As we all know, because of article 370, some of the Indian laws applicable to other states did not apply to J & K, and hence many of the benefits enjoyed by the rest of the country did not apply to so many deserving people in J&K. They were deprived of different schemes meant for empowerment. In Kashmiri, the Azadi faction became prominent & was vulnerable to the external influence from Pakistan. Pakistan has been using these people & their sentiments in proxy war & kept the region unstable & volatile for 30 years. The decision of abrogation of 370 on Aug 5, 2019, struck the root cause to negate this.
Abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A was truly a landmark political decision and has effectively integrated J&K into the Union of India. It is but natural that with such a big decision there is going to be a discussion as to” what we have gained & lost “.The focus areas for such a discussion were development, infrastructure, grass-root political system, tourism, creation of jobs, relative freedom, education, and perhaps a few more.
Now let us analyze what kind of changes have taken place as an outcome of this big decision & the status of these changes for 1 year
Initiatives by the Central Government –
Previously 354 State laws were in place in the Jammu and Kashmir. After the abrogation of article 370, major law structure is changed to make it an integral part of India. Some laws were revoked (164), some laws were modified ( 138) & new central laws are made applicable. Minorities were deprived of the educational facilities & now there is an increase of 262% in the scholarships for minority community. To increase participation from the people, the government has set up five corporations & a package worth Rs 1000 Cr has been provided.
Since the sub-nationalism sentiment is curbed to a great extent, there is a considerable drop in terrorist activities. Secondly, a strong measure by the security forces has also helped achieve major success against terrorism. The terrorist activities in the valley got reduced substantially ( 36%). This was confirmed by a report from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Terror related incidences got reduced from 188 to 120, grenade attacks got reduced from 51 to 21, security personnel & civilians killed in attacks got reduced from 98 to 57.
Since Jan 20, Security forces have also achieved a major success in eliminating some of the dangerous terrorists like Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo & many of the commanders of different terror outfits. There is also a 40 % drop seen in Kashmiri youths joining militant camps.
Domicile certificate issued: To facilitate people to avail facilities given by the administration,lots of efforts are taken. To create a database & to confirm that the facilities reach to right people (resident of J&K or UT) domicile certificates are issued to over 4 lac people in Jammu and Kashmir.
. Job vacancies: Jammu and Kashmir administration have in the first phase, identified over 10,000 vacancies at all levels for recruitment in various departments.
7th pay commission salary: Because of the abrogation of 370, all the schemes by the central government are now applicable to J&K people & as a part of this 7th Central Pay Commission is applicable to the respective people of J&K. Over 3 L employees will be benefited.
These are some of the positive things which happened after the abrogation of article 370, but there some things which need to be improved. Some of those areas below.
Tourism: The tourism sector is adversely impacted. This trend has been there before the abrogation of 370 & has continued. The tourism industry has already incurred a big loss of approximately 1000 Cr. It was multiplied further by the pandemic. This needs improvement & focus.
Horticulture and Handicrafts: This is a very big industry in J&K. Horticulture is a source of income for about 30L people in Kashmir. The handicraft industry runs on highly skilled artisans & around 2L people earn their livelihood. Due to lockdown ( to control Covid19 transmission) access to raw material got disrupted & these artisans have lost their jobs. Exports are also adversely impacted because of logistics.
Kashmir economy and job loss: Even before the lockdown that is between August & Oct 19 Kashmir’s economy suffered a loss of Rs 17,800 Cr and 4.9 L jobs were lost. This was confirmed according Preliminary Economic Assessment Loss Report submitted in December last year,
Connectivity: Though it was shut for security reasons, the fact is, people could not avail the telecom facility Over and above this, some external factors like Pandemic have made the situation more difficult.
So far we have discussed the things that happened over a year, but there are some big projects declared by the Central government, which are yet to commence. These projects will benefit the region further in a great way.
Some of those are
- The Railway bridge over river Chenab will be ready BY 2021 and people from the valley will get connected to the rest of India by train services by 2022.
- Long-awaited n Shahpur-Kandi, an electricity, and irrigation project has started.
- 15 power projects & others worth Rs 10,000 Cr have been inaugurated in September 2019.
In analyzing the situation after the abrogation of Article 370, we have to consider that such a bold decision which was taken after almost 3 decades, where successive governments failed, will take some time to achieve the expected results.
We have discussed both, positive points & the things which require improvements & also the various projects planned which are of a longer duration.
In all, we can say that things are moving in the right direction, though pandemic has slowed down some of them, but to achieve the expected results may require more time. We of course can be complacent, the Central government has to reach out & review the situation frequently do more handholding