Understanding the Political Sociology of Violence in Kashmir: A Necessity in Shaping a Policy That Reduces Alienation Print
Written by Walter Andersen   
Thursday, 07 October 2010 00:00

A Paper delivered on October 7, 2010 at the Heritage Foundation

Washington D.C.

Walter K. Andersen

SAIS/Johns Hopkins University

For video of the conference, please visit Heritage Foundation.



The issue in Kashmir, as you can see from the slide, is not lack of funds from the center, but rather its manner of distribution and the persistent culture of corruption that results in vast sums going to a few well connected families in the Kashmir valley. It is clear from the figures that Kashmir has been one of the major recipients of grants from the federal government in New Delhi -- and by far the largest in per capita terms. At the same time, unemployment in the state, according to the most recent official  Performance Review of Jammu and Kashmir Economy 2008-09, is almost double that of the national unemployment.


The hard part will be the politics necessary to bring about these changes, as these steps inevitably involve some losing and some winning. Given the advantages the present political elites gain from the status quo, I think the center will need to push hard on the political leadership in Kashmir to direct funds to private enterprise, and to revise state laws to make them more business friendly and to restructure the bureaucracy to make it more accountable. It will remain difficult to attract private sector investment and involvement as long as there is the perception of a security risk. The government might consider attracting and promoting business investment by giving tax breaks or tax holidays to private sector companies. I think this would not only grow a presently skewed economy in the state, but in the process create jobs in the private sector that would absorb the presently underemployed and unemployed urban youth that form the core of those prone to protest.