NEW DELHI: The government has denied any move to offer special status to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and UT of Ladakh under Article 371 of the Constitution, while indicating a move to notify domicile rules for the two newly-created UTs.
Union minister of state for PMO Jitendra Singh on Saturday told TOI: “These rumours (about special provisions for UTs of J&K and Ladakh under Article 371) are part of a conspiracy by Congress and National Conference, both of which were prime beneficiaries of now scrapped Article 370, to plant stories in the media and create misgivings. There is no such move to bring back special status for J&K through the back door. I must also clarify that there is no correlation between Article 370 and Article 371, with the latter meant to only protect the unique cultural identity and traditions of a particular area or state.”
While there is no review of scrapping of “special status” for J&K, sources indicated that domicile policy for the two Union territories will be notified soon. The policy will specify a domicile cut-off period for residents. A proposal on the table is to make 15 years of residency in the Union Territory a mandatory requirement for domicile status, though a final decision is yet to be taken.
Domicile status would be a requirement for land ownership and rights in UTs of J&K and Ladakh. Domiciled residents shall also get preference in civil services as well as admissions to higher educational institutions. However, as per the government’s plan, domicile restrictions would not apply to industrialists and businessmen wishing to set up factories/business establishments in the UTs of J&K and Ladakh. “They will be offered land right away not only to set up industry or business unit but also for establishment of an ancillary colony,” said a government functionary.
While the domicile cut-off will apply to all ordinary residents, some exceptions are being considered for civil servants and their children. “As per the pattern among many states, civil servants and their children are considered domicile of their cadre state. However, considering that all future officers will be allotted to AGMUT and not J&K cadre, we need to take a considered view before extending J&K/Ladakh domicile in case of AGMUT cadre officers,” said an official.
Source: Economic Times