A decade ago while analyzing the development scenario in Jammu and Kashmir, the Planning Commission (Now NITI Aayog) lamented the slow growth in the region and attributed it to various factors. It said the climate of armed militancy in Kashmir and low productivity in agriculture and allied sectors has impeded employment and income generation. Poor industrial infrastructure along with the poor investment climate has left the industrial sector in its infant stage.
It mentioned that there has not been a suitable strategy for the potential sectors to achieve higher economic growth. It further mentioned that the lack of good governance and sound fiscal management has also been responsible for the poor economic growth of the state.
The J&K region has never been famous for its infrastructure, job opportunities and professional colleges since Independence of India. Previous government who ruled JK almost for more than six decade were busy in there politics than development ,After the abrogation of article 370, J&K has been transforming from a ‘separate state’ to a ‘super state’.
Since 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has been able to address the ills as mentioned by the NITI Ayog, more than a decade ago in the report entitled Jammu and Kashmir Development Report.
During the past two years, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been marching on the path of development as a result of the government’s initiatives, which included various developmental schemes executed under the Prime Minister Development Package (PMDP) focusing on individual beneficiaries and reviving long-pending projects lying dormant for several decades by removing the obstacles, through ensuring effective and transparent administration.
Both the Union and the UT governments have been leveraging technology to provide several benefits to the local population of the UT. In the field of IT, several procedures have been framed such as providing
“subsidy on rent” to the outside investors, building two large sizes IT parks (spread over half a million square feet) — one each in Jammu and Srinagar that will give a huge boost to transforming the lives of youth of jammu and kashmir and will give a big kick back to employment opportunities in jammu and kashmir
Among some other initiatives, the UT administration also released a real estate policy equipped with a transparent bidding process to disburse government-created “land banks” to private developers. The all-around developmental approach adopted by the J&K government has a special focus on developing a network of roads and highways only.
To ensure growth in the valley and enable the UT to come at par with the other states of the country, have been infused with new life.
In 2015, a huge package of Rs.800 billion was allocated by the Modi government to the state government for initiating various development projects. PM Modi had expressed his “heartfelt desire” that the J&K government would utilize this grant for the welfare of the Kashmiris and convert J&K into a modern, prosperous and progressive place. While allocating the grant, PM Modi had stated that “Not only our treasury, but our heart also beats for the people of Kashmir”.
Huge financial package allocated to JK government
However, in the first four years (2015 – 2019) the J&K government could spend only 37 per cent of the huge financial package, under which several developmental works were to be completed by the end of 2020.
According to the official figures, only 18 out of a total of 63 projects could be completed with the help of Rs300.49 billion that was released till March 31, 2019, for J&K. In 2020, the parliamentary panel had expressed dismay over the slow pace of work under the package.
The benefits of the merger of J&K with the Union of India have started to trickle down to the people. After Aug. 5, 2019, the J&K government received investment proposals worth Rs.150 billion from around 40 companies from sectors like Information Technology, Defense, Renewable Energy, Tourism, Skill, Education, Hospitality, and infrastructure.
During the past two years, the J&K government has achieved 100 per cent household electrification with 24×7 power for all. Household water connections have reached 43 per cent of rural households which is double the national average of 21% road map has been prepared to ensure 100 per cent coverage of piped water supply to all 10816 million rural households by December 2021.
The modi government in February 2020 approved Rs60 billion for a multi-purpose irrigation cum power project in J&K’s Kathua district.
Since 2014, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has been in charge of power projects to overcome the acute shortage of electricity in J&K.
Since 2019, the government has undertaken a holistic approach for all-around human development in the UT covering crucial sectors like education, healthcare, employment generation, tourism, industrial growth among others. To provide quality education to Kashmiri children and youth, the government has established hundreds of schools and 50 new educational institutions offering 25,000 seats to students, launched scholarship schemes benefitting more than half a million students so far.
Funded by the PMDP package, a new Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) are coming up in the UT.
Similarly, in the medical education field, 02 All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), 07 new medical colleges, 05 new nursing colleges and a state cancer institute are being constructed for better healthcare services to the J&K people.
The idea of India in Kashmir and Plural Kashmir’s ethos is meaningless for Kashmiri society and rest of the world unless the Exiled Kashmiri Pandits are physically repatriated back to homeland with dignity and political-economic empowerment.Exiled population is longing to return.Three decades is a long enough exile.If not now then when? Say the Kashmiri intelligentsia.
The enactment of the law regarding Zila Parishads under the Panchayati Raj system and itsextension to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370/35A was a great step aimed at introducing grass-root level democracy and administration. In other words, it means taking the governance to the doorstep of the people living in the remotest corner of the UT.
Though it is being done for the first time in J&K that the three-tier Panchayati Raj stands implemented, yet the people in the UT have responded like mature and responsible citizens and voters in the whole process of elections. The near normal and peaceful election process has added to the happy and satisfactory situation for all concerned.
An overall percentage of 50% voting in the UT despite severe cold, Covid19 situation and the background of the boycott politics in the valley, in particular, is not a mean achievement.
Kashmiri are fed up of ongoing terror violence for more than three decades and are longing for peace and peaceful right to life and liberty.
They see GOI policy as a promising land of opportunities. people of Kashmir Valley have chosen democracy,the mainstream political narrative and liberal Sufi Islamic way of life and have once again rejected the separatist rhetoric and religious extremism.
Challenges ahead for PM Modi
Since the abrogation of Article 370, the people of J&K looking forward for the 4g mobile network. In this contemporary world, where the Internet is one of the most vital organs of your life hope J&K govt must resolve this issue asap to the,Due to unavailability of 4g, it has impacted many business and online education too. This is one of the major challenges that current dispensation has been facing since the abrogation of Article 370.
GOI needs to persuade with big groups like Tata, Reliance, Baja, Mahindra, Infosys, Wipro, Maruti to invest in J&K. But to lure all these Industrialists to invest their money, govt must give them assurance of security, 24*7 of electricity, Internet and friendly environment to create jobs for the youths of J&K.
New Delhi is doing its best to win heart and mind of Kashmiri people but people from valley
have to make extra efforts to defeat terrorism and separatism they should create peaceful atmosphere for new beginning and regaining there land lost glory!