5th August 2020 marked one year of a historic day in India – the revocation of Article 370. Article 370 granted special status and limited autonomy to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Its revocation sparked debates all over the country.
It meant that J&K would now be governed by the Indian constitution, it would not have its own flag, and the Right to Information (RTI) Act would now be applicable in the valley. Most importantly, Ladakh got the status of Union Territory, separate from J&K.
To implement this effectively and without riots, the internet services were cut in the valley. Furthermore, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, two former chief ministers, along with others were put under house arrest.
Now after a year has passed since this historical transformation, we analyze its impact on the residents of the valley. Tourism and employment suffered the most brunt.
Impact On Tourism
Kashmir relies heavily on tourism for its revenue. It is a major source of employment for locals there. Tourism is one of the worst-hit industries after the revocation of Article 370.
- In 2018, Kashmir had received 316,434 tourists between August and December. However, in 2019, only 43,059 tourists visited the valley in the same period. It is a massive decline of 86%.
- In July 2019 (one month before the Article 370 was revoked), 152,525 tourists visited Kashmir, the number fell to 10,130 in August. This figure majorly includes the tourists who visited there in the first week of the month.
- In September, the valley witnessed merely 4,562 tourists.
“The back of Kashmir’s tourism sector has been broken because of the situation emerging after August 5, 2019. Tourism is in shambles while artisans and weavers are jobless,” said Abdul Majeed, vice president of KCCI (Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
Impact on Employment
As per the data released by the CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy), the unemployment rate increased above 20% – the first time since 2016.
“The Rs 40,000 crore loss is a conservative estimate from 10 districts in Kashmir division. Our main concern is the unemployment of lakhs of youth. The lockdown was lifted December onward and we had begun picking up the pace when the pandemic struck in March,” said Sheikh Ashiq Ahmed, President of KCCI.
Other Major Effects Of Article 370 Revocation
- Internet Shutdown: The internet services have been disrupted for one year now. For seven months (August-March), the residents had no access to the internet whatsoever. After March, only 2G and broadband internet were restored.
“Doing trade without favourable conditions and the internet is unimaginable in the present-day world. In one fell swoop, irreversible damage has been caused to the state’s economy. Not a single sector has been spared.” said Majeed.
This seven-month shutdown of the internet is the longest in any democracy in the world.
- Dip In Terrorism-Related Deaths: The good news is that terrorism-related deaths considerably dipped due to the deployment of army and tight security. These deaths were constantly increasing since 2012 and reached their peak in 2018.
Albeit terrorism has considerably dipped, cross-border infiltrations have seen a rise and more locals are being recruited for terrorist activities. Until March 2020, out of the militants killed, 87.5% were locals, according to SATP (South Asia Terrorism Portal). This figure was only 55% in 2018.
In a nutshell, the revocation of Article 370 has not shown major positive signs yet. To top it, COVID-19 has made the matters worse. The condition is far from “normal” even after one year.
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