The government of India organized the 3rd meeting of the Tourism Working Group under G20 in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir on 22-24 May 2023. The event achieved remarkable success in terms of participation from G20 countries, as well as Guest Countries and received wide coverage in international and Indian media. It also highlighted the consistent efforts by the Government of India in ensuring rapid development of Jammu & Kashmir and improving the standard of living of the people.
In the past few years, the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir has witnessed rapid development in all fields including education, health and social welfare, investment and employment creation and infrastructure development. Budgetary allocation to Jammu and Kashmir has risen from USD 10 billion in 2019 to USD 14 billion in 2023.
The government of India is also implementing over 53 major projects, which requires an investment of over USD 7.5 billion, in roads, power, health, education and tourism. As a part of this, 50 new educational institutions with 25,000 seats are being set up in Jammu & Kashmir; 2 new IT Parks are also being built to provide high-skilled jobs. In the past 3 years, Jammu and Kashmir has also received private investment proposals worth more than USD 6.5 billion, of which projects worth over USD 4.5 billion have begun implementation across various sectors like tourism, real estate, infrastructure, healthcare and human resource development.
Jammu & Kashmir has also become the largest recipient of health budget allocation, accounting for 5% of the total Indian Health Budget. Free and universal health care insurance has also been extended to all residents. Jammu & Kashmir was also among the first state to get 100% vaccination coverage during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government of India has also extended various social security schemes to over 270,000 additional people in the past few years, including women, elderly people, children and differentially abled. These schemes include domestic lighting programs, cooking gas connections, Immunization schemes etc.
Mughal Emperor Jahangir had once said about Kashmir, "Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o, hameen ast-o, hameen ast! (If there is a paradise on earth; it is this, it is this, it is this)." Decisive actions of the Government of India along with the determination and aspiration of the common people of Jammu & Kashmir, is indeed paving the way to recreate this “paradise on earth”.
A record number of over 18.8 million tourists visited Jammu & Kashmir in 2022, bringing prosperity and providing jobs. The G20 meeting in Srinagar, which was the 1st global event held in Jammu & Kashmir in many years, was indeed an opportunity to show the world that the Government of India has brought peace and development in Kashmir.