Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah today supported the Central government’s decision to provide incentives to states for asset monetization and disinvestment by State governments including State Government undertakings.
“It is important you draw a distinction between privatization and monetization. Monetization is giving an asset on lease but not transferring the ownership of that asset. I see no reason why I should be opposed to a scheme that is looking to monetize an asset that is otherwise not been able to give me a suitable return,” Omar said addressing a press conference in Jammu.
“If the same assets would have been privatized, I would then have questions to ask the government. But as for as monetizing an asset is concerned if the ownership of that asset is not being transferred and the government is able to earn out of that asset which otherwise is dead, why should I oppose it,” Omar added.
“I support any scheme that allows the government to raise the revenue without putting the burden on people. My opposition is to heavily imposition of a tax on crude fuel, the way you are taxing petrol, the way you are taxing the diesel, the way everyday gas prices are going up, I am opposed to that,” he said.
“I wouldn’t oppose the scheme that allows you monetizing the asset without transferring the ownership of the asset,” he said.
However, he said the process of transferring an asset should be transparent. “I hope the process that is followed is a transparent one and it is not only friends of BJP that should benefit. There should be an open transparent bidding process and let the people who succeed in the bid come forward and let those assets be monetized and let the people reap the benefit,” he added.
Asked about the possible impact of Afghanistan situation on Jammu and Kashmir, Omar said, “this question you need to ask the central government. I don’t have any such information on the basis of which I can tell you that there will be a spillover of Afghanistan situation into Jammu and Kashmir.” “I don’t want to comment on it. What happened in Afghanistan is before us. Whether the Afghanistan situation will have any impact on Jammu and Kashmir or not, only the central government can respond to it,” he added.
Asked his views about the government of India holding talks with Taliban leader in Qatar, he said, “Either the Taliban is a terror organisation or it is not, please clarify how you see the Taliban.”
“If the Taliban is not a terror organization, will you move to the United Nations and delist it as a terror organisation as right now you are presiding over the UN Security Council. If they are a terror organization why you are talking to them and if it is not why you are banning their accounts and you are not recognizing them. Make up your mind and I am not the decision-maker,” he added.
About Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone’s criticism of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, Omar said Lone has no right to raise finger on PAGD. He said the way Lone left PAGD and the way he made excuses to leave it, he hasn’t any right to ask any question to the PAGD.
“Election Commission has to decide to hold the election in J&K. And if the Election Commission takes such decision, it is a good thing. We were ready for elections since 2019 as the Assembly was dissolved that year. Whenever the election commission takes a decision to hold an election let it do it. We only want that before elections they restore the statehood. Other fights we will fight in the Supreme Court, whether it is about Article 370 or about the decisions taken on August 5, 2019. Both Home Minister and the Prime Minister have given assurances that Jammu and Kashmir would get statehood back. We are saying do it now. Do it before the elections,” he added.