Cabinet approval to Rs 520 crore package for J&K, Ladakh will further 'ease of living': PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hailed the Union Cabinet’s decision to approve a special package of Rs 520 crore for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh under the National Rural Livelihood Mission, saying it will further ‘ease of living’ for the people there.

The Cabinet has approved a special package of Rs 520 crore for the two UTs for a period of five years till financial year 2023-24 and decided to ensure funding of DAY-NRLM in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on a demand-driven basis without linking allocation with poverty ratio during this extended period, the Rural Development Ministry said in a statement.

“Today’s Cabinet decision will further ‘Ease of Living’ for the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh,” the prime minister tweeted.

Earlier, addressing a press conference, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the package for Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) will ensure sufficient funds to both the Union Territories.

He said the decision is in line with Centre’s aim to universalise all centrally sponsored beneficiary-oriented schemes in J&K and Ladakh in a time-bound manner.

This is based on the outcomes of the evaluation pointing to the potential of the Mission to improve the quality of life of rural households and women empowerment and given the changed circumstances in the UTs of J&K and Ladakh, it added.

For technical reasons, Javadekar said, very few women were identified and were eligible in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for the programme. So the criterion has been changed for the two UTs.

Around two-third rural women will be covered and 10.58 lakh women will get the benefit from the special package of Rs 520 crore for the next five years, he said. Javadekar said there are around 63 lakh self-help groups in the country and 7 crore women are members of these groups and they have been granted Rs 3 lakh crore loan, of which only 2.3 per cent are NPAs. The Modi government aims to reach out to 10 crore women in the country through this scheme, of which over 10 lakh will be from J&K and Ladakh.