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Less militancy, more progress: Here's how Jammu & Kashmir changed in one year since Article 370 abrogation

On August 5, 2019, the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre revoked the special status granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Although much uproar was raised over its implementation back then, it has now been a year since the historic act, and statistics show that the situation in the valley is better than ever in the history of the land. Less militancy and more progress mark the region, now a union territory, as the administration's attempts for reform gradually take shape. Here we brief the major changes in Jammu and Kashmir since Article 370 abrogation.

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Less militancy, more progress: Here's how Jammu & Kashmir changed in one year since Article 370 abrogation
A man rows his boat in the waters of the Dal Lake on a cold winter morning in Srinagar. (Photo: Reuters)
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On August 5, 2019, the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre revoked the special status granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Although much uproar was raised over its implementation back then, it has now been a year since the historic act, and statistics show that the situation in the valley is better than ever in the history of the land. Less militancy and more progress mark the region, now a union territory, as the administration's attempts for reform gradually take shape. Here we brief the major changes in Jammu and Kashmir since Article 370 abrogation.

Among the major changes, one that needs a special mention is that out of 354 erstwhile state laws in Jammu and Kashmir, 164 laws have been repealed, 138 laws have been modified while 170 central laws have been made applicable.

There has been a 262% increase in minority scholarships. Also, five corporations have been set up to unbundle power department corporations, and government funds worth Rs 1000 crores parked outside have been located and channeled into the consolidated fund.

Terrorist Elimination

Incidents of violence have reduced significantly in Kashmir valley after August 5 and security forces have achieved major success against terrorists, according to Union Ministry of Home Affairs report, which also noted that terror-related activities have reduced by around 36% in the valley after the abrogation of Article 370. 

188 terror-related incidences were recorded in Kashmir valley from January 1 till July 15, 2019, and this number has reduced to 120 in 2020, said the MHA report, adding that 126 terrorists were killed in Kashmir during the same period in 2019 while 136 terrorists were eliminated during the same time period in 2020.

51 grenade attacks took place in Kashmir from January 1 till July 15, 2019, while in 2020 the number has reduced to just 21. 

In 2019, 75 security personnel and 23 civilians were killed from January 1 till July 15 in Kashmir valley, while 35 jawans and 22 civilians were killed in the same time period in 2020. 

The number of IED attacks has also reduced significantly as only one IED attack took place in Kashmir from January 1 till July 15, 2020. The number of IED attacks during the same period in 2019 was six.

A total of 110 local terrorists have been killed in Kashmir in 2020 so far, including over 50 from Hizbul Mujahideen and around 20 each from Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. At least 14 terrorists from ISJK and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind were also eliminated by security forces during the same period. 

Overall, 148 terrorists have been killed since January 2020 in the Valley as of July 30. Of these, 48 terrorists were killed in the month of June alone. 

Some wanted terrorists like Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo, Lashkar commander Haider, Jaish commander Kari Yasir and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind Burhan Koka have been killed by security forces in 2020. The security forces have also busted 22 terror hideouts till July 15 besides recovering 190 weapons, including several AK 47 rifles.

Less youth joining militant groups

There has been a 40% decrease in the involvement of local youth in terrorist organizations as only 67 youths of Kashmir valley were brainwashed and made to pick up guns against India.

Job openings coming up

Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said that over 10,000 vacancies at all levels have been identified for recruitment in various departments in the first phase. Notably, the administrative council has approved a simple and efficient procedure for filling up of class IV vacancies.

The Union Territory administration has decided to provide reservations to Pahari-speaking people (four percent) and economically weaker sections (10 percent). So far, the reservation was available only to people living in villages on the Line of Control, but it has been extended to those living on the international border, benefiting nearly 70,000 families.

More than three lakh Jammu and Kashmir government employees are now getting benefits under the 7th Central Pay Commission.

Major projects initiated

The world’s highest railway bridge over river Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir will be ready by next year and is expected to connect the Valley with the rest of India by train for the first time by 2022. The bridge, which has a central span of 467 meters, is being built at a height of 359 meters from the bed level.

In July this year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated six bridges in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that development of remote areas in the region will continue to be a "key priority" for the NDA government.

