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HomeIndiaPost Article 370 abrogation, J&K marching forward on development path.

Post Article 370 abrogation, J&K marching forward on development path.

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 Jammu and Kashmir will be observing the fourth anniversary of the revocation of Articles 370 and 35A that had controversially given this strategically located erstwhile state a much criticised and controversial Special Status.

This included a right to fly its own flag; to have its own Constitution and control over all internal administrative matters with the exception of foreign affairs and defence.

Has this reorganisation of J&K and Ladakh int0 two separate union territories actually benefited its local citizens in particular and the nation as a whole is a question often asked?

A majority today believe that the Narendra Modi-led central government’s move to abrogate discriminatory and self-serving sections of Article 370 and Article 35-A, has helped to restore peace and stability, maintain focus on development, economic growth and cultural resurgence.

Most have viewed it as history in the making for a region that not too long ago was riven with unmitigated violence, civil discontent and unrest, instability and unfathomable economic distress.

Today, both UTs have become fully integrated with the national mainstream and rights enshrined and guaranteed in India’s Constitution are being enjoyed by its people at par with other citizens of the country.

The socio-economic changes initiated since the latter half of 2019 have brought about development at a remarkable pace, empowered the people, and obliterated unjust laws and ended years and decades of discrimination. Without a shadow of doubt we can say that J&K’s march on the path to peace, stability and progress has been comprehensive and non-negotiable.

Between November 1, 2019 and the last week of June 2023, we have seen the Centre and the UT administration jointly initiate the introduction of a three-tier system of grassroots-level democracy by holding of elections in Panchayati Raj institutions (of Panches & Sarpanches, Block Development Councils (BDCs) and District Development Councils (DDCs), conduct a Delimitation Exercise that has led to a redrawing of boundaries of assembly and Lok Sabha seats to better reflect representative changes in population as per law, infrastructural development on a monumental and humungous scale that has far surpassed the scale of development indices prior to 2019, socio-economic, sports and education uplift, and reinvigorated cultural renaissance, besides other lesser known benefits.

The signature event for Jammu and Kashmir, however, has been its success in hosting the epoch-making third of four G20 tourism working group meetings in the last week of May this year.

Viewed in the context of the challenges that exist in organising a global-scale event, the administration of J&K and other stakeholders creditably managed to pull off the G20 meeting, measuring up to the expectations expected of it.

The eventful three days, i.e., from May 22 to 24, saw G20 delegates not only discussing the next steps required for the promotion of tourism and hospitality globally, but also them undertaking a tour of Srinagar’s business district (markets), and interacting with a cross-section of civil society to get a first-hand account of how they felt about the changed scenario in J&K. Most of the 60-odd delegates have since travelled back to their respective countries and given glowing accounts of this on the ground changes taking place to their governments.

Delegates were given a feel of “Naya (New) Kashmir under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UT Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and left with memories for a lifetime.

This awe inspiring bird’s eye view of Kashmir and it’s as yet unexplored tourism and hospitality potential, besides the luxurious experience of moving around in the lap of pristine nature, has in a way shown that J&K is on the fast track to peace and development, and that scant regard must be paid to misconceptions and misinformation projected by our not so friendly neighbour across the border.

From a security aspect, efforts have been put in to ensure that drills are conducted in a seamless, efficient and effective manner to ensure a trouble-free environment. There have been sporadic incidents of terrorism, but they must be considered negligible when compared to the pogroms of violence in the pre-2019 period.

A top class and well-coordinated security drill has helped to open new vistas and given hope to the people for the future. The anti-Kashmir narrative is being put to sleep in a determined and measured way.

Film tourism, handicrafts and handlooms have got a boost. The educated youth of J&K are getting jobs. Kashmir has untapped potential for films for the next 100 years, which can be exploited in favour of its youth.

Militancy in Kashmir is on its last legs and in the near future, the region can expect complete freedom from this debilitating scourge. The days of strikes and stone pelting are over, and as Home Minister Amit Shah recently said, the youth of Kashmir are now opting for laptops and access to other streams of knowledge and occupation to lead more stabilised lives.

PM Modi’s slogan of Sab ka Sath Sab ka Vikas now resonates across the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir and is showing positive and desirable results.

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