2020 is over. For Jammu and Kashmir, it had started with the hope that things would be better for people having endured tumultuous 2019, particularly the latter half which was marked by effective revocation of Article 370 amid massive security and communication clampdown. The restrictions were eased to a large extent even as high-speed internet remains barred, incidentally completing 500 days as 2020 draws to an end. While people from all walks of life were expecting some semblance of normalcy to return to enable them make ends meet, covid-19 announced itself. It forced the world to impose lockdowns, ravaging economies, and life during the course.
Having already extracted a toll of nearly 1.81 million lives accompanied by an evisceration of livelihoods, the challenges remain enormous. Foretelling the economic future even as the pandemic rages remains an unenviable task.
The pandemic is also set to leave scars as and when it is finally overcome, even as fortunately a vaccine is already available and being rolled out in this part of the globe soon. The labour markets will surely take a long time to heal; lost schooling continues to impair human capital while normalizing of the business remains uncertain, more so for the tourism sector.
As per IMF, efforts to improve average living standards are certain to be severely set back. The pandemic is also set to widen inequality between economies and within nations.
People assume 2021 will usher in at least a little more cheer. In a world as interconnected as it is today, the cost of economic insularity would only be more protracted pain for all if efforts to ease it are not made. The people of Jammu and Kashmir would surely hope that high speed internet is resumed sooner than the later.
People also hope that environmental issues are addressed and the rot caused is at least rectified in this New Year.
Let 2021 witness some concrete progress against the wanton destruction caused to water bodies and fragile ecology due to construction activities. People need to respond to the alarming situation on this front. It is not only the prospect of food and water insecurity that looms large on the J&K but the shrinking green space and water bodies could affect Kashmir’s very fundamental image as a paradise on earth.
Corruption has been declared endemic in our society. In J&K it is worse and one hopes that action is taken against all persons alike, no matter if the corrupt holds a high position. Hopefully, there are changes for the better in this New Year.