Srinagar: Sonipat-based OP Jindal Global University on Sunday conducted a day-long seminar in the Kashmir University campus on the theme “Economic Growth and Development in Kashmir”.
The deliberations focused on policy inadequacies and failures in Jammu and Kashmir with regard to key problems such as livelihoods, physical infrastructure, socio-economic inequalities, energy crisis, educational paradigms and the flawed developmental models which have failed to meet the aspirations of Kashmiri people.
Speaking on the occasion, Professor Gul Wani of Kashmir University said “any form of liberal economics should also follow liberal politics and the latter has unfortunately eluded the region in which Kashmir exists”.
Noted businessman Shakeel Qalander emphasised on the need to develop the small-scale enterprises for resolving the rapidly increasing unemployment problem in Kashmir, where almost 40% of the existing labour force is currently employed in the government sector.
He added that greater focus should be given on indigenous skill development for encouraging local entrepreneurs.
Professor Maroof Shah talked about the declining intellectual standards in Kashmir and the lack of deep knowledge in all spheres leading to economic loss and underutilisation of the full economic potential of Kashmir. Dr. Peer Suhail criticized the National Hydro Power Corporation’s land acquisition policies, saying that they were disempowering local institutions and people.
Dr. Javed Iqbal spoke on the energy crisis in Kashmir. He said almost 25% of total population of J&K still lives without electricity.
Professor Rajeev Malhotra of Jindal School of Government and Public Policy said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti will do better to focus on sectors in which Jammu and Kashmir as a state has under-performed, including areas like provision of primary healthcare access, infant mortality rates levels and income inequalities.
Panelists said that economic data collection methods need to be made more rigorous in order to inform better policymaking in the state. The panelists also agreed that trans-border trade in energy and other goods and services would create a massive economic boom in Kashmir.
The panelists included Professor Rajeev Malhotra, Professor Kathleen Modrowski of the Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, Professor Sreeram Chaulia and Professor Deepanshu Mohan of the Jindal School of International Affairs.