Agro, Development accelerates in Kashmir
The average annual growth of Net State Domestic Product at current prices during 1980-81 to 1999-2000 was 12.45% for Jammu and Kashmir against 15.01%, 14.28% 13.83% and 14.3% for Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Kerala respectively.
In the case of the growth of Per Capita Net State Domestic Product at current prices also, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was lagging behind most Indian States.
In respect of the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a state of independent India, the state was given a special status under Article 370 of the Constitution under which the Indian Parliament could not make any laws for the state without the concurrence of the legislative assembly of J&K.
However, Article 370 was a “temporary provision” and the idea being that it would only stand until a decision on the final status of its statehood was taken. On August 5, 2019, the Centre used a provision within Article 370 itself to abrogate it.
One of the main reasons cited by the Central government for the revocation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, was that the law was an impediment to the development of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Central government had argued that by revoking Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir has been integrated with the rest of the country and set on the path of development.
After the reading down of Article 370, the Indian government at the Centre announced several ambitious policies to boost development in Jammu and Kashmir.
Among them was a 6,000-acre land bank for setting up industries and increasing manufacturing. More than half has been transferred to the department of industries and commerce—2,125 acres in Jammu and 1,000 acres in Kashmir. The move is in line with the Industrial Policy-2016, which envisaged the creation of a land bank of 20,000 canals (2,500 acres) across J& K.
The UT administration has identified 292 industrial zones in different districts of the UT. According to Allotment Policy 2021-30, of the total 292 industrial zones, 150 have been identified in 10 districts of Jammu division and 142 in 10 districts of Kashmir. The application for the allotment of land will be scrutinized by a committee within 30 days; for projects worth Rs 200 crore, the scrutiny period will be 45 days. The land will be allotted to the investors on lease for an initial period of 40 years, extendable to 99 years.
According to sources, 40 companies including Tata and Reliance, have shown interest in investment in Jammu and Kashmir in information technology, defense, renewable energy, tourism, skill development, education, hospitality and infrastructure and horticulture. There is scope for investment in the housing sector to accommodate small-time home buyers due to growing urbanization.
One of the major highlights of the last two years is the speeding up of the work on the Qazigund-Banihal tunnel on the treacherous Jammu-Srinagar highway.
On August 4, the 8.5 km tunnel, which will reduce travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by about 1.5 hours and distance by 16km, was thrown open for traffic for trials. Other flagship infrastructure projects, wherein the Centre and UT administration are keen to complete include the All-India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management
Other projects include the railway project at Udhampur-Srinagar- Baramulla, which will connect Kashmir to the rest of India. This rail project is expected to finish by August next year. Similarly, AIIMS campuses at Vijaypur, Jammu, and Awantipora in Kashmir shall be established by 2023 and 2025, respectively. The initiatives that are being taken by the Indian government to benefit youth and boost sports in the Union Territory include events like the winter games held last winter at world-famous tourist resort Gulmarg. Rs 200 Cr under the Prime Minister’s Development Package has been sanctioned for up gradation of sports infrastructure and encouragement of budding talent in the field.
After constructing a 500-bed Covid hospital in Jammu, DRDO completed the 500-bed hospital in Srinagar in just 17 days. The Covid facility in Srinagar houses all the requisite modern facilities. The hospital is centrally air-conditioned and has the capacity for 125 ICU beds. Out of 125 ICU beds, 25 are reserved for children and 375 beds have 24-hour oxygen connectivity. In a new initiative to prevent further degradation of Dal Lake, the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) has installed DRDO-made land-based bio-digesters in Telbal area of Dal Lake. The main purpose of these bio-digesters is to scientifically treat sewage generated from households situated along the lake, sewage which otherwise was directly flowing into one of the main inflow channels of the lake.