THE upcoming third G20 tourism working group meeting in Srinagar, Kashmir, will host delegates from various countries. India, under its G20 presidency, is confident that the meeting will have a positive impact on tourism and trade in the region.
The hosting of the G20 meeting in Kashmir is seen as major event in the Valley since the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019 and designed to send across a message to the world that the region has come a long way in the last over three years. During this period, efforts have been made by the union government to create a conducive atmosphere for industry to grow. These efforts include organising the J&K Global Investors’ Summit in January 2020, where MoUs worth Rs 13,732 crore were signed. Furthermore, private investment in J&K has increased to Rs 38,000 crore from Rs 17,000 crore in the first seven decades after Independence, and investment projects worth Rs 50,000 crore are being processed.
There are other projects too: Developmental works worth Rs 1.3 lakh crore have been taken up by the road transport and highways ministry in J&K, and around 500 km of road network has been completed in the region since 2014. There have also been significant improvements in education, health, power, tourism, and agriculture. In fact, tourism has truly emerged as the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy, something it has always been billed to be but somehow has stayed far short of its potential due to the prevailing troubled situation. The recently concluded tulip festival attracted over 3.75 lakh tourists, while Gulmarg saw over 2 lakh tourists during winters. Last year, J&K witnessed over 26.7 lakh tourist arrivals, the highest in the last three decades. The Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has now spoken about an ambitious plan to host two crore tourists this year. And to this end, the administration has been trying to build and upgrade the infrastructure.
On the economic front, Rs 28,400 crore will be spent till 2037 under a new central plan for industrial development of the union territory, which is expected to create 450,000 direct and indirect jobs in the primary sector. And by hosting G20 meeting in the Valley, the union government is putting this progress on display for the world to see. It hopes that this meeting will not only send out a positive message to the world, but it will also boost tourism and trade in the region. And with more countries signing up to participate in the meeting, the situation is turning out to be well according to the expectations of the central government.
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