“Aman Aur Jawan Aman Hai Muqam”
“Army belongs to the people and its commitment will last as long as the involvement of the people lasts…..”
Army has undertaken a large number of Military Civic Action programmes aimed at ‘Wining the Hearts and Minds” of the people in J&K and North Eastern States, as part of a strategy for conflict resolution. These programmes aim to achieve the following:-
(a) Fulfilling the needs of the Peoples and to alleviate their problems.
(b) Development of remote and inaccessible areas where civil administration is barely existent.
(c) Assuaging the feeling of alienation and moulding public opinion towards peace and development.
(d) Fan the desire for firmer integration with the nation.
These civic actions include a wide range of activities across the entire spectrum of development and demonstrate the ‘humane face’ of the soldier. It is ensured that the projects are planned as per needs of the local population and are handed over to the state administration on completion. In Jammu and Kashmir and the North East, the projects are being implemented under Operation SADBHAVANA. Similar activities are also being undertaken as part of Operation SAMARITAN in the North East.
(b) Health Care.
(c) Education (Including Information Technology Assistance).
(d) Human Resources Development.
(e) National Integration Tours.
Detail of utilisation of funds in the last two years in Jammu & Kashmir and North Eastern States are attached.
Allotment of funds in J&K
Allotment of funds in North East
Operation Sadbhavana ( Op Sadbhavna ) was launched by the army in 1998 in rural areas of Jammu & Kashmir where terrorists and anti-national elements had wrought havoc by large scale destruction of government property and public assets like schools, bridges, electricity supply system etc causing severe hardships to locals. An insidious attempt was also made to alienate the common man from the national fabric. The need of the hour was not only to wrest the initiative back from the terrorists but also to reintegrate the affected populace with the national mainstream. In such a scenario, Indian Army was looked upon as one of the Governments organization which could provide succour to the people. Under Op Sadbhavna Army took up a large number of welfare and development projects. Spending Rs450 Crs over the last fourteen years, the Army has succeeded in improving the quality of life of populace and win their hearts and minds. The focus of Operation Sadbhavna has been on Quality Education, Women and Youth Empowerment, Infrastructure Development and Health and Veterinary Care. Educational / Motivational Tours outside J&K are undertaken to expose the rich heritage and progress of India for the students, youth and opinion makers. In addition, basic needs like ‘Water Supply Schemes’, Electrification’ and ‘Animal Husbandry’ in far flung areas is given priority while planning projects based on a participative model involving the local people, their elected representatives and civil adminstration.
Education Quality education is a prime requirement in militancy affected areas of J&K. The Army has established 53modern English medium Army Goodwill Schools under the State Board and CBSE having all facilities. These schools remain heavily subscribed and at places hostel facilities are also provided at few places and in some schools. Local teachers and support staff get employment opportunities and these schools are well received by the people. In an effort to reach out to the poor children in the difficult areas assistance to approximately 2700 State Govt schools in terms of renovations, construction of additional class rooms, toilets, playgrounds, sports fields /facilities, provision of furniture, computers and educational software packages, stationery, books and school uniforms for poor students and assistance in setting up libraries and laboratories has been provided. A large number of students hailing from Gujjar and Bakarwal communities and poorer sections of the society are imparted free education in these schools on nominal fees. Large numbers of children are provided scholarships to study within and outside the State in public schools.
Computer Education. Computer literacy centres have been established at a number of places including local government schools to provide computer literacy to children, youth and ladies who have no access to such facilities in the environment they hail from. These centres provide computer education in basics concepts of operating systems, use of MS Office software and Internet for knowledge and empowerment.
Infrastructure Development. Rampant destruction of infrastructure by terrorists and anti-national elements in early Nineties and inability of government agencies to undertake new projects or restoration of damaged projects left a large void in this field. The Army stepped in to provide assistance by undertaking a number of small and large infrastructure projects under Op Sadbhavna to ameliorate the condition of the local population like construction of foot bridges, tracks to improve connectivity in rural areas, schools, orphanages, primary health centres, community development centres, and vocational training centres, rural mini hydel electrification projects, installation of transformers, erection of solar lights and distribution of solar lights, provisioning of generators, construction of check dams, water supply schemes, digging of hand pumps and bore wells for water etc. Other development projects like construction of bus stop shelters, utility toilets, renovation of rural government schools, development of play fields and stadia and construction of model villages destroyed in 2005 earthquake were undertaken.
