To priortise its developmental needs and also to highlight its achievements, the Jammu and Kashmir government has, for the first time, decided to prepare a human development report. The Mufti Sayeed led PDP-Congress coalition government has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Planning Commission in this regard, well placed sources told ENS. This was also confirmed by Minister of State for Finance, Babu Singh, who said that work has also begun on it.
Significantly, the Planning Commission had asked the previous National Conference government headed by Farooq Abdullah to prepare the report as per the guidelines of United Nations Development Programme. However, it could not be prepared at that time even when a special officer was appointed for the purpose, sources added.
To prepare the human development report, the government has now set up one regional centre each at Jammu and Srinagar, besides hiring the services of six experts. The team of experts at Srinagar is headed by Prof Nisar Ali, a professor of economics in Kashmir University and at Jammu, it is headed by Prof Roshan Lal Bhat of PG Department of Economics in Jammu University.
Earlier, the previous Farooq Abdullah government used to go by the figures of Census Department to showcase its achievements. However, the experts, who have been assigned the task of preparing the human development report, express doubts over the authenticity of census figures.
‘‘The figures of crude death rate, infant mortality rate or the below poverty line population are doubtful,’’ said Nisar Ali. Pointing out that they have to check the authenticity of these figures, he says that ‘‘if the figures showing our crude death rate as 2.89 per cent and the infant mortality rate as 8 per cent are correct, then we are far advanced in the healthcare system than even the western countries’’.
The human development report will also take into account the damage caused to infrastructre due to militancy. ‘‘As things are different in Kashmir, the parametres for framing the report will also be different. We have to re-define the poverty index in the Valley. A number of new things like orphanages have become a part of Kashmir and these areas will also be studied,’’ Ali said.
The experts point out that the consumption basket in the Himalyan state of Jammu Kashmir is different than that in the plains and all these factors will form part of the humn development report. ‘‘It is a high altitude area and the requirement of calories and even the textile is quite differnt here. All these things will make the human development report here quite different,’’ said an expert.
Prof Nisar Ali said that the report will be used by state government to seek more Central assistance for the areas which have remained under-developed.
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