India sees onceofflimits Kashmir as investment frontier

NEW DELHI — Indian authorities have characterized their surprise move to strip Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status as freeing the disputed Himalayan territory from the bonds that kept it from realizing its economic potential.But the argument is flawed. The region already outperforms India on measures such as life expectancy, literacy and poverty, and its economy has been growing steadily this decade, despite frequent skirmishes between militants and security forces that have temporarily halted commercial activity.Where the restive region has fallen behind other Indian states is with private investment, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of his Hindu nationalist government have made it clear that at least one of their goals in asserting more control over Kashmir is in making it a new frontier for growth as India’s overall economy experiences a slowdown.For decades, a separatist movement has fought Indian rule in Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety. Some 70,000 people have died in clashes between militants and civilian protesters and Indian security forces since 1989. Most Kashmiris want either independence or a merger with Pakistan, which is India’s bitter rival.Modi’s government last week revoked Article 370 of India’s Constitution, which dates to shortly after independence from British rule. It gave Kashmir a greater degree of legislative autonomy and kept outsiders from buying land or holding public sector jobs. Indian lawmakers also stripped Kashmir’s statehood, splitting it into two federal territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.The authorities argued that Kashmir’s special status had cultivated a sense of separatism that was easy for Pakistan to exploit but made investing difficult. Home Minister Amit Shah said doing away with the special provisions would “kick start” regional development.Shah and others have said the central government has given $44 billion to the region for economic development in recent years, but that much of it has been squandered by corrupt politicians.“The revocation helps break the monopoly that was set by the previous lawmakers of Kashmir,” he said. “Industry, health care and education in Kashmir was stalled due to Article 370,” Shah said.Whether a majority of Kashmiris agreed remained unclear Monday, the eighth consecutive day of an unprecedented security lockdown and near-total communications blackout in the predominantly Muslim valley of 4 million people. Schools and businesses are closed and public assembly is banned, conditions that are expected to last through India’s independence day on Friday.Modi, in his first address to the nation after the sudden act, played up the economic opportunities for Kashmir, saying that the two newly formed federal territories “have the potential to become the biggest tourist destination in the world. The reforms required for this are being done.”But Kashmir’s pristine Alpine landscape, ski resorts, lake houseboat stays and uninterrupted acres of apple orchards have long made it a global tourist attraction.Its rich soil produces some of India’s most famous exports, including handwoven Pashmina shawls, basmati rice and saffron.And Kashmir’s gross domestic product, the value of all the goods and services in the state, has risen from $16.7 billion in 2012 to an estimated $21.9 billion in 2018, according to state statistics data. The economy was expected to expand by another 11 per cent this year, according to a state budget document.By contrast, the Asian Development Bank recently reduced its India growth forecast for 2019 to 7%, from 8.2% in 2015, crediting the slowdown to lower consumption and investment.India needs to grow by at least 9% per year to reach Modi’s aim of making it a $5 trillion economy by 2025.With the law prohibiting outsiders from buying property in Jammu and Kashmir now lifted, Indians from the rest of the country are poised to purchase real estate and apply for government jobs there. Some fear this may lead to a demographic and cultural change in the Muslim-majority region.The move neatly sets up an international investment summit the New Delhi-appointed governor of Jammu and Kashmir has planned for October.Gov. Satya Pal Malik told reporters in Srinagar last month that interest in Kashmir was great, but that the special constitutional provisions had put off investors.“The problem is people can’t buy land,” he said.Though the provision precluded outsiders from buying land, they were able to lease it for up to 90 years, with the ability to renew.“There was no constitutional regulation which was hampering investment or setting up business in Jammu and Kashmir. It was more the peace that wasn’t there,” said Afaq Hussain, director of the New Delhi-based Bureau of Research on Industry and Economic Fundamentals.“Peace is the imperative,” he said.___Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma contributed.Emily Schmall, The Associated Press read more

Uwe Gensheimer put hands on EHF CL Golden ball

Among TOP 10 scorers of the VELUX EHF Champions League 2016/2017 before the quarter-final matches are only five active. Paris Saint Germain left wing Uwe Gensheimer is clear favorite to win the “golden ball” with 12 goals advantage ahead of Momir Ilic from Telekom Veszprem (84) and Zsolt Balogh, Jure Dolenec and Mikkel Hansen (75 each).Gensheimer was TOP scorer of EHF CL in season 2010/2011 with 118 goals as captain of Rhein Neckar Lowen.TOP 10 – goalscorers of EHF Champions League:1. Gensheimer Uwe (GER) 96 Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA)2. Csaszar Gabor (HUN) 84 Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)Ilic Momir (SRB) 84 Telekom Veszprém (HUN)4. Stojkovic Rastko (SRB) 81 HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)5. Aguinagalde Akizu Julen (ESP) 78 KS Vive Tauron Kielce (POL)6. Janc Blaz (SLO) 77 RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO)7. Kristopans Dainis (LAT) 76 HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)8. Balogh Zsolt (HUN) 75 MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN)Dolenec Jure (SLO) 75 Montpellier HB (FRA)Hansen Mikkel (DEN) 75 Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) paris saint germainUwe Gensheimer ← Previous Story Gábor Császár extends in Schaffhausen until 2021 Next Story → Tatabanya Grundfos to chase Fuchse Berlin for EHF Cup Final4 read more

Ivor Callely heavy metal and Joan Burton The week in numbers

first_imgEVERY WEEK, offers a selection of statistics and numerical nuggets to help you digest the week that has just passed. 92995 – Jailed former Fianna Fáil minister Ivor Callely’s prison number after he was sentenced to five months for fraudulent expenses claims.65.8 per cent – the percentage of women in the civil service. However they are mostly confined to lower grades such as clerical or staff officer.80 – the number of days Frances Fitzgerald was Justice Minister and refused to express confidence in Brian Purcell, her secretary general, who asked to be reassigned this week in the wake of a damning report.30,000 – the number of Benzodiazepine tablets with an estimated street value of €60,000 that were seized by Revenue’s Customs Service this week.2.5 per cent – the percentage amount that the Central Bank thinks the economy will grow by this year in an upbeat forecast.> 1,300 – The number of people who have signed an online petition calling on Tánaiste Joan Burton to apologise to heavy metal fans for “disparaging and clueless” remarks.32,154 – the number of new .ie websites that were registered in 2013, contributing to a growth of 18 per cent over the last 12 months.€437 million – AIB’s profit for the first half of 2014. That figure represents a €1.3 billion improvement on the first half of last year.€4.88 – The cost per 1,000 litres of water and waste water services as laid out by the Commission for Energy Regulation.11.5 – The number in per cent of the national unemployment rate in June.3 – The number of penalty points you now face for not wearing a seatbelt, among other things.Want more? Check out our previous ‘In numbers’ pieces >last_img read more