Bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir

We will present you some facts about the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is officially bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh since October 31, 2020. On 31st October, it is Sardar Vallabhai Patel’s birth anniversary and that day is marked as the beginning of the functioning of the two Union Territories (UT) at a bureaucratic level. The period between August 5 to October 31 was used by the state administration and the Home Ministry to put a basic bureaucratic structure in place to implement the J&K Reorganization Act. Now we will share with you more details about the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir.

1. What happened on 31st October?

The Lt. Governers of the two UTs took an oath of office along with the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. The Union government appointed serving IAS officer of Gujarat cadre G.C Murmu as the LG of Jammu and Kashmir, and retired bureaucrat of Tripura cadre Radha Krishna Mathur as LG of Ladakh. The two UTs got their own Chief Secretaries and top bureaucrats and their own police chiefs and key supervisory officers. Dilbagh Singh continued to be DG and J&K police, an IG-level officer who headed the police in Ladakh. Both forces remained part of the J&K cadre which merged with the UT cadre. The Reorganization Act gave a period of one year for full-fledged bifurcation.

2. What happened to other officers who already posted in the undivided state?

An apportionment of posts in both UTS had been done. While the bureaucratic structure was placed and the staffs of the state administration were to be divided. The government had asked all the staffs to send in applications for their preferred posting between the two UTs. This process was still on. The basic goal was to have minimum shifting between the two UTs along with the sources in the state administration had said to give preferred regional affinities. The only issue was that there weren’t enough Ladakh staff to fill in all posts there. So few people from J&K had to go there.

3. What happened to the laws that governed the state of J&K?

The legislative restricting was in progress with a lot of remaining to be done. While 153 state laws were repealed and 166 had been retained. There was the cosmetic exercise of repealing Acts that mentioned applicable to all India but not the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state administration had implemented all that was mentioned in the Reorganization Act as it was. It was also saddled with the massive legislative exercise of arrival at and making state-specific insertions into the 108 central laws that would be applicable to the two UTs.

4. What were the new laws made?

Unlike the Ranbir Penal Code, which is a replica of the Indian Panel Code, Kashmir’s Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) had many provisions different from the Central CrPC. Similarly, the POSCO Act of the centre had replaced the state-specific insertions that would have done in laws relating to the protection of women and children. The quota for economically weaker sections had already been added through an amendment and the Centre wanted to make some insertions drawing from central Acts.

5. How were the assets shared?

The financial restructuring was a more complicated task than sharing assets. As per the decision made in August 2019, the administration was saddled with a middle-of-the-year financial restructuring that was proving to be a massive bureaucratic exercise. The government had constituted a three-member advisory committee under the chairmanship of former Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra to divide the assets and liabilities of the state between the two UTs. The committee was to submit its report. Three more committees were on personnel, finance and administrative matters and were constituted at the state level for the purpose of reorganization. Those three committees were learnt to have complete their work but their recommendations had not been made public. The total budget for the UTs was Rs 7,500 crores and the budget for J&K was in excess of Rs 90,000 crores.

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