Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Surprise! Jammu and Kashmir has been decorated with a Medal for Being "Alarmingly Corrupt"

Transparency International exposes the underbelly of Kashmir's secret weapon (corruption) that ensures a status quo among the rich and the powerful in the State

JK among top 4 corrupt states: TI


Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir is in the list of top four corrupt states of India in “national corruption index” of a survey done by Transparency International.

The state-by-state survey by Transparency International India and the Centre for Media Studies, New Delhi places four Indian states in its “Alarmingly Corrupt” category. These are -Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The next rung of “Very Highly Corrupt” states include Karnataka - which was ranked 17th in a 2005 Transparency International India survey - Rajasthan as well as Tamil Nadu. Not as notorious but still “Highly Corrupt” are the five states of Chhatisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala and Orissa. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttarakhand and West Bengal are the “Moderately Corrupt” states of India.

The survey is a part of efforts by Transparency International India to reduce corruption by promoting and supporting transparent and ethical practices in the Government sector. Transparency International had randomly selected a sample of 22,728 BPL households from all across the country, including Bangalore, Bidar, Raichur and Chitradurga. The BPL families were surveyed to ascertain which were the most unhappy and extorted lot and in which state. The police department in all these states tops the corruption chart followed by others including the Forest Department, Land Records / Registration and Housing. Electricity, banking, education, water supply and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme fell under the other corrupt services.

The survey ascertained that nearly Rs 883 crore was paid as bribes in the year 2007 by BPL families to avail of these public services - which include getting a ration card as well as for admissions in schools. Of the entire bribe money, Rs 214.8 crore was paid to the police.

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