Economics and politics
It is beyond doubt that Kashmir’s relatively slow economic growth and a lack of innovation has something to do with the perpetual political crisis and conflict here. It is not that nothing good is happening. Private initiatives try to do their best in terms of investment and diversification of business activities. Government spending also – to some measure – plays its positive part. But, at the end of the day, the colossal loss and disadvantage Kashmir region suffers as a result of the chronic political crisis and conflict take a huge social and economic toll.
It is not hard to imagine the kind of economic growth Kashmir would have witnessed over the years if there was no political uncertainty here. We missed the fruits of the economic reforms and globalisation because they happened at a time when we were in a mess due to a serious military conflict. The growth that happened in South Asia region in general and rest of India in particular since the 90s is a well known story. Kashmir could not become a part of that because the root causes of its political crisis were not addressed with honesty.
This is what seems to have been stressed at a conference held on Thursday by the newly launched alliance of business and commerce bodies of Kashmir. The underlying philosophy of this get-together – that without a resolution of the larger political question no real economic turnaround could happen - has great merit and logic.
The fact is that at the turn of the century – with a slight improvement in the security situation – some degree of economic revival did take place in Kashmir. But that is only a part of its real potential. Since 2008, three successive summers – which are normally the most productive periods of our economy – were lost due to some serious political provocations to the masses, which ultimately resulted in mass public upheavals. These three summers have devastated business plans of a large number of people and business entities. They have resulted in aggravation of debt conditions, since the people who have taken loans from banks haven’t been able to run their businesses and re-pay their debts in time. Business expansion plans have either been delayed or completely shelved. Transport industry has been one of the worst hit. Construction sector has remained completed in a shambles. The state government has missed many development targets, while some have been completely lost.
Then there is the perception issue. Because of the continued unrest, tourism industry took a severe beating. The external business perception about Kashmir continues to remain negative as a result of unfavorable political and security situation here. This chronic unstable situation has some other negative spin offs too. One spin off is the relative disadvantage Kashmir region acquires vis-a-vis the other two regions of Jammu and Ladakh – which are doing excellently in spite of the adverse situation in the Kashmir region. Such a disadvantage can have disastrous political implications in the future. For instance, almost all the private companies providing services and doing trade in Kashmir region have their service offices based in Jammu. Telecom, insurance, banking and other public sector undertakings being some of the examples.
In such a backdrop the arguments presented at the Srinagar conference on Thursday need a sympathetic understanding. It would be a folly to dismiss such initiatives as being politically motivated or discredit these for political convenience. For a brighter and peaceful future of this state a lasting political solution is a must. And let there be no illusions about the fact that no real economic revival will be possible here unless the basic political uncertainty and the conflict are addressed. That must also mean a drastic improvement of the security situation – by easing the militarized condition of the state and creating business possibilities on the huge spaces currently under military use.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM EDITORIAL
40 DETAINED FOR ‘DEMANDING RIGHTS’
Srinagar, Dec 3: On the World Disability Day Friday, police detained at least 40 physically challenged persons near Rajbagh here after they took out a protest rally “to demand their rights.” Witnesses More
- Srinagar City
Hamza, Alfarooq Colonies worst hit
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, Dec 3: When meters were installed in their colonies, they welcomed; believing it will end up their power problems. But their expectations would dash so soon, they hardly knew. Welcome More
Altaf urges people to be aware of disruptive forces
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Dec 3: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Friday said the state government was formulating a proposal for revival of mobile schools for Gujjar and Bakerwal population in the state. “The mobile schools More
- News in Brief
Srinagar: Reacting to the filing of FIR against Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Shah Geelani and other pro-freedom leaders, the Democratic Political Movement acting chairman, Khawaja Firdous has termed it More
New Delhi, Dec 3: The government has found airlines are trying “to take undue advantage” of passengers by increasing their fares, said Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel. While stating that More