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A new Kashmir: One year after abrogation of Article 370 and 35(A)

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A week after the official abrogation of Article 370 and 35(A) from the state of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into the union territories of “Jammu and Kashmir” and “Ladakh”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Red Fort on the Independence Day said that finally the dream of One Nation, One Constitution had became a reality. 

For last several years, the state of Jammu and Kashmir remained as the land of terrorism and separatism. The heaven on earth has been turned into the netherworld thus impacting the social and economic development of the region. 

Before I list out what all developments have taken place since the abrogation, let us first understand what Article 370 and 35(A) are and how it impacted the region negatively?

– It provided dual citizenship to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, one of J&K and the other of India

– They had a different flag and criticising the Indian Tricolour was not a crime in J&K

– Elections were conducted every 6 years

– Indian Supreme court rules were not applicable in J&K

– If a Kshmiri girl married a non- Kashmiri Indian man, she lost her citizenship but If she married a Pakistani man, her husband got the customary citizenship of Kashmir

– Kashmir Pandits didn’t have any power, there was no reservation for minorities in the state.

– A person who was not a permanent resident of the state could not buy land, obtain job or apply in government colleges in the state of Jammu and Kashmir

As a result of these rules, the Kashmir remained an alien land to Industrailists and investors, there were no jobs thus driving youth towards terrorism. There was more corruption as compared to other states in India, the GDP was very low and the Indian government had control only over defense foreign affairs.

On 5th August, 2019, Union Home Minsiter Amit Shah tabled a resolution in the Parliament to abrogate Article 370 and 35(A) thus revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. 351 members of Lok Sabha supported the bill while only  72 voted against it.

International Media was critical of this decision and slammed the Indian government. At times it felt that these opinions and negative coverage were motivated and targetted at Narendra Modi.

Al Jazeera came out with a piece titled “Darkest Day: Uproar as India strips Kashmir of special status.”

Another international publication The Independent in its article  wrote that “From India’s perspective, the conundrum of Kashmir has been resolved – but in reality, the worst is yet to come”.

The Indian media too focused on the immediate side effects of the decision such as shutdowns and ban on internet, and photos of sponsored violence won prizes. But what International and Indian media missed since then is the development that has taken place in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

I am going to discuss in brief  some of the developments:

– Agriculture operatins are going on smoothly, 18.34 lakh MTs of Fresh apples have been dispatched through National Agricultural Marketing Federation of India.

– The sericulture sector recorded a production of 813 MTs of silk cocoon in 2019.

– During the first quarter of FY 2019-20, handicrafts worth Rs. 688.26 crores were exported.

– Under the  Pradhan Mantri Awas yojana, more than 24000 houses have been built.

– The work of establishing connectivity, irrigation, hospitability, tourism-related schemes is in process.

– The work on developing institutions of higher educations like IITs, IIMs, AIIMS is going at speed.

– In order to boost tourism, Ministry of Tourism sanctioned Rs. 594 crores for 7 projects under SWADESH DARSHAN and PRASHAD schemes.

– GOI has issued a certificate of GI registration for the saffron grown in Kashmir.

Apart from all these, Jammu and Kashmir is going to witness a major boost in transport infrastructure. Several projects like satellite townships, Light Rail Transit System (LRTS) corridors etc, railway line, Zojila Pass tunnel have already been approved.

On 15th March 2020, Union Home Minister Amit Shah met a delegation from J&K and assured them that NDA government will take overall steps for the development of the region. He said that the demographic change in the state is temporary and assured that he will work with all the sections of the society to realise the hopes of statehood for J&K at an early opportunity.

So, we are moving rapidly towards a better and beautiful heaven on earth. People of Kashmir need to be a little more patient and supportive towards the Indian government.

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