The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was an unfortunate event, says the Union Minister.
NEW DELHI: Capital Dialogue, with Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, an event organised by The Sunday Guardian Foundation, was held in the Constitution Club of India here on Wednesday. Singh, in the special series to mark the foundation of India’s new Parliament building, talked about various issues regarding space, development in J&K and citizen-centric governance.
Talking about Kashmir, Singh said that the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was an unfortunate event as it happened in large number, “Many people left the state, but we must realise many governments have not been sincere with the issue and we are working on it with sincerity,” he said. He added: “Now there is no stone pelting in the last three years in J&K. Earlier, a call was given from Islamabad and shops would be shut in Kashmir. Now, things have changed completely. There are killings happening in the state, but those are soft killings, they are not confined to killings of Pandits only but everyone. We are committed to improving the situation.”
“We stand at number 3 in the world as far as start-ups are concerned and now it is about sustainable start-ups. We need to have close links with research-based organisations; we need to have much closer integration,” he said.
Talking about business in J&K, Singh said that although people want to invest in Kashmir, there is a shortage of skilled manpower. “The mindset has not changed there, all they talk about is sarkari naukri. Young boys are sitting on agitation for contractual jobs. I asked a collector, is it just for a Rs 6,000 contractual job that they are protesting? He replied, saying it’s not for Rs 6,000; they are sitting for only Rs 2,000. These are the hill states and much can come from the youth as they need to begin with building start-ups.”
Singh, who is a minister with various portfolios, including Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, PMO, Atomic energy and space, while talking about space science, said that “there was never any dearth of calibre in the country. Yet there is potential among our skilled people which was untapped till now and needs a more vibrant platform”. “What has changed now is the utilisation of talent through empathetic policies and the department has worked out best ways to tap talent. Moreover, Modiji has specific penchant for space and had given us full support to play out the important decisions in the department,” the minister said.
He further emphasised that space technology is going to be a major area in Indian economy which will help generate jobs. “We have used space technology in various other sectors and not confined it to only one department. Now it is used in road construction, building railways, highways, and even in robotic surgery, it is used in larger spectrum,” he said.
Singh talked about several schemes that the BJP government has rolled out for the benefit of marginalised, poor and the needy without any agenda, or without any politics of appeasing the party vote bank. He said: “The schemes are there for all and for all those who need us, and we, without any prejudice, have distributed yojanas for public welfare. There are many people who found solace in our social reform schemes.”