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.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kashmir is Bearing its Share of the World-Wide Economic Downturn

Global meltdown melts Valley software industry

Srinagar: Of the financial crisis the world is witnessing presently, Kashmir has begun to get the heat and the kill is Valley’s software development companies.

“We are a software development company and we sell our products in United States. We mostly sell the service based products to architects, engineers, lawyers, software developers etc. Since most of our clientele is from real estate world, so obviously as there has been a realty slump it has affected our sales too,” said Zia Ashai the proprietor of BQE, a Kashmir-based software development company at Software Technology Park Rengreth here.

Ashai said the “global economic instability” will restrain the companies like theirs in the Valley from achieving the desired targets. “Whatever growth we had projected for this years we will not be able to achieve it,” he said.

Ashai fears the crisis would not go somewhere immediately. “I think it will continue like this for at least five to six months. We wanted our sales to improve by 25 to 30per cent this year but now we expect a growth of only15 to 20 per cent.”

Some software companies here say the financial crisis in the world has made them to lose their customers. “We have overseas clients, mostly in the US, and no clients in India. Our growth prospects greatly depend on the investments made by the companies. However, with the global financial meltdown many a companies have failed to get required finances or withhold investments. Even many a companies have closed down,” said Jahangir Raina, CEO, I Locus IT enabled Services, at Rangreth here.

“I had very good contacts in many international companies and they were the people giving us the business. The crisis made many of them lose their jobs hence I am forced to look for new contacts in those companies,” he added.

However, the CEO said the slump was not much worrying for the technology market. He believes the US cannot be in trouble for a long period. “At sometime the country will definitely come out of the financial mess it is currently in. In the meantime we need to do our own work and focus on our quality. If we do so at present it will help us when the market is up again,” he said, adding that the company had currently focused on couple of customers in China. “They have given us some business,” he added.

(Greater Kashmir)

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