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.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Suffering Agrarian Economy

Even a rudimentary analysis will show that Government policy enriches the rich by investing in tourism and big contracts and neglects the poor who live off the agrarian economy 

JK worst Performing Agriculture State

Srinagar: Apart from number 2 in corruption, Jammu and Kashmir has earned another distinction of being only state in the country which has miserably failed to increase net-sown area, cropped area as well as annual growth rate of crops despite having increased use of technology significantly since the year 1962.

J&K has been rated as the worst performing states in terms of increasing profitability from agriculture which is regarded as mainstay of an emerging economy. State has registered dismal 5 percent increase in irrigated areas when the use of technology has increased 10 times to what it was in 1962 when the first survey was conducted by the Planning Commission of India.

Besides, none of the 22 districts have been able to make it to the list of high crop yielding districts of Jammu and Kashmir. More importantly, cropping intensity has shown 22 percent increase (125 to 147) over the last 48 years while the cropped area has increased from 684, 000 hectares to 750, 000 hectares during the same period, thereby registering a meager increase of 66, 000 hectares when compared with rest of the states.

These spine-chilling revelations have been made by Planning Commission of India in its final report based on district level study on the growth of agriculture conducted by centre for study of regional development of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), a copy of which is with Kashmir Monitor newspaper. Study has been conducted on 44 crops being grown in various districts of Jammu and Kashmir. The two crops which have been left out are garlic and onion.

The report has pointed out that while the use of tractors grew from 2 per thousand hectares in 1962 to 70 in 2006, Pump sets from 0 in 1962 to 28 per thousand hectares in 2006, fertilizers from 2 kg per hectare to 119 kg per hectare; it has not been able to increase agricultural output on the analogy. Hinting out at the impending disaster, reports says that rapidly receding ground water in many areas across Jammu and Kashmir is leading to harmful salts getting accumulated on its surface.

Report has stated that overexploitation of land resources and excessive use of fertilizers and other agro-chemicals has resulted in serious deterioration in the quality of land with soils becoming deficient in many crucial nutrients and adversely affecting its productivity.

Nailing the lie of J&K agricultural ministry, report has revealed that agricultural workers productivity has not shown an appreciable change. It has added that the productivity has increased from Rs. 2018.07 per worker in 1962 to Rs. 3245.54 per worker after a span of 48 years. Post-reform period 1990-93 to 2003-06 is characterized by a serious retrogression both in the matter of levels and growth rates of yield and output and a slowdown in diversification towards oilseeds, says the report.

Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, report has maintained that decline in public investment in irrigation, water management and scientific research has adversely affected profitability of farmers. It has added that agricultural workers who constitute 58 percent of the total workforce are facing deceleration in their productivity and income levels as well as facing distress. Report has maintained that high and ever increasing population pressure on land in the backward districts is a major contributor to the ever widening disparities.

It has concluded that high productivity districts are characterised by low population pressure and the opposite holds true for low productivity districts. It has recommended that there is an urgent need for rejuvenation of agricultural growth and shift of agricultural work force to non-farm employment activities in the underdeveloped areas for raising levels of agricultural worker productivity and for reversing trend of widening gap in productivity of agricultural workers.

It has further laid stress on devising region specific policies alongside increasing public investment in irrigation and other rural infrastructure in particular in agricultural research and extension in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir. It has also called for investing heavily in agricultural and bio-technology research for developing cost reducing and water saving technology for wheat and particularly rice. (Kashmir Monitor)

No comments: