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Tale of two Kashmirs, Figures show PoK’s dismal picture
1/15/2021 11:48:11 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, Jan 15: While the Centre has been utilizing thousands of crores in Jammu and Kashmir for its development, the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) continues to show a dismal picture.
As per the official figures, the annual budget in J&K has exceeded Rs 1 lakh crore, and generates around Rs 10,000 crore. The rest Rs 90,000 crore is allotted by New Delhi to keep the development ticking in Kashmir.
The GSDP of Kashmir in 2017 was $19 billion—down from $64 billion in 2004 due to the massive jolt of 3 summer unrests and thousands of Hartal calls— compared to the paltry $7 billion of PoK. While Kashmir has been battling stumbling blocks of various hues since 1990s, this has not prevented India from keeping the GDP growth rate ticking. The GSDP rate of Kashmir was 8.2% compared to a dismal 4.7% in PoK. The chart goes on to highlight the disparity existing in different parameters of economic indicators.
“Government in Pakistan has been allotting Rs 13,000 crore to feed a population of 4.5 million. The comparison on infrastructure development projects is even more surprising wherein India had spent Rs 6724 Cr in 2019 in J&K against mere Rs 1028 Cr in PoK,” the figures reveal.
The focused development on infrastructure in J&K completely routs PoK where four airports and 28 railway stations exists in J&K against two non-functional airports and non-existence of railways in PoK. The per capita income in J&K stands tall with a fig of $1200 in comparison with PoK’s $525.
The poverty rate in PoK stands at 34% with the unemployment rate being 18.1% as compared to a poverty rate of 10.35% in J&K and an unemployment rate of 12.13%. Pak government has spent only Rs 135 Cr in 2019 on education against Rs 1100 Cr by Indian government in J&K. Even the figures of universities and educational institutes in J&K is overwhelming with 183 universities and colleges including 18 medical colleges in comparison to only 8 such institutes in PoK including 3 medical colleges. The spending on the health care system has been alarming where Indian government has spent Rs 3,000 Cr in J&K in 2019 against a mere spending of Rs 29 Cr in PaK.
Some of the engineering marvels like the Chenahi Nashri tunnel, the upcoming tallest bridge in the world on Chenab river, the under construction Zojilla tunnel, the ensuing ring road in Srinagar and other parts, the ongoing work on an all weather tunnel liking Jammu with Srinagar are some of the massive infra projects.
On the other side, take the handling of the ongoing crises of Covid-19 by J&K administration and its counterparts in PaK. While J&K as per the figures is among the best performing states in India in terms of testing and provision of better healthcare, people in PoK have been forced into uncertain times.
This enforced closure of business establishment and disruption of normal life, unfortunately, made Kashmir an unsafe haven for private investments.
Compared to such an unfavourable environment for promoting business activities (in Kashmir), PoK and GB should have been way ahead of Jammu and Kashmir in economic and infrastructural development. But, what is transparent on the ground is a melancholic state of affairs with economy running on pittance and infrastructure lying in tatters. Despite possessing the 3rd richest natural resources in the world, Pakistan continues to run on economic bail outs from global multi-lateral Institutions and the financial aid extended by the friendly countries.
Even though there’s conflict in accuracy of the figures, there are more than 60 terror camps running in PoK which have been used since 1980s for fomenting anti-India sentiment in Kashmir. While thousands of security forces’ and Kashmiris’ have been killed for the last three decades, the loss to the business sector has been humongous as Pak’s Hurriyat leaders kept filling their personal coffers by facilitating the more than 2700 Hartal calls in Kashmir since the onset of violence.
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