Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday outlined government’s growth vision for Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, claiming the regions will be ‘most developed’ in a decade.
In his address at Kashmironomics – a New Delhi based think tank on future growth strategies for the region– Goyal said, “The vision of the government is to make Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh the most developed regions in the next yen years.”
Urging the public sector, private sector and the non-government organizations (NGOs) to come together, Goyal said that the region offers many business opportunities: “There is a lot of investment interest in the UAE and other nations about the valley. They are interested in food processing, especially of apple, walnut and saffron”.
The minister said infrastructure development in the region is the key for job creation.
“Ladakh is an immense source of solar energy. The ministry of power has revisited the solar power generation projects in Ladakh and plans to integrate it with national grid. Railway ministry too will expedite various projects in Jammu and Kashmir. Inland container depot projects too are coming up in the state”, Goyal added.
Goyal also claimed that trade and business is going on smoothly despite disruptions due to terror attacks in the valley post abrogation of the special status for the state. Since the Centre's decision on abrogation of special status to Kashmir, terrorists have been targeting truckers and labourers, who are essentially outsiders in the valley.
Despite Goyal’s claims, however, the state has suffered economic losses to the tune of $1.40 billion ever since the special status was abrogated, as per local business body.
On August 5, the Indian government scrapped Article 370 of the national Constitution, which granted special autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The erstwhile provision allowed the state's local legislature, the Constituent Assembly, to make its own laws on certain specified subjects.