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The economic argument to repeal Article 370 is bogus

Sanjiv Shankaran

A part of the rationale was political. Another part was on the Economic consequences of Article 370 and the purported economic benefits of its repeal.

The economic dimension to Amit Shah’s arguments can be summed up by a couple of sentences in the media statement put out by the government.

“No industry, including tourism, is allowed to flourish there. People remain poor in perpetuity despite presence of abundant economic opportunities for the local populace.”

This statement has no basis in fact. J&K’s poverty in relation to the rest of India is a myth. In fact, on a crucial development indicator it does even better than Gujarat.

Let’s take the most useful indicator in this context, the poverty ratio.

In 2011-12 (last available poverty data in India), J&K’s poverty ratio was 10.35% as compared to the All- India average of 21.92%.

Infant Mortality Ratio in development literature is widely accepted as a proxy for a broad set of human development outcomes, according to a report published by union finance ministry.

J&K’s infant mortality ratio was 24 per 1000 in 2016. The comparable figure for Gujarat was 30, and the All India number was 34.

The one crucial area where J&K lagged the national average was the literacy rate. According to Census 2011, literacy rate in J&K was 67.16% as compared with All India average of 72.99%.

The data on economic indicators of J&K and other states show that the former has not suffered economically on account of Article 370.

One can make an ideological case for the repeal of the Article, but the economic case is based on myths.

One could even argue if restrictions on land ownership to outsiders affects economic development in an Indian context, then Himachal Pradesh defies conventional wisdom. The state outperforms most of the other states in economic and social indicators despite being hostile to outsiders wanting to acquire land there.

On the other side of the spectrum, Bihar remains one of the most underdeveloped states in India despite not placing legal barriers in the way of outsiders wanting to acquire land.

J&K, on the basis of data, has not suffered economically because of Article 370.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

via TOI Blog

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The economic argument to repeal Article 370 is bogus


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