India says it plans to hire tens of thousands of government workers in its part of Kashmir after revoking the disputed region’s special constitutional status, under which it had autonomy and outsiders could not buy land or hold private-sector jobs.
Satya Pal Malik, the New Delhiappointed governor, called it the largest recruitment drive in the region, with officials planning to fill up “50,000 vacancies in various government departments in the next few months.” At a news conference Wednesday in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Malik also announced that the government is willing to commit $700 million to help apple farmers. Indian authorities believe the move will expand the region’s economy, to which horticulture, particularly apple orchards, is critical.
Indian officials have characterized their surprise move to strip Kashmir’s special constitutional status as a way to boost its economic potential. They are also planning an international investment summit in the region as India has seen a slowdown in its economy.
Many people in Kashmir believe the loss of special status has nothing to do with the region’s economy and see it as a form of aggression from the Indian government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first address to the nation after revoking Kashmir’s special status, said the region now has “the potential to become the biggest tourist destination in the world.” (AP)