The Centre cannot hold on

But the programme has its limitations. By its very design, it offers entry-level positions with few immediate opportunities and relatively low remuneration. Himayat beneficiaries should treat the programme as an opportunity to hone their skills and acquire valuable experience.

More important is the question of the Indian government's goals for Kashmir. Former US senator Daniel P. Moynihan once described the difference between policy and programme: "Programmes relate to a single part of the system; policy seeks to respond to the system in its entirety". Moynihan further pointed out that one of the major problems with the functioning of the US government was that it relied on programmes instead of designing an overarching policy. The same criticism applies to the Indian government's approach to Kashmir.

Given the challenges of terrorism in the state, the Central government has had to play a big role in managing Kashmir. Now that the security situation has stabilised, the relationship between Delhi and Srinagar must be reimagined. Should Delhi be running an employment generation programme — an initiative which appears more appropriate for the state government? This is where the distinction between policy and programme is important. Delhi can certainly look at the big picture — examine the constitutional issues that make industrialisation difficult, for instance — but there is no longer a case for the Centre running the state.

That may be what Kashmiris want too. Irrespective of how strong the demand for "azadi" actually is, it is evident that Kashmiris want Delhi to play a smaller part in their lives. At least, that's what is frequently heard from the valley's political leadership. But, to put it bluntly, Kashmiris cannot simultaneously ask to be left alone and expect Delhi to not only bankroll their state but also micromanage it. For instance, 53 per cent of Jammu and Kashmir's budget comes as grants from the Central government. For the state of Delhi, this figure is only 6 per cent.

... contd.

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