Revocation of Article 370 will bring pvt investment, jobs to Kashmir. By Farooq Ganderbali

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Article 370 of the Constitution which was revoked by the Center government last month had blocked all private investments in Jammu and Kashmir from the outside for the last seven decades, which hugely impacted economic condition of the state. As 70 percent of the population of Jammu and Kashmir is below the age of 35, the state lacks infrastructure to create jobs for them. The age group of 15-24 years covers 60 percent of population that falls under the unemployment bracket in 10 districts of Kashmir valley since the eruption of insurgency in 1990s.

Lack of private sector investment is one of the major reasons why Kashmir lacks job opportunities for its youth. In the absence of private investment from outside the state, infrastructure in the state remained under-developed. Horrible road connectivity and frequent power cuts ensured that Kashmir ranks 29th in the list of Indian states and union territories on the ease of doing business index.

As the contribution of private sector in job creation is dismal and negligible in the state, only alternative for the youth was government sector. Lakhs of educated youth in the state have over the years been hankering for government jobs which are limited in number. And unfortunately for these youth, even the limited number of government jobs too were given by Kashmiri politicians to their dear ones leaving majority in lurch.

Thousands of well qualified youth in the state have already crossed the upper age limit and have lost all the hopes of getting employment. Their hopes have been rekindled after the revocation of Article 370 as they are well aware that private investment will bring lot of jobs to the state. Another good news for meritorious students is that under the new system, only merit will prevail.

Statistics reveal that expenditure of the state government has been a whopping 57 percent of the GDP largely due to absence of private sector. J&K is the biggest beneficiary of the grants by the Central government. The state receives 10 percent of all central government funds with merely one percent of the total population.

However, despite massive spending by the Central government all these decades in the state, the condition of various infrastructural projects remains dismal. For instance, 226 metre bridge in the Sopore area of North Kashmir took 24-years to complete. Similarly, hundreds of other developmental projects were left midway. Till now Article 370 provided immunity to the ruling elite of the state as there was no accountability. For decades a few elite families looted the resources of the state with impunity.

In various Central government sponsored projects and schemes meant for the welfare of the people of J&K, there have been huge bungling. Most portion of the massive central funding to the state in the last 70 years has gone in the pockets of few elites in Kashmir, who for their own interests kept the common man hostage. They kept on feeding them with hollow and emotional slogans while making fortunes for themselves and their dear ones.

The revocation of Article 370 will bring strong order in improving the overall economic condition of the state and will invite more investment and creation of jobs. It has also ended years of mis-governance in the state due to which J&K remained under-developed. Today Kashmiri youth in lakhs are working outside the state in private sector as they had no opportunities in their native places. However, now that day is not far-away when not only there will enough jobs in private sector in Kashmir for locals, but for surplus work people from other states will comes here.

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