JAMMU: Finally, the Centre has unfolded its domicile policy for Jammu and Kashmir, frankly speaking, much to discomfort of the youth of the erstwhile state and not to comfort of anyone across the country actually. This has completely shattered the people, who are grappling with the world-wide coronavirus. Assured of safeguarding the legitimate interests of this fractured and demolished state, the residents feel betrayed and let down. What could be the crude joke than the fact that the last Governor Satya Pal Malik of the erstwhile state had on August 28, 2019 assured the youth about 50,000 jobs in a few months. Satya Pal Malik had not held out this assurance in his personal capacity but as the representative of the President of India. Can this assurance and promise be kept on the face of the domicile law notified yesterday, which envisages different categories of jobs in the Union Territory going to people from across the country.
According to the notification, inter alia a person who has resided in J&K for 15 years or has studied for seven years and appeared in Class 10 or Class 12 exams in an educational institution located in J&K will be deemed to have ‘domicile’.
In law, domicile is the status or attribution of being a lawful permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction.
Children of central government officials, All India Services officers, officials of public sector undertakings and autonomous bodies of the central government, public sector banks, officials of statutory bodies, officials of central universities and recognised research institutes of the centre who have served in J&K for a total period of 10 years or children of parents who fulfil any of the conditions in the rule will also get domicile status.
Besides, children of residents of J&K who reside outside the Union Territory in connection with employment or business or for other professional or vocational reasons, but whose parents fulfil any of the conditions provided in the latest gazette notification will also be entitled to domicile status.
This is just the opposite of what prevailed in the erstwhile state of J&K, Article 35A of the constitution, which had empowered the local government to define who permanent residents of J&K were and grant exclusive rights to them when it came to jobs and owning land and property.
The domicile law has come at a time when Jammu and Kashmir was preparing for recruitment of teachers and Sub Inspectors in the police besides other posts in various departments on fast track basis in weeks and months to come. Obviously, these posts were earmarked for the local youth. But with the introduction of the new law, they will not have exclusive rights on these posts, which fall in open category. This is sheer injustice with educated unemployed who are already in the state of despondency due to burgeoning unemployment problem. They have nowhere to go as Jammu and Kashmir lacks organised corporate sector and big business houses. Dependence for sustenance for educated has been only the government sector. This too is being denied to them. Where they will go? Especially the youth of Jammu, whose share in jobs has all along been usurped by Kashmir during past over seven decades. This law is going to be detrimental for Jammu region alone, as nobody from across the country, eligible for employment here, will not be included to go to Kashmir due to peculiar situation. Therefore, the brunt will have to be borne by Jammu youth.
Also, the main compartment of J&K budget goes for salaries and sharing of jobs will therefore mean sharing scarce resources as well.
This is a big question mark for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The intent of the Centre may be right but timing is wrong. There should have been checks and balances, like Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, so as to ensure at least 80 per cent of jobs in these categories for locals. That would have been natural justice for educated youth.
This is time for the Centre to revisit its J&K Domicile Law and to place on hold, at least for a decade and half. To be continued