Work on Shahpur-Kandi, electricity, and irrigation project hanging for five decades, has started. The Ujh project has been fast-tracked. And the metro rail is on its way to Srinagar and Jammu.

Jammu and Kashmir have recouped Rs 100 crore from stamp duty and registration fees after the reform in the land registration process. Urban local bodies are also changing. Municipal committees can now approve projects of up to Rs five crore. Transparent e-tendering has also been made mandatory

The government introduced an array of insurance schemes including the Atal Pension Yojana has also been introduced in the newly carved Union Territory. The Centre launched 85 people-oriented development schemes, like PM-KISAN, PM-KISAN-Pension, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, and Stand-Up India in Jammu and Kashmir.

Union Power Minister RK Singh and Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik jointly inaugurated 15 power projects and laid the foundation stone for 20 others worth Rs 10,000 crore in September 2019.

3,000 government jobs created for the Kashmiri migrants at an outlay of Rs 1,080 crores. As per the information provided by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir, the selection process has been concluded in respect of 1781 posts and 604 candidates have joined in different departments as on 22nd February 2020. These jobs are in addition to the 3000 state government jobs approved under the Prime Minister's package-2008, against which 2,905 jobs have been filled, according to MoS for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy. 

Welfare of Kashmiri Pandits

Construction of 6,000 transit accommodations at an outlay of Rs 920 crores for accommodating 3000 Kashmiri migrants employed under PMRP- 2008 and for 3000 additional migrants under PMDP-2015. 849 flats have already been constructed. 

The Centre also reimburses monthly cash relief to the eligible Kashmiri migrants settled in Jammu. Since the year 2014, the monthly cash relief has been enhanced twice i.e. from Rs 6600/- per family to Rs 10,000/- per family in 2015 and to Rs 13,000/- per family in 2018. In addition, the dry ration is also provided to these Kashmiri migrants.

Farmer Welfare

The central government has approved a nearly Rs 6,000 crore multi-purpose project in February 2020 to provide uninterrupted water for irrigation to farmers in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district and to produce power, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said.

Boost to Kashmir's economy

According to the Preliminary Economic Assessment Loss Report released by Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries( KCCI) in December last year, Kashmir’s economy suffered a loss of Rs 17,800 crore and 4.9 lakh jobs were lost between August and October 2019. 

“The loss to business in Kashmir now stands Rs 40,000 till August 2020," said Sheikh Ashiq, president KCCI, adding that the job losses vary from season to season. “Last year, most jobs were lost in the hospitality sector after the government ordered tourists to leave Kashmir three days after [Article] 370 was taken down,” said Sheikh Ashiq.

Till December 2019, at least 2.5 lakh youth, including 1.5 lakh postgraduates and Ph.D. scholars, got them registered with the government. Horticulture, floriculture, agriculture, and sericulture have seen for 12,000 job losses. In the manufacturing sector, 70,000 job losses were reported, followed by 60,000 and 20,000 in the transport and construction sectors respectively.

Horticulture and Handicrafts

Horticulture provides livelihood to 30 lakh people directly and indirectly in Kashmir. Handicrafts industry employs more than 2.5 lakh artisans. Most of these artisans lost their jobs as the lockdown disrupted access to raw material and exports. 

In the carpet belt of Pattan and Sumbal in Baramulla, thousands of carpet weavers closed their looms and took to menial labor to earn a living. The condition of artisans dealing with shawls, Papier-m'ché, and wood carving is no better. According to Syed Kounsar Shah, an award-winning Papier-m'ché artist, most artisans couldn’t sell their stocks due to the lockdown and communication blockade last year.

Tourism

The two factors have resulted in the loss of lakhs of jobs and the borrowers of financial institutions have lost the capacity to fulfill their commitments, according to the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). "The tourism sector is in shambles. Artisans and weavers are jobless. The losses are more than Rs 1,056 crore. It was multiplied further by the pandemic,” KCCI stated.

There have been 144,500 job losses in Kashmir’s tourism and handicrafts sector – mostly dependent on earnings from travelers – since August 5, 2019, as per an estimate of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The number of Tourists in Kashmir also came down by 86% in August-December 2019, according to an RTI. 

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