Transforming, And Loving It!

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If we are quick to criticise all that is wrong, we have to be equally quick in acknowledging the good when we see it. And Jammu & Kashmir, without doubt, has been seeing massive improvement across varied fields – public services & infrastructure, health, hospitality, transportation, social welfare, education and much more. Let’s look at the happy transformation.

CREDIT must be given where it is due.

Over the last three-four years, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed unprecedented growth on many indexes. Be it the social infrastructure that refers to the basic services and amenities essential for the citizens’ well-being like schools, hospitals, tourist infrastructure, public transportation, social welfare, woman and child development or the physical infrastructure that  refers to the physical availability and quality of public facilities, including the number of facilities, amenities and resources, the distribution of facilities, so on and so forth… there is no denying that the UT of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed phenomenal growth in each sector.

Politics apart, there are concrete indicators and data available referring to the phenomenal transformation of Jammu and Kashmir on many accounts. On the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the composite index score of Jammu and Kashmir has improved by 8 points in the SDG of good health and well-being of the people from 62 in 2019-20 to 70 in 2020-21. Leave the data, just visit any government hospital – primary, secondary or tertiary – and feel the difference. Cleanliness has improved a hundred times. There is discipline. Though overloaded, these hospitals have covered a lot of ground in providing better care and better environment to both patients and attendants.

On the physical infrastructural goals, a revolutionary kind of improvement is there for everyone to see. The four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway started in the time of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is now in the last stage. The Jammu-Srinagar-Baramulla rail project is almost complete. That is the kind of transformation we are witnessing.

I remember the successive finance ministers allocating a token/symbolic Rs. 1 for the construction of Chenani-Nashri tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, also called the NH-44 for years.  Now there are nearly a dozen of such tunnels on NH-44. The big transformation is the travelling time on NH-44 which has been reduced to just four-five hours which would earlier go beyond nine hours and that too when the road would be free of slides, shooting stones and other blockades.

The internal connectivity too has been revolutionised over the last four-five years. And there has been no looking back on building new projects internally – be it the augmentation of rail connectivity, taking it to the far-flung country side, or augmentation of existing projects.

The security scenario too has improved by leaps and bounds and the level of violence has come down to zero. The sense of security is at all-time high and people are enjoying the dividends of peace.

Of course, providing employment to the educated unemployed youth still remains a challenge; however, the transparency in the recruitment process and immediate action upon complaints of fraud is the biggest achievement undoubtedly.

Coming back to the SDG index, several states, including Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, and others, have been left behind by Jammu and Kashmir. By improving governance, updating facilities, enhancing supply chain management, and transparency in delivery system changes, Jammu and Kashmir has launched a multi-pronged strategy for re-engineering the developmental scenario.

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