A Tale of Transformation

One of the most significant indicators of progress in the region has been the gradual restoration of normalcy.
The reduction in violence and tensions has provided a fertile ground for economic activities to flourish, fostering job creation and financial stability.
The reduction in violence and tensions has provided a fertile ground for economic activities to flourish, fostering job creation and financial stability. File


In the shadow of the mighty Himalayas lies a region that has long been synonymous with conflict and turmoil - Kashmir. For decades, this picturesque valley has been marred by violence, terrorism, and political instability.

However, recent years have witnessed a remarkable transformation, as the winds of change blow across this once-troubled land, gradually shifting its narrative from terrorism to development.

One of the most significant indicators of progress in the region has been the gradual restoration of normalcy. As the security situation improved, daily life saw a return to a sense of normalcy, allowing businesses to thrive, students to attend school without fear.

The reduction in violence and tensions has provided a fertile ground for economic activities to flourish, fostering job creation and financial stability.

The turning point in this journey was the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, a move that aimed to integrate Jammu and Kashmir fully into the Indian Union. While the political implications of this decision were widely debated, its impact on the region's socio-economic landscape has been undeniable.

One of the most significant shifts has been the focus on economic development and infrastructure because of the Indian government's push to attract investments. Initiatives such as the "Back to Village" program and the "Himayat" scheme have been rolled out to empower local communities and provide skill training to the youth, a crucial step in shaping a workforce capable of contributing to economic growth.

In 2021-22, J&K achieved a milestone of 50,726 projects which was five times higher than the 2018 figure of 9229 projects. In 2018-19, only 9,229 projects costing Rs 67,000 crore were completed.

Subsequently, in 2020-21, 21,943 projects with an expenditure of Rs 63,000 crore were completed. The financial year 2021-22 set a new record by completing 50,726 projects.

In the health sector, 16 medical colleges, 14 tertiary care hospitals, 20 district hospitals, 1578 other healthcare Institutions, two AIIMS, two state cancer institutes and 15 nursing colleges have been added after 2019.

The development of infrastructure, including roads and communication networks, has not only connected remote areas but has also facilitated trade and investment. Economic development has become a central focus, with investments pouring into sectors such as infrastructure, tourism, and technology.

The picturesque landscape of Kashmir, once marred by conflict, started to regain its status as a sought-after tourist destination. The development of new roadways, bridges, and connectivity projects opened up previously inaccessible areas, breathing new life into local economies.

The region's potential as a tourism hub has been rediscovered, with efforts to promote its natural beauty and cultural heritage. This has led to an increase in tourist arrivals, boosting local businesses and generating employment opportunities for the youth.

Tourism in Kashmir has transcended its traditional boundaries and now border tourism is gaining immense popularity in the region which is going to open doors for cultural exchange and understanding fostering peace and brotherhood across the Line of Control (LOC).

Visitors from all over the country are now drawn towards border areas of the region. Over 79 lakh tourists visited J&K between October 2021 to March 2022, which indicates that the prevailing situation is favourable to the growth of the tourism sector in the UT.

The mega G20 tourism meet which was held in Srinagar on May 22-24 recently has clearly caught the attention of international media giving a great boost to Kashmir tourism and local business.

Officials at the event described an economic renewal bolstered by an influx of more than 18 million tourists to Jammu and Kashmir last year, up from 7.7 million in 2008. It is believed that G20 summit is going to be an important step towards projecting Jammu and Kashmir as international film shooting destinations.

Education has also emerged as a key driver of transformation. The region's educational institutions have remained operational without any disruptions from past few years and the availability of seamless internet services has acted as a catalyst for the development in educational sector.

With an emphasis on quality education and skill development, Kashmiri youth are being empowered to compete on a global level. Scholarships, vocational training, and initiatives to enhance digital literacy are equipping them with the tools they need to succeed in an ever-evolving world.

The government on its part is effectively implementing all schemes and projects envisaging a notable improvement in the existing curriculum besides embarking upon various innovative new projects and works.

Kashmir is among the first in the country to fully implement the NEP, and Government has already in this regard called upon the colleges to reorient their curriculum and teaching methodologies and be ready to impart education in new courses which include technical, skill, language and other courses under the multidimensional approach of the NEP.

Entrepreneurship and innovation has began to flourish, showcasing the latent potential of the region. Education and youth empowerment has also emerged as critical pillars of change. The establishment of educational institutions and skill development centres has equipped young Kashmiris with the tools they needed to excel in various fields, reducing the appeal of extremist ideologies.

Moreover, the security situation has improved significantly, with a noticeable decline in terrorism-related incidents. This has created a conducive environment for both domestic and foreign investments.

Businesses are beginning to see Kashmir as a viable investment destination, leading to job creation and an overall economic upliftment.

Security forces, having faced constant challenges, redoubled their efforts to maintain law and order. Counter-terrorism operations became more targeted and efficient, resulting in a significant reduction in militancy-related incidents.

The people of Kashmir, too, played a vital role by rejecting the path of violence and embracing the prospects of a peaceful and prosperous future. The transition from terrorism to development is deeply intertwined with efforts to restore peace and stability.

Security agencies have been working tirelessly and the return of normalcy is enabling communities to rebuild their lives with a renewed sense of hope. The people of Kashmir are reclaiming public spaces, reviving cultural events, and engaging in economic activities without fear – a testament to their determination and resilience.

International recognition and support played a significant role in this transformation. The global community acknowledged and appreciated the steps taken to restore stability and promote development. Diplomatic efforts led to increased collaboration, fostering a sense of belonging and partnership.

However, challenges remain on the path to complete transformation. Reconciliation and healing the wounds of the past will take time. Building trust among all stakeholders, including the local population and the government, remains an ongoing effort.

The restoration of political and civil rights, as well as ensuring the participation of local communities in decision-making processes, will be crucial steps in sustaining this positive momentum.

While the decline in violence is a positive sign, it is essential to address the root causes of conflict and engage with dissenting voices constructively. Inclusivity, dialogue, and addressing the aspirations of all stakeholders will be crucial to sustaining the new found progress.

The journey from terrorism to development in Kashmir is ongoing and represents a multi-faceted endeavour that requires continuous commitment. As the region navigates this transformation, it serves as a powerful example of how change can be achieved even in the most challenging circumstances.

The true success of this journey will be measured not only by economic metrics but by the lasting peace and prosperity that its people can finally embrace.

While the path ahead may not be without obstacles, the region's gradual transformation offers hope and inspiration not only to its residents but to the world at large.

The story of Kashmir is no longer solely defined by conflict; it is now being rewritten with the ink of progress and promise. As the region continues to write this new chapter in its history, it serves as an inspiration to the world that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, transformation is not just possible – it is achievable with perseverance, unity, and a shared vision for a brighter tomorrow.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir