Human Development and Kashmir
HDI in Kashmir is plummeting. But why?
DR ABDUL MAJID SIRAJ
God’s Earth houses a family of humans who strive for a healthier living so that they can live longer and achieve better education with access to goods and services. Humanism underlines the potential value of human beings and rational ways of solving problems. In this process people on this planet help each other. These were revelations occupying his thought when Pakistani economist Dr Mahbub-ul-Haq (1934-1998) pioneered the concept of Human Development index (HDI) in teamwork with Noble laureate Amartya Sen and it was this model readily adopted by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that transformed the economic policy of the world governments. HDI in its analysis finds ways that measure well-being and development by its impact on individual lives. It is used to classify countries in terms of their prosperity. HDI has three dimensions representing composite statistics of the Life expectancy, Education Index indicating mean years in school and gross national income (GNI) that offers a decent standard of living.
Kashmir is in the midst of singular factors on the negative side of the scale and cannot be a direct correlate of Indian figures. India features at HDI 0.547 compared to a western country like Norway at 0.9. Life expectancy (report published by UNDP Nov. 2, 2011) in India at birth is 65.4 compared to Norway figure of 81.1. In Kashmir the figure is indeterminate not only for the colossal loss of lives in hospital cots, chaotic roads and violence of insurrection but also because these deaths are in young people and children and that brings the mean average way down the Indian figures.
Mean year’s index at school in India is 4.4 compared to 12.9 in Norway and GNI stands at 3468 (dollars). IANS (Nov. 2011) reported that India ranks 134 in HDI out of 187 member countries compared to Sri Lanka ranking at 91. This is a brief picture of HDI that hypothesizes life in Kashmir as a subservient economy of India. In the axiom of liquid in a container the surging economic waves will find the path of least resistance and strike the coastline of hill bound Kashmir with enough room to unload the economic waste. Kashmir will remain as a residue for development and maintenance because one small incident will dock all attention to security and peace initiatives. The fallout inevitably is more strangulation in living conditions of ordinary people. It is hard to imagine the utopia of a happy life in Kashmir when basic services like health and automatic provision of utilities taken for granted in all civilized countries are tenuous. It is an affront to human dignity to herd outside gas cylinder depots when these people should be doing an honest day’s work or making a contribution to society.
Finance Minister Mr. Chidambaram made a dismal prophecy of Current a/c deficit at 5.3 % of GDP, hoping to put remedial measures in place with fiscal consolidation and raising fund reserves from disinvestment and sale of spectrum. Disinvestment would amount to withdrawing from planned projects or income earning devices. There would be no parking of funds so as to stir the markets into activity. It is an ambiguous speculation to understand where those assets are to disinvest from.
In his ambitious forecast he would raise 30,000 crores and 40,000 crores respectively from these sources and steer the economy back on tract. He announced to the nation a breakdown of fiscal management policy, the log roll mechanisms and priorities framed at his level. It will shock the country when expenditure heads for policing, security, containment of democratic voices, anti-rioting gadgetry, defense, and enhancement of peremptory imagery are made known. What benefit does the largest democracy in the world with peace at home and abroad derive with 10,000 anti-tank missile systems for a price of 1200 crores purchased from Russia? This is only the tip of the iceberg. This docking of national resources leaves ordinary masses beret of essential help towards a dignified survival. There is a colossal growth of beggars on the streets everywhere including Kashmir. There is evidence of more destitution and economy related crime. Dr Farooq Abdullah the Union Minister for New and renewable energy on the eve of a sensitive time for him when India was making changes in the cabinet and a keen nationalist leader made the statement that GOI has no funds to scrap LPG cap (GK 23 Oct. 12) for Kashmir.
In the aftermath of six decades of independence ordinary people suffer from ordinary basic need for living. How many projects have been conceived in Kashmir in the past years that were aborted and yielding harmful results? Existing under political paramountcy, even its natural resources like power are mortgaged with paltry water usage charges. The existing infrastructure is not supporting life in Kashmir because of ill-conceived and impetuous planning. We look at the problems as they exist now and not think ahead. One example to elucidate would be the M1 motorway in England built in early forties. They anticipated traffic volume to rise ten years ahead and made four lanes each side. In Kashmir we are cramming one million vehicles and pouring in more everyday on worn out century old roads with fatalities everyday and everywhere. We put wrong remedies into play like building illegal speed breakers and faulty control mechanisms. What will happen in ten years ahead is unknown and has only to be dreaded.
HDI in Kashmir is plummeting while younger people disappear or die and people slide down the slope of inflation and erosion of local produce and we still bask in the historical revelations of Father Jerome Xavier, the priest who accompanied Akbar’s invasion force in June 1589 and wrote; “Caximir (Kashmir) was rich with natural beauty, pastures, orchards, gardens, waterways , countless springs, lakes and rivers but with a cruel irony that people are starving’ and I would add suffering the perils of peremptory incarceration.
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Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 9 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST
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