J&K: A Budget in the time of chaos

J&K: A Budget in the time of chaos

Representative image. (AFP Photo)

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Budget 2020 on Feb. 1. The speech was laced with references from literature and she recited a few lines from a verse written by a Kashmiri poet Pandit Dina Nath Kaul. 

She recited the original Kashmiri poem followed by its Hindi translation, which goes - "Humara watan khilte hue Shalimar bagh jaise, humara watan Dal Lake mein khilte hue kamal jaisa, nau jawanon ke garam khoon jaisa, mera watan tera watan, humara watan, duniya ka sabse pyara watan.." 

[Our country is like the blooming Shalimar garden, our country is like the Dal Lake's blooming lotuses, like the hot blood of the young soldiers, my country is your country, our country, the world's most beloved country.."]

The mention of a serene and peaceful image of Jammu and Kashmir comes at a time when the land, that was fondly described by Mughal Emperor Jehangir as 'Heaven on Earth', is embroiled in a state of chaos. After the abrogation of Article 370, which removed the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir, the state has witnessed a prolonged period of internet shutdown, detention of political leaders, and life standing still with the economy in freefall and tourism suffering. 

The situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been the subject of heated debates in different forums, both at the national and international level, and Sitharaman's reference adds a touch of irony to the scenario. 

Like a breath of fresh air, the newly-created Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were allocated Rs 36,715 crore in the Budget, leading to a 40.51% increase in the Ministry of Home Affairs coffers for spending in the next fiscal. 

Will life in the Union Territories improve due to the funding? Only time will tell. 

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