To boost up development in the newly bifurcated state turned union territory J&K and Ladakh the government is could soon announce an economic package exceeding Rs 1 lakh crore. There are also speculations that big brands and industrialists will invest in the valley after the after Centre on Monday scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
View More:A Note on Kashmir after Article 370
The special developmental plan for Jammu & Kashmir has been worked out investments are likely to be made for the setting up of industries, state of the art educational institutes, healthcare facilities, etc. The government believes, the change in administrative status, in the region will have a positive impact on the ease of doing business as it would give industry ownership of establishments and will encourage hiring.
Union Home Minister in his parliament speech stressed that because of article 370, 35 A which put restrictions on land purchase the tourism did not develop. It is seen that the decision will allow any individual from other parts of the country to do businesses as per the laws of Union of India, and will allow them to operate freely operate under the same rules of business, in the union territories of J&K and Ladakh. Until now small scale industries make a large part of Kashmir’s economy. These units manufacture food products, beverages, machinery, plastic goods, chemicals, drug, paper machine products, silk, cement, bricks, and tiles. But after the abrogation of article 370 big industrialists and corporate like Helmet maker steel bird has offered to set up a plant in J&K.
The Modi government has the plan to transform Kashmir into the Switzerland of the Indian subcontinent by tapping its potential for tourism, sericulture, horticulture, and food processing, the officials said, listing details of the plan. To execute the mentioned plan, an investor’s summit has been planned in J&K in October, in which major industrial groups like ITC, Tata Group, Suzlon Energy, Mahindra Agrotech, UltraTech Cement, and Radisson Hotels are expected to participate and unveil concrete ideas for investment. It is said that the Summit will provide an opportunity to showcase its strengths, strategies, and potential of the region. it will strengthen the friendly business policies of the government, provide an opportunity Participating trade and industry organizations will come to know firsthand about the business-friendly policies of the government, assess infrastructure, natural resources, raw material and skill and unskilled manpower available and identify business opportunities in the State. It will present immense opportunities to develop contacts between the State and business community and between the local and outside business community. For the State like J&K, the Investor Summit will provide an opportunity to allay fear and apprehensions from the minds of outside trade and the business community.”
Amit Shah’s speech in Parliament healthcare is crippled in Jammu and Kashmir as no private hospital could be set up due to Articles 370, 35A and has added poor healthcare, poverty, lack of doctors. However, going by statistics life expectancy, Infant mortality rate, Poverty rate, people served by doctors, rural unemployment rate, Human development index are better than many states of India.
In J&K, to provide necessary healthcare there is already a number of government hospitals like Associated Hospitals of Govt. Medical College Srinagar like Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (S.M.H.S) Hospital, Lal Ded Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Chest Disease Hospital Bone and Joints Hospital Barzullah Srinagar, SKIMS, Government Hospital for Children Srinagar, Sri Maharaja Gulab Singh (SMGS) Hospital , Medical College Hospital Jammu, which claim to cater more than 70% J&K’s patients . Also, there are many private hospitals in J&K with most of the facilities and are owned by the local stakeholders.
An important fact should not be ignored that J&K is a hilly area with a total of 19.9% of forest area. It should be kept in consideration that before moving ahead for further industrialization the balance between natural resource exploitation and conservation should be given a priority. we have already seen the fate due to unplanned development in other hill stations like Shimla where water level has exhausted at an alarming rate, the devastation caused by flood in Uttrakhand in 2013, Ooty is no better when it comes to water, another hill station Kodaikanal in had 5,000 residents two decades ago is not habituated by more than 40,000 now, Darjeeling, which was famous for both tea and lush glory, is now a concrete jungle, stifled by tourist traffic. The construction epidemic, over industrialization, creation of intrusive market has ruined the pureness of mountains polluting the air with sulfur dioxide fumes.
Another issue, which can arise, is challenging the waste industries will emit. If not addressed right away, it may become the major cause of pollution and contribute towards warming of the localized climate.
But at the same time when the whole country is in celebration mode and the government and investors are making new announcements, one cannot ignore that the country is already facing financial loss in various sectors. The worst-hit from an economic meltdown is the automobile and housing industry. In a recent interview, Pawan Goenka MD of Mahindra and Mahindra revealed that job losses are happening in four areas of the automobile sector as, original equipment makers, suppliers, dealers, and unorganized sector. As per different sources, car and motorcycle makers have laid off around 15,000 workers, several dealerships are shutting down resulting in loss of two lakh jobs across automobile dealership since May 2019. The residential segment is in a big mess, as demand crawls and supply is in abundance. The sector is grappling with various issues, namely liquidity deficit in the aftermath of IL&FS payment default, high cost of capital, below-par sales and a string of stalled projects
The banking sector is also not a good condition due to the heap of bad loans on the state-owned banks has tarnished the entire sector. RBI has already barred one of the banks, namely Dena Bank from lending any further loans and hiring any fresh employees. More than 36 percent (680,000) of registered companies in India have “closed” down as per the latest numbers provided by the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) in Parliament. Korean technology giant Samsung is reportedly going to sack 1,000 employees in India to cut costs and have already sacked 150-odd employees at its telecom networks division.
With the country already facing economic meltdown in most of its financial sector, the new investments in the conflict-ridden J&K with no immediate guarantee of profit can put the burden on the already dwindling present economic crisis.
The Article is written by Dr. Iram Rizvi who has a Ph.D. in Media and Journalism. She can be reached at [email protected]
(Opinions expressed in the article are personal and The Policy Times is not responsible for the data, facts, and opinions.)