Srinagar: After the abrogation of Article 370 the Central Government is continuously pumping monetary resources and taking policy initiatives to rejuvenate the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. It allocated Rs 35,581.44 crore in the Budget of FY 2022-23 to J&K as part of Central government’s assistance, grants and loans.
The Indian government approved on March 23 a mammoth Rs 1.42 lakh crore for FY 2022-23 with several new development initiatives. The total expenditure in the J&K FY 2022-23 budget was estimated at Rs 1,12,950 crore which includes Rs 41,335 crore on development expenditure.
Infrastructure development in J&K got a big push after the abrogation of Article 370 and since then the government has announced a lot of development projects and policies in the J&K region. The sincerity of the Central government in development in J&K is reflected in the fact 34 per cent of the receipt for J&K Budget for FY 2022-23 estimated at Rs 68,206 crore would come from the Centre as grants.
Earlier, the underdeveloped strategic highways had added to the worries of the region’s agriculture and horticulture sectors as the movement of fruits takes an inordinately long time to be exported. But now that fear is giving way to hope as the government is pursuing construction of major highways with priority.
National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) is developing five tunnels in the UT at a cost of USD 3.42 million. The tunnels will have all weather access and will be completed by 2024. An elevated light metro rail system is expected to be rolled out in 2022-23 to reduce the traffic congestion in Srinagar and Jammu. The foundation stone has been laid out for the construction of 25 National Highway projects.
The execution of new roads, tunnels and other basic Infrastructure in J&K has gained momentum. It’s three years now since abrogation of Article 370 and the Union Territory has also seen overall development like speedy construction of highways, improvement of the healthcare and education sector with world-class infrastructure and more participation in sports activities by the local youth. There are 53 projects in various sectors such as roads, power, health, education, tourism, agriculture, skill development being implemented in Jammu & Kashmir.
Investors from the rest of the country and even abroad have been showing keen interest in Jammu & Kashmir. In March 2022, the UAE pledged to invest USD 391.8 million in J&K. After the abrogation of Article 370, six agreements with global investors were signed at Expo 2020 Dubai for investment in real estate, infrastructure, tourism, healthcare and manpower employment, etc.
In April 2021, the government of Jammu & Kashmir signed 456 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with various firms for a potential investment worth USD 3.17 billion. Kashmir is today coming up as one of the most potential destinations for investment in India. Today, there are investment proposals worth Rs 31,000 crore under consideration and schemes worth Rs 28,400 crore. All these programmes are likely to generate more than 5 lakh employment in the J&K region.
The J&K economy is primarily services based,centred around tourism and agri-oriented. It is blessed with a vast natural resource base which can be used to develop land for cultivating major fruits. J&K has an ideal climate for floriculture and an enormous assortment of flora and fauna. With varied agro-climatic conditions, the scope for horticulture is significantly high in J&K, which are now being focussed for exploitation. Food processing and agro-based industries thrive in the region. The Union Territory, J&K, has Asia’s largest tulip garden, which is another area of attraction for the tourists.
The government is also focussing on revival of the lead economic activity of the UT. In 2021-22, the J&K Budget made an allocation of Rs 786 crore to tourism. It was Rs 500 crore more than the previous year. The tourist football in 2021 was the highest in seven years with 6.65 lakh tourists visiting the UT. In a bid to revamp tourism in the Anantnag district of South Kashmir, the J&K administration started building infrastructure under the Prime Minister’s development project at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore.
J&K is fast moving towards progress and prosperity after abrogation of Article 370. The present government has not only instituted democracy and decentralisation through Panchayati Raj in the UT of J&K but has also accelerated development besides restoring peace and security. (IANS)