2021 is over. For Jammu and Kashmir, it had started with the hope that things would be better for people having endured tumultuous 2019 and 2020. The covid-19 restrictions were eased to a large extent. However, the middle part of the 2021 saw rise in covid-19, more so during April-May.
Having already extracted a heavy toll on lives accompanied by an evisceration of livelihoods, the challenges remain enormous. Foretelling the economic future even as the pandemic is not raging remains an unenviable task.
The pandemic is also set to leave scars as and when it is finally overcome, even as fortunately greater vaccination pace has been achieved. 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 amid new threat of omicron variant of the coronavirus. The variant, as per RBI, remains the major challenge along with rising inflation pressures.
The RBI has admitted that inflation remains a concern as it is caused by the build-up of cost-push pressures even as it called for stronger supply-side measures to contain food and energy prices.
The pandemic is also set to widen inequality between economies and within nations.
People assume 2022 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 for better days and that children find their way to schools.
People also hope that environmental issues are addressed and the rot caused is at least rectified in this New Year.
Let 2022 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 remains a cause of concern 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.