New Delhi December 26 : Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today met a delegation of about 250 school children belonging to all districts of Jammu & Kashmir, who are currently on a visit to New Delhi.
These students are visiting Jaipur, Ajmer and New Delhi under ‘Watan Ko Jano – Youth Exchange Programme 2023’ of Government of India. In the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, the visit is aimed at showcasing the cultural and social diversity of the country to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Jitendra Singh told the young students that they are destined to be the architects of 2047 and that this is one of the best times happening for India as also a new beginning for Jammu & Kashmir.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the picturesque region of Jammu & Kashmir has undergone a remarkable transformation. Stone pelting incidents are a thing of the past. Today, Jammu & Kashmir makes headlines more for stories of sporting achievements, he said.
“Cricketers from J&K like Abdul Samad, Umran Malik, Parvaiz Rasool and Manzoor Pandav play in the IPL.
Wushu players Surya Bhanu Partap Singh and Abhishek Jamwal brought laurels to the country in the recent Moscow Championships. In 2022, a Kashmiri skier, Arif Khan, carried India’s National Flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing,” he said, adding, “Girls in Kashmir also participate in sports at par with boys. Earlier this year 16-year-old Sheetal Devi, hailing from Loidhar village in Kishtwar, is the ‘first female archer without arms to compete internationally’. At the Asian Para Games, she claimed not one but three medals, including a gold, in different categories.”
Dr Jitendra Singh said, this shift can be attributed to various factors, including increased administrative support, improved infrastructure, and a growing priority to youth.
Citing the stupendous success of Aroma Mission and Purple Revolution in J&K, Dr Jitendra Singh encouraged the school children to also look for opportunities outside government job. Lavender is an avenue of Agri StartUps, employment generation and research, opening many paradigms of development, he said.
“Bhaderwah has emerged as the Lavender capital of India and Agri StartUp destination. Following the success of Aroma Mission and Purple Revolution in Bhaderwah and Gulmarg regions, over 3,000 Startups are now engaged in Lavender cultivation alone,” he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that PM Modi, in the 99th Edition of Mann ki Baat, appreciated the efforts of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research- Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) in supporting farmers in the cultivation of Lavender in Bhaderwah of Doda district under CSIR-Aroma Mission.
The S&T Minister informed that the CSIR had introduced high-value essential oil bearing lavender crop through its Jammu based laboratory, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicines (IIIM) for cultivation in districts Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri and later also in the other districts including Ramban, Pulwama, etc. In a brief span of time, aroma/lavender cultivation has become a popular option in farming for agricultural Start-up, he said.
The net annual income of farmers who switched from maize to Lavender cultivation has increased many folds from around Rs. 40,000/- to Rs. 60,000/- per hectare to Rs. 3,50,000/- to Rs. 6,00,000/- per hectare. Farmers of the Bhaderwah, Doda district, produced 300, 500, 800, and 1500 Litres of Lavender oil in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively. They earned > Rs. 5.0 Crore between 2018-2022 by selling dry flowers, Lavender plants and Lavender oil.
Dr Jitendra Singh, who represents Udhampur Constituency of J&K in the Lok Sabha, said the discovery of Lithium in Reasi district may well turn out to be “India’s next big story”, giving a multifold boost to the country’s economy.
“Analysis suggests that the value of Lithium deposits in Reasi may be higher than China,” he said, stating that Lithium is a key component in rechargeable batteries and there is huge demand for Lithium as the world turns to renewable energy.
Stating that an increasing number of items from J&K have been geo-tagged, Dr Jitendra Singh said it will help promote sales of GI-tagged products from the UT to boost the local economy.
“Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi has made efforts to bring development in J&K. Various infrastructure projects will change the face of J&K, projects such as Ujh Multipurpose project, Shahpur Kandi dam project, construction of world’s highest railway bridge on Chenab river in Reasi, setting up of AIIMS and IIMs, etc. In Kathua district, the Engineering College has started functioning and Medical College will also be opened soon. North India’s first Biotech park will be set up in Kathua in J&K,” he said, adding that a record number of tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir this year.
Dr Jitendra Singh appealed to the students to be catalysts of PM Modi’s reforms and help their effective implementation in J&K.
The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the unexplored North-Eastern Region (NER) have huge natural resources that would drive India’s future growth story during the Amrit Kaal towards attaining a ViksitBharat @ 2047, he said.
During the interaction, the students brought out particular instances of lack of development in their regions in the state and how things are now beginning to change for the better.
They thanked the Minister for Government’s support to students from Jammu & Kashmir, due to which they have got the opportunity to study in premier universities and colleges under the PM Special Scholarship Scheme. They cited development works being undertaken on ground level in the last few years like opening of new medical colleges, national highways, bank branches, schools etc. that were distant dreams earlier.