide proximate security to only the Prime Minister and his immediate family members residing with him at his official residence.
The MHA said the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam, was published on August 31, 2019 and a machinery was created for detection and deportation of illegal immigrants.
Emergence of response support system (ERSS) — Dial 112 — a single successfully implemented number has been launched and over Rs 358 crore allocated by the MHA under Nirbhaya fund for women’s safety.
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in criminal matters between India and Maldives signed on September 3 last year and liberalization of medical visa regime for foreigners is among the MHA list of achievements, among others.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)