Medical Care A major focus area of Op Sadbhavna is health care medical needs of the people in the rural areas who do not have excess to specialised medical care facilities. To provide same Army organises a number of medical camps and has established a number of health centres. These centres provide essential medical aid to the locals. These centres have been equipped with ultra sound, ECG machines, oxygen cylinders, nebulizers etc. In addition villagers are regularly educated on family planning, child care, basic hygiene and sanitation. Free medicines are provided. Medical exhibitions displaying posters on various fatal / dangerous diseases like AIDS, Cancer, TB etc and screening of life style diseases are regularly organized. The Army also provides artificial limbs to civilians injured in mine blast and terrorism related incidents.
Para Medical Care. Motivated youth are identified in medical camps in rural areas for further training in para medical care and first aid by the Army Field Hospitals. These men are provided civil recognized certificates for spreading awareness of hygiene and sanitation amongst their people, become self-employed and be readily available for immediate medical aid in case of emergencies.
Veterinary Camps. Veterinary Camps are regularly organized by the Army’s Remount and Veterinary Corps in conjunction with representatives of Govt Veterinary Department to provide veterinary care and advice to people rearing cattle in remote rural areas of the State. Volunteers are trained by the Army in emergency first aid and treatment of animals.
Women and Youth Empowerment In keeping with the ethos of Army’s commitment towards women empowerment and welfare activities, special emphasis has been laid to create vocational training centres, where local women are taught traditional skills / crafts, made aware about personal health, birth control measures, and bringing up their children. Interaction organized with bank and government officials about banking and loan procedures. Adult literacy classes are organised for illiterate women to teach them basic reading and writing. Skill development training like operating of computers, knitting, tailoring, candle making, bag making, carpets / basket weaving, jam and sauce production, horticulture, fashion designing etc are taught through local women themselves who are employed as guides.
Youth Empowerment. Unemployed youth are an ideal target group for subversion and fomenting political unrest in the Sate by terrorists and inimical elements. In order to help the youth and thwart the nefarious designs of inimical elements, numerous Youth Guidance Employment Nodes (YGENs) have been established across the State under Op Sadbhavna to create awareness about various job opportunities, competitions and eligibility criteria for jobs. Competent trainers and counsellors train the youth and assist them to develop skills for seeking jobs and availing employment opportunities on their own merit in government and private sector. Skills training as mechanics, machine operators, poultry farming, animal husbandry, compounders, tourist guides, mountaineers, sportsmen are conducted to make them self-sufficient and integrate in the local economy.
Educational Tours Educational tours are organized under Op Sadbhavna for students and opinion makers from all regions of the State to various parts of India with a view to providing them an exposure to the rich cultural diversity and varied traditions of other parts of the country and progress achieved under conditions of peace and stability. This exposure enables them to become responsible “citizens of tomorrow” and gives them an insight to appreciate the vast natural, historical and cultural heritage of our country. These tours enable the young impressionable minds of youth to integrate with the national mainstream and act as catalysts for channelizing their aspirations to achieve higher goals in life
Sports Stadia and Tournaments. To boost and revive sports activities in the State based on requests by the State Government, seven stadia have been constructed at Bandipur, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Budgam and Shopian. These stadia have a seating capacity from 5000 to 7000 and facilities for conducting number of sports tournaments. To identify and nurture sports talent in the State a number of sports activities and tournaments are organised like T-20 Cricket Tournaments like Jammu Premier League and Kashmir Premier League.
Vocational Training Centres. Under Op Sadbhavna assistance is provided to the local community members to enable them to hone and develop their traditional as well as modern skills like jam and sauce making, carpet, shawl weaving, beauty and hairdressing, stitching, family welfare, child care, family planning, adult education, computers education etc. This enables the women and community members to become self-reliant and monetarily independent.
Conclusion Projects undertaken under Op Sadbhavna have yielded tremendous results in improving the quality of life of the populace and have provided major benefits to the locals of the State by contributingto the localeconomy and generating employment oportunities. The projects undertaken by the Army are aimed atsupplementing the efforts of the State Govt. to improve the quality of life of people in the State and has helped in winning the hearts and minds of the people.
-VEERENDRA SINGH,APRO (Army)