[Editorial Analysis] The new L-G

Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level: Lieutenant Governor
Mains level: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Context:

• Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu’s abrupt departure from the Raj Bhavan at Srinagar, and the quick appointment of his successor has shone timely light on the continuing absence of democratic political processes in Jammu and Kashmir.

• Last August’s changes in Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional status have only served to exacerbate this absence.

Losing faith in Delhi:

• For two years, Jammu and Kashmir has been ruled by an increasingly powerful bureaucracy, which has become even more empowered since last year’s changes.

• Too often, it sees people as numbers and development plans as power point presentations, and lacks accountability.

• One year after the BJP-led NDA government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and carved it into two Union Territories, it may bask in its fait accompli.

• But its biggest failure in the former state, or even in its own cause, is to have taken away people’s agency, disempowering them while claiming to do the opposite.

• The jailing of mainstream politicians, that too for prolonged periods with no apparent justification, has led to the defenestrating of the very leaders who might have mediated between Delhi and Kashmir.

• Some, including former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, remain under official detention, while others have been released, but are still not free to go back to their politics.

• Those who have found their voice after months of silence, such as former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, have spoken about losing faith in Delhi.

Elections only way:

• Even the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, seen as the government’s specially curated political party, is reluctant to take Delhi’s case to the people of the Valley.

• Either reluctant or clueless about how to restart a political process, Delhi is dependent, therefore, on the office of the Governor to do its work of outreach.

• But an ex-bureaucrat like Murmu, or even a politician such as his successor Manoj Sinha in the Raj Bhavan at Srinagar, is no replacement for a democratically elected executive who will be accountable to its people.

• The only way out of the political cul de sac that the NDA government may be reversing itself into in the Valley is to put the changes it brought in last year before the people.

• That means elections, but before that, the unimpeded restoration of political discourse, release of the remaining political prisoners, restoration of freedom of assembly, and of the freedom of speech, which includes the return of full speed internet.

Conclusion:

• A political vacuum, presided over by a governor, with the help of an all-powerful bureaucracy that has little connect with people, is a recipe for worsening the situation in Kashmir.

• But changing occupant of Raj Bhavan can be no answer in Kashmir.

• It needs revival of political process, elected assembly.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the new insider trading norms, consider the following statements:

1. The structured digital database will be preserved for a period of at least 8 years after completion of the relevant transactions.

2. Entities would have to file the non-compliance of code of conduct with the stock exchanges, and the amounts if any collected for such non-compliances would be credited to the Investor Protection Education Fund administered by SEBI.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. None

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) How the state of Jammu and Kashmir will cease to exist? Elaborate

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