By scrapping Article 370, Modi Sarkar has thrown the elephant out of the room
New Delhi, Aug 05: India took a historic decision today to scrap Article 370 and also declared that Jammu and Kashmir would be a Union Territory with legislature.
This has been a long debated issue and many had sought that the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir be scrapped.
In the wake of the Pulwama attack, there was a major outrage across the nation and people had asked why the state should continue to enjoy special status. Experts have said that the special status has always been the elephant in the room and J&K with its sensitive topography appears to be a foreign policy issue, instead of a domestic one due to its status in our Constitution.
Article 370 details the relationship Kashmir will share with the rest of the country; Article 35-A grants permanent residents of Kashmir some special rights. From the get-go, the Constitutional relationship of India with this state has been adversely lopsided. India has already ensured the states with the Mizos and the Naga population with constitutional safeguards(special provisions) such as protecting their social practices India has an assortment of examples where it has performed positive discrimination for groups (Articles 15 and 16) and as mentioned - states.
The problem, to put it succinctly, is that with Kashmir the positive discrimination has tended to be insidious. Instead of taking a legislative route, Article 35-A was passed through a Presidential order. It subverted the law-making powers of the legislature, granted by the Constitution.
The state of J&K itself has done phenomenally well on its indicators as an Indian state should. It has grown by almost 7 per cent last year, ensured a greater number of schools per household and even health and connectivity outcomes have outperformed expectations. A big reason is that it is also heavily subsidised by the Centre. A study showed that it has received, from 2000-2016, 10 per cent of all Central funds despite having 1 per cent of the population. It is an economic powerhouse waiting to be unleashed. Article 370, very obviously, however, is still an impediment in restricting private or global investment into the state.
If Indians (non-Kashmiris) cannot invest in land or property, how can manufacturing firms or multinational corporations? These might have provided jobs to the young people of Kashmir. It also stops public colleges such as medical colleges from adequately fulfilling vacancies. Professors cannot be hired from outside the state except in extremely low quotas. These and many more ensure that unemployment increases, which make the advent of radicalisation, more viable.
Article 370 itself is gender neutral, but the way permanent residents are defined in the state constitution based on the notifications issued in April 1927 and June 1932 during the Maharaja's rule - seems biased against women. The 1927 notification included an explanatory note which said: "The wife or a widow of the state subject ... shall acquire the status of her husband as state subject of the same class as her husband, so long as she resides in the state and does not leave the state for permanent residence outside the state." This was widely interpreted as also suggesting that a woman from the state who marries outside the state would lose her status as a state subject.