The repeal of Article 370 has brought justice, democracy and economic development to the people of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The central government is constantly pumping out funds and taking policy initiatives to rejuvenate the economy of the Union Territory (UT). It has allocated Rs 35,581.44 crore to J&K under the Central Government support, grants and loans in FY2022-23 budget.
The Indian government approved a mammoth Rs 1.42 lakh crore for the 2022-23 financial year on March 23 with several new development initiatives. Total expenditures in the budget of J&K FY2022-23 were estimated at Rs. 1,12,950 crore, including Rs. 41,335 crore for development expenditures.
Infrastructure development in J&K has received a big boost after the repeal of Article 370, and since then the government has announced many development projects and measures in the J&K region. The central government’s sincerity in developing J&K is reflected in the fact that 34 per cent of the revenue for the FY2022-23 J&K budget, estimated at Rs 68,206 crore, would come as grants from the centre.
Previously, the underdeveloped strategic highways had added to the concerns of the region’s agricultural and horticultural sectors as fruit takes an inordinate amount of time to transport before it is exported. But now that fear is giving way to hope as the government prioritizes construction of key highways.
The National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) is developing five tunnels in the UT at a cost of US$3.42 million. The tunnels will be accessible in all weather conditions and will be completed by 2024. Elevated subway system to be launched in 2022-23 to ease traffic congestion in Srinagar and Jammu. Groundbreaking for the construction of 25 National Highway projects has been laid.
The execution of new roads, tunnels and other basic infrastructure in J&K has gained momentum. It has now been three years since Article 370 was repealed and the Union Territory has also seen general developments such as the rapid construction of highways, the improvement of health and education sectors with world-class infrastructure, and greater involvement of local youth in sporting activities . In Jammu and Kashmir, 53 projects are implemented in different sectors such as roads, energy, health, education, tourism, agriculture and skills development.
Investors from the rest of the country and even from abroad are showing great interest in Jammu & Kashmir. In March 2022, the UAE pledged to invest USD 391.8 million in J&K. After the repeal of Article 370, Expo 2020 Dubai signed six agreements with global investors on investments in real estate, infrastructure, tourism, healthcare and labor employment, etc.
In April 2021, the Government of Jammu & Kashmir signed 456 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with various companies for a potential investment worth US$3.17 billion. Kashmir is emerging as one of the most potential investment destinations in India today. Today investment proposals worth Rs 31,000 crore are being considered and plans worth Rs 28,400 crore. All of these programs are expected to create more than 5,000 jobs in the J&K region.
The J&K economy is mainly service-based, tourism-centric and agriculture-oriented. It is blessed with a vast natural resource base that can be used to open up land for growing important crops. J&K has an ideal climate for floriculture and an enormous variety of flora and fauna. With different agroclimatic conditions, the scope for horticulture in J&K now concentrated for exploitation is very high. Food processing and agricultural industries thrive in the region. The Union Territory, J&K has Asia’s largest tulip garden, which is another draw for tourists.
The government is also focused on reviving the UT’s leading economic activity. In 2021-22, the J&K budget allocated Rs 786 crore for tourism. It was Rs 500 crore more than last year. Tourist football in 2021 was the highest in seven years with 6.65 lakh tourists visiting UT. In order to revitalize tourism in Anantnag district of South Kashmir, the J&K government started infrastructure construction under the Prime Minister’s development project at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore.